Where would I be today if I hadn't met these guys?
The story goes like this. It was October 2014. I was driving down the highway looking for a safe place to stealth camp in Jasper, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Actually, that's only half true. I had a found a place already, but something in my "gut" told me to keep driving, to not stop where I was for some reason. So I started my car and did exactly that.
A few kilometres from town, just as the sun began to set, there was an SUV parked on the side of the road with a group of people waving their arms at the cars and trucks going by in clear need of help. Without thinking about it too much, I pulled over.
"THANK YOU FOR STOPPING!" one of the ladies said as I rolled the passenger window down.
I smiled, "Yeah of course! What's going on?"
They were visiting Canada from Germany, on a road trip through the Rockies. On their way back from the hot springs, they'd run out of gas and asked if I could give one of them a lift into town and back. I was happy to help.
"Where are you heading tonight?" Ria asked me, as I rearranged the mountain of stuff in my car. I'd been living on the road approaching two months, slowly making my way from Newfoundland to BC, with my entire life haphazardly packed into my little blue hatchback.
"I'm looking for somewhere to camp."
The four of them exchanged a look and said some stuff in German while I started piling things precariously in my backseat.
"Well," she said in English again, "we're trying to find a room this evening in Jasper, and since you're helping us, we'd love to help you! Would you like to stay with us tonight? For free I mean."
I laughed. "Umm...fuck yeah!"
And that's how I met Ria, Dennis, Vince, and Franziska. Franzi and I went on to become roommates, best friends and confidants, travel and adventure buddies, and two halves of a schmetterling. Even now, living on opposite sides of the world, whenever something amazing or awful happens, we're on the phone to each other either laughing or crying about it, sometimes both. I certainly would not be the person I am today had we not met. It's strange to think the path I'm on is due, in part, to following my intuition.
You can pour over a decision for days, sometimes even months or years, and still be unsure of what to do. Other times, you make a snap judgment in a moment, and that moment turns out to be one of the most profound of your life.
The woman in this photo is clearly a very happy camper. She's just spent 2 days hanging out with her new German friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world. An hour or so before this photo was taken, while driving down Icefields Parkway and before ever having been to Banff, she decided she would move there with one of them, unaware of how important this new friend would turn out to be. This happy camper thought she might try to get a job at the local ski resort and learn how to snowboard, but she never imagined she'd meet a cute Aussie dude there who she'd someday move to Tokyo with. She didn't overthink what she was doing, and truthfully, if she'd have known how difficult this road would be, she might have ummed and ahhhd over it a bit. Luckily, she wasn't too worried about me (her future self), she just did what felt right.
We place so much importance on ration and reason, on being logical. I'm not saying it's unimportant, that we never need to think anything through. Of course prudence is essential to our well-being. But I'm of the opinion that we often let our rational thinking talk us out of something we really want, or some amazing opportunity. We convince ourselves that it's foolish or unsound, perhaps out of fear or some other motivator that doesn't have our best interest at heart. Sometimes the most sensible thing to do, actually, is ignore the logic and trust the intuition. To simply do what feels right.