not all those who wander are lost


Saturday, October 14, 2017


POST # 282

On a recent journey to Bend, Oregon with my friend Mary, we were introduced to Henri, a Papillon bonehead.  As he is a French breed, the owners decided to give him a French name.  He is looking particularly French in the above photo, which was taken along the banks of the Deschutes river that  flows through the town of Bend. A French dog on the banks of a French named river.  How appropriate.
The river was named Rivière des Chutes or Rivière aux ChutesFrench for River of the Falls)

Mary had accepted a housesit opportunity to care for Henri, and at the same time I was tasked with caring for Sofi the furball at another house nearby.

We drove over to Kathy's house where Sofi lives in order to introduce the suave and debonair Henri to her and see what kind of reaction we would get.

What furball could resist this handsome devil?

Here's Sofi's reaction.

Not impressed, to say the least.  Oh well, maybe next time.  If it makes Henri feel any better, this is the same reaction I got from Sofi all throughout the housesit.  Under the bed is her favourite place to be whenever there are strangers in the house.  Looks like Sofi doesn't care for French boneheads or French men.  

We departed Bend on October 9th and headed back north.  On a shopping trip we came across this pumpkin,  surely the largest pumpkin that I've ever seen.  It weighed in at a whopping 1526 pounds, and was grown by Cindy Tobeck from Little Rock, Washington.

That's one BIG pumpkin.

Getting back to Henri and the title of today's blog, I never heard him speak a single word of French during my entire visit, but he excels in the barking department.

living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer

Saturday, October 7, 2017


POST # 281

The Marcotte clan in the summer of 1955. (dad probably took the photo)
L-R: Gerry('52), Lynn('53), Mom('16) holding me('55), Judy('49), and Rosie('51)

Six days ago, October 1st, marks the day in 2011 when I left Vancouver to start my "new" life as The Thoughtful Wanderer.  This blog would begin twenty days later on October 21st, 2011.  Perhaps it's time to reflect on the person I have become over the past six years.

A life, anyone's life is composed of many and varied components. I would argue that one of the main components is the relationships that come and go as life progresses. The path that your life follows, can, and most likely will have a profound effect on your relationships.  Additionally, some relationships can have a major impact on the direction your life takes. Of this, I am quite certain.

Let's briefly examine two different life paths, which I will call  homebody (HB), and world traveller (WT).

HB grows up in a specific geographical location, and throughout his entire life, he never strays very far away from where he was born and raised. His initial relationships are with his immediate family members, mother, father and siblings if he has any. However, once he begins to attend school, his relationship horizon starts to expand. With formal education completed, the next step in our well regimented society, is to enter the work force in one capacity or another. This new environment will allow HB to expand his relationships if he so chooses. HB likes where he lives, he likes and even loves the people he interacts with, and with a steady paycheque, he begins to dream of a place of his own, that one day he can share with a partner and over time raise some children. Some, and probably most of HB's relationships will be with him from cradle to grave, and if he has the luxury to be able to reflect on his life in his old age, no doubt he will have fond memories of the people he has had the good fortune to spend time with on his one and only journey called life.

That's one way to spend a life.

Now let's examine WT. Initially, its difficult to discern any real difference regarding his relationships when compared with HB. In his early years he interacts with his immediate family members, and just like HB, he forms new relationships throughout his school years. By the time WT graduates from high school, one would be hard pressed to see any difference at all compared to HB.  In fact, these two individuals may in fact be close friends. However, somewhere along that first eighteen years of a young life, the seed of an idea is planted in WT's mind, an idea that just won't let go. The idea; why not explore more of the planet than the tightly defined geographical boundaries of where he was born?  And it was from that moment forward, that the life of WT really begins to take shape. The impact of that one idea, will have profound effects on WT for the remainder of his life, and at the top of the list is the effect it will have on his relationships as his life continues. And just to be clear, a person can even have relationships with individuals that are long since dead and buried, but who happened to leave a record of their ideas and philosophies in the form of the written word. There is no telling what the impact of a particular book can have, and for WT, there have been many. One of the driving factors that helped shape WT's life, was a basic curiosity for knowledge, and who knows where that comes from, except to suggest that curiosity is a child-like virtue, and for WT, that virtue remained a core part of his personality as the journey through life continued. In fact, as he aged, his curiosity for knowledge expanded, which allowed him to be exposed to all manner of new ideas and topics, some of which were way outside of the mainstream view. Some of these topics were things that one normally doesn't talk about in "polite" company, but fortunately for WT, he had abandoned the idea of trying to live up to the expectations of others, and instead to follow his own path. He chose a life that was true to the person  that stared back at him each day in the mirror. It had the effect of leaving him with a content and happy feeling in his heart, but it did have a a negative impact on some very long standing relationships. But as WT pondered his inevitable death (another topic not discussed in "polite" company), he thought, no, he knew in his heart, that if he had the luxury of knowing that his death was imminent, he would be content in the knowledge that he had lived a life that was true to himself. What more could one ask for?

