Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crazy Cat Lady

Well, it has been a few buys days. I'm currently in the process of trying to find my own place, and it's been interesting to say the least. First place I checked out? Yes, Crazy Cat Lady. I kid you not. I should have backed right out of the driveway when I saw 2 cat-scratch posts in the window, and 2 hair covered cat beds sitting outside the front door. The house was nice, if not a bit messy. The stench of cat wee did hit my like a brick when I first walked in, and as soon as I was warned to keep my door shut to prevent one of the cats spraying on my belongings, I realized it probably wasn't for me. Oh! Crazy Cat Lady's 98 year old mother also lives in the basement. My kind of company! Partay!

   I checked out one nice guy's place, but he was a bit older and we'd have to share the kitchen and entryway. Very nice place, with lots of room to myself, but if I wanted to live with my dad, I'd stay here. The winner though, would have to be my visit to a brand new, two floor home, with huge bay windows looking down the length of Shushwap lake's Salmon Arm (the arm of the lake, not the city) with mountains framing the view. Beautiful home, but she was older than my Grandmother, and seemingly a whole lot stricter. Once again, not my thing! Today I went to Blind Bay, about 20 minutes away to see about a room to rent in a split level home. Very nice.  Two guys in their early 20's live there full time, and the homeowner is 30ish, and splits her time between Kamloops. I had the choice of a very small room for $375/month, or a Master Bedroom w/Ensuite, newly renovated for $575 a month. Newly Reno'd to the max. Stunning place. Almost a lake view from the huge deck with BBQ, and a large backyard. I think the single thing holding me back from jumping on it is the 20 minute drive, and the amount of fuel I'd end up paying for this summer for all the back 'n' forth. I've got a full 1 BDRM Suite to look at tomorrow not far from here (my Dad's house) and even closer to my Boss's house, where I start work each morning. Maybe that will end up being perfect? Cross your fingers for me!

   Feeling EXTREMELY Patriotic at the moment with all the GOLD our country has been winning lately. Our athletes have turned "Blown The Podium" back into the intended "Own The Podium!" We're currently one of 3 Nations to have ever won 13 Gold Medals in the Winter Olympics. Along with us are The Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002. Finger's crossed for tomorrow's Gold Medal game against the Yanks!

   Another quick note: My Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) is about to expire, so I'll be wiping my computer clean and starting anew with an old version of Vista, then possibly upgrade to Windows 7 Full. I may be out of contact for a while if the copy of Vista I got fails to work!

   Okay, time to get back to my book. I've (slowly) started reading The Last Dive, by Bernie Chowdhury. It's been on my "Must Read" list for quite awhile, and I'm happy to be finally digging into it. Not exactly an uplifting story, but one with a great lesson. I'll let you know what I think of it as I get deeper into it.

   While reading my book, I plan to listen to my new favourite acoustic artist, Joe Purdy. I imagine most of you may have heard this song, either from the DAWN Soap Commercial, or an older episode of LOST. I leave you with Wash Away (Reprise), by Joe Purdy. Enjoy,

See you later, B

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little bit of Affirmative Thought

"The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." - Moliere

   The wheels are turning... I'm thinking... Party. Memories. Friends. One night in June... Whitehorse, YT.

You in?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Future Awaits

I, yes me, have spent the last 2 hours looking at... wait for it. Deep breath now... Oh the tension! University Courses. *GASP*

Yes. After 5 years of traveling the world, diving, working, living, I feel it's finally time to possibly, maybe, think about continuing my education. After a tough first week back at work, I had a few things to think about. Now, I love traveling, and losing the freedom to get up and leave at any point in my life to jet off to some distant tropical island scares me. But there are only so many times one can do that and return to what feels like a go nowhere job.

