I made it! I’m on Earth! It’s good to be back! I’m currently in Abu Dhabi with Uri. Man, and I thought Tatooine was hot! The forecast for the week is in the low 40’s here!
We’ve booked a hotel for Uri’s last five days in the United Arab Emirates before we head out for Italy, our first destination. We head out on our ten-month odyssey Thursday, July 6th. I can’t wait to stuff my face with this Margherita pizza Uri won’t stop going on about.
Let me stop rambling so I can properly welcome you to the blog. Let me give you a little tour.
The banner at the top features links to my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Below the banner, you’ll see seven tabs. Let’s run through these, one by one.
Home: This brings you back to the main page. Duh.
Meet Trevor: That’s just my a little blurb about me. No made-for-TV movie here; just how I found myself exploring Earth with this weirdo, Uri. More on him in a bit.
Travels: Here, you’ll find pictures, videos, and my own write-ups about the places Uri and I visit.
Episodes: After we leave every country, we’ll put together a video about said country.
Musical Notes: As I said in my intro, Uri and I love music. Our goal is to meet and introduce you to bands and artists from every country we hit. So far, we’ve been in talks with bands and artists in several of the first few countries on our schedule, so we’ll be bringing you interviews, profiles, and hopefully some live videos of them them doing what they do best.
On Tour: Uri and I are huge Metallica fans. We’re going to be following the band on their world tour and sharing pictures with you along the way. “Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond, call me what you will!”
Fellow Troopers: This one was Uri’s idea, and I think he’s on to something here. As beautiful of a planet as Earth is, you people need to get your acts together. You share this planet with one another. This is your home, and yet you treat it–and each other–like a burden. It’s like everything and everybody is in the way of your own happiness. There’s so much hatred, violence, war, destruction, and discrimination going on everywhere. I don’t understand why you are so divided.
Just the other day, Uri sent me a video of a Muslim man from somewhere in England recounting how he and his 21 year old cousin had acid thrown on them while they were out celebrating her birthday. ACID! They were just innocent people out having fun! What the hell is wrong with you people?! Your differences don’t divide you; they highlight the innate beauty of humanity. You should all be on the same team here, rooting each other on, supporting each other, and loving each other! When you look beyond race, religion, sex, gender, and orientation, you realize that you all have the same dreams, struggles, and goals. You realize that the people around you aren’t holding you back from achieving those goals–your own stupid blind fears are. You need to see your neighbour as your ally, not your enemy. You are stronger together.
I know I said in my intro post that I wasn’t going to get political on this blog, but this has nothing to do with politics. Politicians may try to stoke fears about this or that group threatening your “freedoms,” but you need to see through their games. They’re only out for their own self-interests. That’s why I had to get away from the Empire. At some point, it became us versus them, and I didn’t want to choose a side. Likewise, you don’t need to build walls between each other–literal or figurative ones.
So having said all of that, the “Fellow Troopers” tab will feature profiles on people Uri and I meet along the way on our adventures. Some of these people will be old friends of Uri’s, while most of them will be new friends. The idea behind this section is to share the stories of these individuals–people from every corner of the world–in order to remind everybody that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like, everybody has a story to tell, and everybody deserves to be heard. Every story needs to be celebrated.
Now since this is the first time Uri and I are meeting in person, we’re obviously still getting to know each other. With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea for me to profile him so that I can get a better idea of who exactly I’m going to be stuck with for the next ten months. So Uri will be our first of many, many future Troopers profiled here. (Of course, they’ll all be Troopers in the honourary sense only; I don’t have the authority to make somebody an actual Storm Trooper.)
It being Canada Day and all, we’ve been watching Canadian movies and drinking beers while we drink and talk. He showed me this movie called “Goon” that features this game called “hockey,” in which a large stupid man fights other large stupid men on ice while their teammates try to get an oddly shaped black ball into a net. I don’t quite understand it, but he is thoroughly enjoying himself. Happy Canada Day, Canada!
Anyway, here’s Uri’s story. He seems like a nice guy. A little weird, and sometimes annoying–but he seems to have a good heart. I’ll let you judge for yourself.
I think the one thing I’m grateful for above all else–the one thing that keeps me going–is the unconditional love and support of my family. They love and support me even though most of the time I’m pretty sure they think I’m crazy, stupid, and weird. They don’t understand why I do the things that I do–like travelling the world while most of my peers are settling down and starting families, for example! But despite all of that, they always have my back. I’m grateful for that everyday.
The two individuals who motivate me the most, though, would be my little sister, Doris, and my mother. Doris makes me aspire to be a better person and the best role model I can possibly be. And as for my mom, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve had, I wouldn’t be the person that I am without her. She uprooted her life in Nicaragua in 1988 during the Contra War to move us to Canada. I was just three years old at the time. My aunt sponsored us, as well as a couple other aunts, my cousin, and my grandma, and we all made a new home for ourselves in Canada.
At the age of 27, she restarted her life just like that. She went back to school to learn English, and she worked two or three jobs at a time just to support me and my big brother. That’s incredible.
As a result, I’ve always felt obligated to do well by her–to lead a good life. In my academic and professional lives, I’ve always tried to do my very best and work as hard as I could to make her proud. I want her to see that the sacrifices she made weren’t in vain.
Outside of work, I try to lead as happy as a life as I can, because at the end of the day, I think that’s what she wants for me.
And even as an adult, you don’t realize how much your parents mean to you and how much you still rely on them for support until you almost lose them. Without going too much into detail, there was one rough period where my mom had a bit of a health scare. It was terrifying for all of us. It was also difficult because it was the Christmas season, and Christmas is always our favourite time of the year.
I moved home to be with my family during this time, and I remember feeling numb as I watched the strongest person I know shatter into a thousand pieces. It was my turn to try and support her. I don’t know how much my presence and my words actually did to lift her spirits, but I did everything in my power to make her feel better. And it damn near broke me. I just didn’t have her strength.
At the time, I was working on a music blog. One afternoon, I was in Starbucks killing time before meeting up with a friend, and I was listening to an album by the band I was profiling that week–the Strumbellas. A song called “Diane” came on, and I broke down in tears. Sitting by myself in the middle of Starbucks, I sobbed uncontrollably as I listened to this song about the singer’s mother meeting his father, who is actually dead, in Heaven.
But damn, did that cry feel good. It let out all of the fears and frustrations I’d been building up inside. That entire album–My Father and the Hunter–is about family, home, growing up, and how those relationships evolve as we grow. That cry finally did break me, but it also allowed me to pick myself up. The entire album became my medicine. It gave me strength. I became determined to help my mom and my family through this ordeal, no matter what.
Thankfully, we all made it through okay. Today, my mom is as healthy as she can be. Now, her biggest concern is praying that her crazy son makes it back home in one piece. I know I drive her up the wall with my shenanigans, but at the same time, I know she couldn’t be happier for me as I get ready to embark on this trip. I know she’s proud of me.