OK, so much for the hypothetical HB and WT. Now let's get to The Thoughtful Wanderer. With those words as the title for this blog, its pretty easy to work out which camp that I fit into. WT is The Thoughtful Wanderer.

2005 was a watershed year for me and it wasn't just because it was the year that I first watched "The Big Lebowski" movie. Much more important than that, 2005 was the year that I was introduced to a book called " The Weather Makers", by Australian anthropologist Tim Flannery. This was my first introduction to the subject of climate change, and from that moment on, my life has been profoundly altered. From my point of view, I would say it has been altered for the better, but there would be plenty of people who might disagree with me.  I'm OK with that, but I imagine that some of them are shall we say, less than ecstatic about the person that I have become since 2005.

I really woke up in 2005, and looking back on it now, I find it difficult to believe just how naive I was for the first fifty years of my life. I'm much better now, and what I mean by that is that I'm much better informed than before that year. The bottom line is that I'm a very different person, and the person I have now become finds it very difficult to relate to many of the people that used to be a part of my life, pre 2005. Some of those relationships go a long way back, and here I am speaking of my four older sisters. Don't get me wrong, I still love them all, and I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have had all of these females caring for me while I was growing up. But because I've changed so much over the past twelve years, it's now virtually impossible to relate to what's going on in their worlds nowadays.

 Image result for the expectations of others are the bars i used to create my own cage

I suppose that there could be many reasons why we don't relate like we did in the past, but I suspect that the primary one would be that I have a much shorter view of the persistence of humans on the planet then they do. The fact that I am childless by choice,  and they all have children and most have grandchildren, it's not difficult for me to understand that the last thing that they would want to talk about is NTHE (near term human extinction). I get that, and if I were a parent or grandparent, I'm quite sure that I would find it extremely difficult to come to terms with this topic. In fact, I would probably do everything possible to convince myself that NTHE is impossible. But I'm not a parent, and I am in complete acceptance of the limited time span of our favourite species, homo sapiens. Bottom line, NTHE is a relationship breaker without a doubt.

So where does this leave The Thoughtful Wanderer in late 2017?  Happy? Sad? Content?  Probably a mixture of all three with sad coming in a very distant third. But how could this be?  For me, that's a very easy question to answer. If you fully accept as I do, that we aren't going to be around much longer, it makes it very easy to get the most out of each and every moment, knowing that there may not be too many more moments to spend. It also allows you to break the shackles of cultural norms, and maybe, just maybe live your life with more passion and purpose. I can only speak for myself, but I find it a wonderful way to spend whatever time I have left. I can highly recommend it.  And, in spite of all the changes, I somehow manage to retain my sense of humour, which is a precious thing indeed.

Of course, this blog post which talks about NTHE wouldn't be complete without thanking my dear friend, Dr. Guy McPherson. After all, he coined the term, and more importantly, as a conservation biologist, he understands how species go extinct. He's done a masterful job at following the evidence. He's a scientist, and that's what good, ethical scientists do. And at this late stage in the human experience, all the evidence points directly towards NTHE. And he's done this in spite of all the slings and arrows that have been directed at him over many years now. Its been a very lonely path for him to walk, but walk it he has, in order to tell the world some very uncomfortable truths. He's one in a million. No he's one in a squillion, or at least 7.5 billion, and I am very grateful to count him as a friend.