Don't get me wrong, my current position with Rampton Rockworks is okay. I make a great wage, get along with the people I work with, get fit, and receive 3 months off every winter. Sounds great, but for how long do I want to carry concrete blocks, dig, and generally wear my body out? It doesn't seem to provide much of a challenge, mentally, just being a labourer. My boss has been doing it for well over 16 years, and as far as I can see, he'll be doing it for that much longer. As long as his joints hold out. It'd be an excellent trade to learn, and I could work outside everyday - just like I promised myself I would do in my youth. I used to think I would do well in the trades too, I just feel... There has to be more. I want to know more about the world I love to explore.

Every trip, my book collection grows, and I want to devour more. I want to read all the classics, the books that have defined eras in their pages. Changed the way we look at humanity, the planet, the holocaust, ourselves. I want to know WHY. WHEN. WHO. Sadly, I get home from abroad and priorities change. The TV is on. The internet is readily available, distracting me for hours with articles on the latest DSLR's, films, or Olympic standings.

Thankfully tonight the blasted interweb took me on a path first to Okanagan College. What about some upgrading? But wait, I could do an Associate Arts Degree in English for 2 years in Kelowna, then transfer to a larger University for another 2 years. Sweet! In my excitement (1hr 45min ago) as I went to say Good Night to Dad and Colleen, I mention all this to them. Dad, the genius he is, recommended I look into UBC Okanagan. It looks like an even nicer school, and I could do a full Bachelor of Arts Majoring in English. School would provide me with the opportunity to discover all the things I want to unearth.

And I'm sure I'd still find the time to have a party or two, along with meeting new and interesting people...

I just have so many options available to me -
  • Work for the summer in my physically demanding but well paying job, then go teach diving somewhere beautiful, but return in the spring to work another long season at the same physically demanding but well paying job to pay off incurred debt. Or, if I was lucky, move onto another beautiful locale and keep teaching diving.
  • Work for the summer in said Job, then go to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa for a year, with a few side trips over to Australia (which I must visit again). Then, not sure. Maybe have to return to said Job.
  • Work for the summer in damned Job, attend University in September for 4 years, then get a career. Perhaps as a writer, for an esteemed publication such as Scuba Diving Magazine, Sport Diver, DIVER or something in the travel/adventure vein. At the very least I'm sure I could secure myself a journalistic position with the Salmon Arm Observer.
The world is my oyster, and I have an abundant amount of serious thinking to do. The Future Awaits...

See you later, B
If you have any worldly advice that you think I may benefit from, please email me. DAMMIT! I was meant to start reading my new book tonight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Favourite Song Right Now


Work... Work. A means to an end. The end being dive instructing once again in a beautiful, warm, tropical, sub-tropical, toasty, or otherwise non-frozen place. With little to no heavy lifting, digging, loud machinery (except compressors, compressors are ok), or the word Flip. It was fine last summer when I was dating a great girl who frowned upon the use of the most common curses, but we're men. Big strong, loud, mud covered frustrated men. And this year, if I'm frustrated, I want to let out my frustrations how I see fit, even if that means dropping the "F-bomb". The real "F-bomb", not FLIP!! Can you tell I had a bad day at work?

   I've finally decided on a name for my Jeep. I've been trying to think of one since I got it, but the only thing that has managed to stick in my head is Bullwinkle! The few photos my Dad Mike had of the Jeep had that name in the file, for whatever reason. So, I shall now impart upon you the first New Adventures of Brocky and Bullwinkle!! I know, I impress myself at times...

