Unexpected magic: Leaving Haida Gwaii (for now)

All my friends have left the island, both my housemates and my local friends, and I embrace my alone time with a hike up Tow Hill.


Despite there being no service on this side of the island, from so high up I get a signal from the mainland 80 km across the Hecate Straight, and see a message from a friend offering his Oregon Eclipse ticket. I would have to leave tomorrow on the only ferry going out this week, overcoming the massive waitlist then driving 24 hours south to Oregon to make it by the eclipse. I’ll only have service for the next few minutes while I’m up here, and I have unexpected free time now … should I do it?

Service must have come from somewhere in the top right corner of that ocean

It only takes a moment of reflection to say yes. I message him immediately, and he happens to be online, though he lives many time zones away in South Africa. Done deal. I dance more than hike on the path back down, flooded with thoughts of art boats and the spontaneous road trip that lies before me.

I drive back south to my house, stopping at a friend’s cabin to write all my excitement and reflect on the trip so far, knowing now that it’s my last night here.


As I journal, 3 clear themes emerge, things I’ve learned from this trip:

Acceptance and Flow: I’m going to be excited for something, and then it’s gonna pan out differently than I hoped. The quicker I accept with joy what is happening now (e.g. the gift of free time if someone has cancelled on me, an unexpected new plan when things shift), the more space I make for even more incredible things to happen. This trip has given me so many daily chances to practice this! To lose my frustration and instead marvel at the magic the Universe creates when I stop trying to go against the flow/force my own desires and shift my nervousness into trust. 

Controlling my own behaviour: People are going to react as they will to things I do, say, don’t do, don’t say, or experience with them. Their reaction is their own and I can’t change, take responsibility for, or be offended by it. They’re doing their best, and so am I. What do I want from this interaction? (Do I want to be right/in control, or do I want to enjoy myself with these people?) Am I acting in a way that reflects that? (How would I explain my behaviour to someone else? Does it sound like petty, senseless silliness? Better drop it and relax then!)

Going at the pace of life/timing with joy instead of schedules: If I feel like doing something, I do it. If not, I don’t. I sleep in, or wake early. I start to read all morning, letting myself indulge, then find myself wanting to write or bike or go to the beach, so abandon my plan and do that instead. Time often escapes me entirely here, spending hours in a friend’s company with no rush or schedule, just hearts desire unfolding in every moment. Eating when I want, napping, talking, swimming in the ocean, canoeing under the moon. Like clocks don’t exist. Learning to do everything at its natural, unrushed pace, stopping when it feels right. And yet there is time for everything. This is something I’ve worked on all year at home, and the lessons really sunk in here, not only because I didn’t have a paid job to schedule around, but because I really focused on this each morning, willing myself to relish each moment and listen to my heart to guide the next. 

I have a last dinner with the wonderful grandparents I live with and their children, do laundry and pack til midnight. Despite an absurd waitlist, I charm my way into a ferry ticket (showing up 4 hours early with coffee, a small car and a smile helped), then went back to the cabin to make breakfast and say my (temporary) goodbyes to this place. My darling guide from the kayak trip, who I’d been trying unsuccessfully to meet up with since we got back, just happened to be stopping at the same cabin at the same moment, and we both laughed with delight at the coincidence, after such effort trying to meet up, that we would end up together here the morning we are both leaving the island. 

IMG_8160Thank you Haida Gwaii for making everything so perfectly perfect. See you sometime soon.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Connie says:

    It would be hard to leave such a beautiful, peaceful place. With your positive outlook on life and your angels to guide you, you will continue to encounter good people and have good adventures in the next few weeks as you go from festival to festival! I miss you and am looking forward to your return to Calgary!!


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