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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Monday, 14 July 2003
-> Calgary, Alberta, Canada (3rd day)

I had to rush off this report and leave you with the mind notes I made about this day. I am to far away from this date, to go really deep on things and as you can read, alcohol was also to blame for that. Fortunately, Erin jumped in to tell his side of the story (see below).

By the way: Happy Birthday dad!

Meeting with Collins family in Calgary, Nynne from Denmark (who Erin met with me when we first met in South Africa, he is getting married with her in the next two weeks!) with icepack as wisdom teeth been removed last week, done a CBC radio interview by Erin Collins who is a reporter for the CBC Radio, hang out relaxing back yard, mother Betty is a house builder, Erin had to be at work till 6, had leftovers for dinner and met up with father Michael Collins.

Pete, Erin's friend, has worked for a six years in denmark Calgary, drink at a pub in the Kensington area of town ending up on patio of Ceili's Irish Pub and Restaurant (say Cayley's), talking about life, travelling and work and catching up on our good o' memories of the past.

A Korean guy who joins us for a smoke (however it's not allowed to smoke on patios, only inside in the pub, strange law!) tells us about the 'hood' he comes from, the so-called Northeast of Calgary. "It's bad it has such a bad image, but most of my friends and I are very high educated." Followed by a conversation between my hosts about certain nearby university. "You did a correspondence course? Great, you should be happy you never went there. That university has the highest suicide rates, hahah."

Ended up getting pretty drunk while drinking honey brown lagers inside the pub when we were kicked off the patio because of its closure around midnight.

Lost my personal protective shield and remembered again how great good friends can be. I have met Erin only a few times in South Africa, in my head it felt like numerous years ago, but his name is still among the ones that are my best friends.

Ended up waggling ourselves from wall to wall in the CBC building, where Erin wanted me to listen to the radio report he made for tomorrow morning's broadcasts and taking pictures in the dark television studio, seen by millions of Canadians every day during.

Up next is Erin and his words about this day:

(I wrote this piece in about 15 mins and didn't edit or spelcheck it so if there are any typos and shit... whatever)

For most people the process of moving, making new friends, and settling in to a new environment can be daunting to say the least. For most of us it is something that we do from time to time either with an annual vacation or with a move to facilitate a new job.

We all know what it involves, awkward first meetings, the excitement of a new place to hang your hat and the feelings of unease and exhilaration that come with not knowing with certainty what the day will bring.

Anyone who has read this site with any regularity or has had the opportunity to meet Ramon knows that this is a daily reality for him and he has been blessed to meet thousands of interesting people and travel to far off places.

The benefits are obvious. Ramon has been able to hurl himself off the world's largest bungee jump, drive a Porsche at excessive speeds and generally have a kick ass time over the last two years.

But that is only one side of the story. It's important to remember that this project of Ramon's is still a job and it's a job that while exciting has many pitfalls.

So with that said, as another guest writer on this web site, I would like to ask all of you who regularly read this column to think what life would be like if that feeling of starting over from scratch was not an annual ritual but instead became a daily chore.

Just imagine if meeting someone new and getting to know a stranger in a strange land was no longer a choice but rather a monotonous and almost robotic task, like brushing your teeth or making your bed.

In other words I would like to talk not about myself but about Ramon.

But to do that you first have to know how Ramon and I met. And hopefully by seeing this you will be able to see how this wonderful project of his has had a significant impact on the man himself.

I met Ramon almost two years ago on the sunny shores of South Africa. The two of us were both starting rather long and unique trips. Ramon's as most of you probably know involved his project while mine focused on some freelance journalism, film making and a year and a half in Africa and Eastern Europe.

That week that I met Ramon was amazing (as you can tell from his updates on this website in November 2001). The two of us were fairly fresh to the road and revelling in the fact that we were immersed in a constant flow of changing faces and cultural experiences.

Ramon was still Ramon back then, loud brash, funny, self deprecating and full of the energy that comes from being wholeheartedly immersed in that aforementioned flow.

When we met we didn't talk about Ramon and we didn't talk about me.

Instead we talked about the things that people and more importantly budding friends always talk about, insignificant things like music, girls, beer and how beautiful the day was. It was a treat for both of us to simply share each other and the time we had.

But a few days later we parted and except for a brief meeting farther up the coast it was more than a year and a half until I met Ramon again. Now.

This time Ramon was in my home and as such I simply wanted him to relax and be at home. But it didn't take long for me to ascertain that going two years without having a home can make someone forget what that feeling is like.

I found that Ramon had trouble meeting me as someone who has no interest in his project or his wild adventures; after all I had my share myself over the past two years. Instead...


(continue in next report)