    I got off work early yesterday, thanks to a cough due to cold. Well, not really, despite my sad physical state, it was the continuous pouring rain that put an end to the fun of carrying paving stones. I came home, had a nice long hot shower, then promptly headed for the Walk-in clinic. Nearing 3 weeks with this cold, and I'd had enough. But that's not the interesting part of the day. After the doctor, I went and sourced/priced out a few parts for Bullwinkle. No luck. That was okay, because I knew of a great old logging road that went past a large gravel pit. Maybe, just maybe, there would be some mud there. Sure enough, farther up the road, I found some. Then I found a field with some trees, abandoned fire pits, old ammunition and wet grass. Some of the trees, the fire pits, and the ammunition are still there. I made the grass into mud! Honestly, it was just an opportunity to test out the 4x4! Bullwinkle got mighty covered in mud after many, many laps around the little Mud Track I made myself, as did I... and the interior, when I foolishly left the window open for a lap. No matter, the goofy grin plastered on my face stayed for many hours after! Plastered on like mud to a jeep... I'd take photos, but my camera managed to find the floor too many times.

Good news, I've reached a milestone for myself. I don't think I can say it any better than this kid -

See you soon, B (&B)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, I'm going to make this quick as for the first time in 3 months, I must be up for work in the morning and it's getting on 10 o'clock. Definitely not too excited about that. I was making my lunch earlier this evening, and it finally hit me I'm back in the real world. It is great to be home though, and I have decided Salmon Arm is my home. It's a beautiful place... all of BC is. I drove my Jeep from Vancouver down the Coquihalla Highway to Salmon Arm and I was impressed by the scenery after every bend in the road.

   The Jeep. I love it. I spent about an hour in the driveway today just tinkering with it. It needs a few things fixed, here and there. A screw tightened, a screw replaced, ball joints replaced and a wheel alignment. All with time though. Extremely liberating to just be able to grab my own car keys and drive my own vehicle into town on my own schedule. I'm proud to be the owner of such a nice truck. My Mike Dad was telling me I could sell it in the fall before I went traveling again, but after 4 days with the thing, I do NOT want to let it go. It's such a good vehicle for me. I cannot wait to start tossing some dive gear in the back.

   Speaking of dive gear, my first day back in town I stopped into the Local Dive Shop (LDS), Copper Island Diving. I was inquiring about doing a crossover to become an SSI Instructor to go along with my PADI rating. Being dual certified would make me that much more employable next winter, and I'll be able to work with the LDS on weekends and evenings throughout the summer. I really need to stay active in the dive community as much as possible.

   All I need is some super warm wetsuits to keep me warm. A drysuit will just be too pricey! I'm sleepy, and it's going to be a loooooooooong day tomorrow,

See you later,
Brock M. Kelsch
OWSI# 496457

Friday, February 12, 2010

Three Things: Golden Retrievers, Karma, and Thanks.

Golden Retrievers? Huh? Yes, an odd thing to speak of in a blog intended to chart the path of my adventures, but please bear with me. Years ago (I'm terrible with the dates) our family lost one of it's dearest members. Pelly, our faithful Golden Retriever had to be put down, due to cancer. We had him oh... 9 years? A wonderful dog and it was devastating to lose him. This isn't about him though... I don't think.

   I'm not a religious man. Spirituality? Karma? Existentialism? I guess I have a "pick 'n' mix" take on that aspect of life. Well, I'm starting to believe that perhaps Pelly is looking out for me, or that he as least sending me a sign from time to time that I'm on the right path. I have not one, but two occurrences to back up my crack pot theory.

1. December (or November) 2008, Koh Samet, Rayong Province, Thailand. Tara and I were escaping the seediness and noise that was enveloping us in Pattaya. The trip was also meant as a nice romantic getaway for the both of us, as she had to return to England not long after. We were a new couple, and a few days on a secluded beach in a wooden bungalow away from various pollutions (noise, air, prostitute) was just what we needed. I was head over heels for this girl, and life was just... perfect. One day we forced ourselves off the beach and headed to the north end of the island. The National Park end. We hiked around, took some photos, watched some fishing boats. It was picturesque (honest, I have the pictures!). Out there, at the far end of the island, a dog appears.
Not your typical Thai flea bitten, scabies ridden, patchy, gross looking mutt you'd fear to touch with 39 1/2 ft. pole. This was a stunning Golden Retriever. Out in the backwoods, of some small Thai Island, here is a brilliant dog. Clean, happy, just looking around for something to eat in the rocks and grasses. In the moment of snapping this picture I thought of Pelly, and how he seemed to be saying to me, "This is a happy moment, don't forget it." Something along those lines...

2. January & February 2010, Pattaya, Chonburi Province, Thailand. The Bum hole of Thailand. You've all listened to me describe it many times over, and to be honest I'm running out of descriptors. If you don't know what Pattaya is about yet, read back through my posts. So, I'm in Pattaya, but still managing to have the time of my life. Great friends, okay diving, but I feel most importantly, a great outlook on life. I was, quite honestly, high on life. Over the course of a few weeks, going about my business (my business being teaching diving, drinking, and socializing), everything was grand. I had passed the mental hurdle of not only being shafted by the shop manager, but also being newly single. I had made a select few, great new friends (preciosa...), and I was soon on my way to Koh Chang. There he was again. Another beautiful immaculate Golden Retriever. I saw him in the morning on my way to work. I saw him at 3am in the morning outside a Beer Bar. I saw him wandering happily with a female companion. The universe/god/Pelly/my own overactive imagination just letting me know life was good, and the world's not such a terrible place. Crazy? I'm not a psychiatrist. I'll leave the diagnoses to Alison!

   A quick note on Karma - Walking Street, 3am-ish, all my friends lost. Getting money out of the ATM so I can have another drink or 2 and keep dancing in the club. Standing there outside 7-11 entering my PIN and a small boy comes up next to me and starts begging. So here I am, drunk Farang (foreigner) getting out 5,000Baht, and this cute starving kid with big eyes looking into my soul. I can give him the last 100Baht I have in my pocket, can't I? That's what, $3? $3 and a bus ride home. Nothing in the big scheme of things. So this little munchkin runs away 100Baht richer, and... the ATM won't give me my money. I'm stranded on walking street, chump change in my pocket, all my friends lost to the wind (or nudie bars) and no one answering my texts. Luckily, I have a drunken glow about me, a positive attitude and I'm feeling good about my good deed. Let's try the next ATM! I begin my trek up Walking St., hoping to stumble upon help or another bank's machine. Not 5 minutes up the road (that's not very far on walking st, with all the people and the state of me), I bump into my good friend Casey, on his way to catch a baht bus home. A ride home, and he pays for me! Totally worth 100baht. Wasn't much of a short note, eh?

   The Past Few Days - Not much has happened really, in the way of activities. We've explored some more book shops, watched a few movies. I've wrestled with my youngest brother Creighton. Little savage he is... I think his best move is when he grabs a finger, any finger, and snaps it backwards near it's breaking point. That one, or the pinching. I told him pinching is a girls move, but then he snapped my pointer finger back till it popped. Um... hmmm... anything else... Oh! YEAH! My Dad Mike just gave me a 1998 Jeep Cherokee! Needless to say I was speechless. I couldn't find the words...

   Perhaps through this medium I can try and better express my thanks. Thank you. The gift of a vehicle, any vehicle is above and beyond what a scummy backpacker such as myself would expect after 4 years of traveling the world and living in a basement, only making/spending enough money to fund his next trip. The gift of a vehicle that will allow me to have Adventures this summer... Diving, Camping, Hiking. I'm already plotting where to go and what to do. The independence I will gain from having my own set of wheels... it makes me so happy. Just as long as I don't spend too much on fuel! Once again, Dad, Thank you. I'll be sure to fill this blog with the tall tales of my experiences. Not unlike what I've done the past 3 months!

Thank you, See you later,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What to do...

Oh, Canada! Yes, I made it home. My mom picked me up at the airport with her boyfriend Bert and his two boys, then it was onward to his house for a bite to eat. After I was sufficiently fed and the boys were attached to their PlayStation 3, we headed to the local pub for a few drinks and a few more tales. I really enjoyed getting to know Bert that little bit more, as our meetings have been few and far between. A very interesting man, who really, really needs a new job! Upon returning to the house, Bert went to bed, and mom and I got comfortable on the couch and sat up talking until well near midnight. I slept like a log, then rolled myself out of bed at 9, hoping to avoid Jet Lag as best I could.

I'm at my dad, Mike's house in Richmond, now. Great to see not only him, but my two younger brothers as well. I don't see the little rascals near enough. Last night... In bed by 10, but awake by 3am. I tossed and turned, drifting in and out of sleep until 8am, when i dragged myself out of bed. So much for being in this time zone! Today we lazed around, then drove around scrounging around a few Used Book Shops. I scored a few old Diving Manuals. I get a kick out of them, and I'm slowly building up a little collection. I love seeing what equipment was top of the line in 1976, and how terrifying the seas were!

So I know I'll be struggling to find things to write about the next while. Technically, I'm still a Yukon Expatriate, so the basis for my blog hasn't changed. On the other hand, I am no longer (for the time being) traveling abroad. Those of you living vicariously through me may not be able to find what you came looking for. The others, those of you trying to stalk me on Facebook and not finding near enough information about my current affairs, will be pleased to know I will do my best to keep you updated here. Stalkers.

I miss my Hammock - (tried uploading a pic of me being very chilled out, but not working right now)

See you later, B

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home James...

The last week and a bit... has been something. It's what traveling is all about for me. Chance meetings of great people, nights of drunken revelry that, despite copious amounts of alcohol, stay in your memory forever, and moments/hours/days that take your breath away. A great deal of excitement went down, a whole load of chillaxin was done, and some sweet diving was dove(?).

Sadly, now I am off home. Currently, at this very moment, sat in a cafe in the Taipei Airport, Taiwan. Freezing my nads off as well. Why did i decide to travel in shorts and a t-shirt? Not really sure what to blog about... I know there's probably a furor of excitement awaiting photos and details of my time spent on Koh Chang. I need to... absorb it all. I was, more than once, on the edge of missing/changing/canceling my flight home just to stay there, be a beach bum, and actually get into teaching some diving. It's a brilliant place...

   Life, though... Thinking logically (without a certain Viking whispering certain ideas in my ear), I know the smart thing to do is go home, start work, get myself sorted, and, if I'm still wanting to teach diving in a few months time, go do it. But I'd do it properly. I'd get a JOB. No more Mermaids Dive Center. I've had enough of them. Why pay to work for them? Sounds ass-backwards to me. Sort myself out a nice bungalow... out on the boats everyday... *sigh* That was the dream just over a year ago. I need to remind myself every so often I only get to live this life once.

   A moment you realize you are truly alive: dancing like the world isn't watching, in a club at 4am, in Walking Street Pattaya, on top of a speaker the size of a SMART car, reminiscing about a months worth of great experiences, buzzed on Vodka Lipo, and managing to find the mental capacity to phone your mom and yell at her how awesome you are. Heck yes.

   Life isn't about how many breaths you take, but how many times life takes your breath away.

See you soon, B
Oh, my camera died. One too many drops onto a hard marble floor apparently... SD card is still good though, so no pictures lost! Speaking of LOST, I still have 4 hours untill my flight is supposed to board. Luckily I have downloaded the 1st 2 episodes of LOST Season 6!!! WOOOOOOOOO!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Departure - 07:15 to Koh Chang

I'm off tomorrow! The mini-bus is coming to get me at 7:15am and then it will be nothing but beaches, sun and SangSom. I'll be back to Pattaya on the 6th for a night, then onward to BKK International morning of the 7th. I won't be taking my computer with me, as i think it will be safer here at my friend's Condo. I will be able to use Pookie's computer if need be to drop a blog post or email... mostly to let you know what stage of Comatose I am in.

Off to pack and sort out all my Stuff. More packing! Yay!
See you later, B