It's late. Late in 2017, and I believe, as does my friend Guy, that it's late in the human experience and for that reason I will continue to live as I has been doing since January 27th, 2009 when I voluntarily walked away from work that I loved, in order to pursue the life of The Thoughtful Wanderer. It's been an amazing and eye opening experience and a wonderful way to live. I would love to imagine that I could continue this lifestyle until I'm 100 years old, but of course I know better.
I am grateful beyond words for ALL of the many relationships from family to friends far and wide that I've had the pleasure of spending time with over the years. Perhaps we all are a composite of the many people we spend time with on life's journey  They have all been special in one way or another.  I look forward to making new friends along the way, as The Thoughtful Wanderer's journey continues until it no longer can do so.

And of course, those relationships include the non-human ones as well.  Here is a recent encounter with some of my bird friends.



And from my most recent trip to Belize, my sheep buddies, Bonnie and Clyde.


living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer

Thursday, September 28, 2017


POST # 280

This seems like good advice, especially if it's good quality ice cream.  I discovered this sign at the Sandy bakery, in Sandy, Oregon, just a couple of days ago.  My friend Mary and I were en-route to Bend, Oregon to do two separate housesits.  Mary lived in Bend for a while, so this is an opportunity to have a visit with her daughter and son in law, and her two grandchildren.  I on the other hand have only one furball to care for by the name of Sofi.  Sofi was part of the tag team of Sofi and Ziggy until just recently.  Ziggy has now gone to the great furball graveyard, and Sofi is left to fend for herself, with the help of this imported housesitter.  She's the invisible furball, or almost.  The only real way to tell that she is here is that the food gets consumed, and the litter box gets filled.  If it wasn't for those two things, you would be hard pressed to even know that she exists.  Sofi is VERY low maintenance.
Mary will be just down the road at another house with only one bonehead to take care of by the name of Henri.

The drive down to Bend from Bellingham was uneventful, and we had clear weather all the way.  A few short weeks ago it would have been a much different story due to all the wildfires that were burning.  When we stopped at the Sandy bakery, I detected the smell of smoke still in the air.  I mentioned this to one of the staff there, and she said she couldn't smell it.  Compared to what they had been through recently, this amount of smoke was insignificant.  She pointed out the window to an intersection very near by the bakery (maybe only 300 feet or so away), and she told us that earlier in the month, you couldn't even see the intersection.  Now THAT'S a lot of smoke indeed.

We on the other hand had clear skies all along the way as can be evidenced by the two photos below.



I imagine that these two scenes would have been invisible to the naked eye only a few short weeks ago.  We were fortunate to have done the trip when we did.

And so begins yet another house/pet sit.  Both Sofi, and Henri will be in good hands for the next couple of weeks with two very experienced sitters.  They should count themselves lucky indeed.

On a walk in the woods today, I took a couple of photos.



This is the final post for September, and when October 1st rolls around, it will mark the date that The Thoughtful Wanderer said his final goodbye to his sailboat in Vancouver in 2011, and headed out on his life of intentional homelessness.  It has been quite an adventure so far.

living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer

Thursday, September 21, 2017


POST # 279


I'll get to Madonna's bar and grill in a moment, but that is jumping ahead in today's story.  Let's start from the beginning.

Wandering is what I do best, and as I have come to realize at this stage in my life, a wanderer is who I am, not just what I do.  With that in mind, and with my continued view that what we now all take for granted, (this continued way of life) is about to take some rather sharp turns for the worse in the not too distant future, what better time than now to go on a road trip?  At least that was my plan a week ago.  To that end, I rented a car for a week, with three goals in mind.  Visit with my friend Mary, do a camping trip in Washington, and round it out with a  return visit to Grand Forks BC.  I wanted to re-visit  and climb my leg breaking hill for the third time, and have a visit with the people I house sat for in 2012, in addition to meeting their new dog, "Bella" who now has the job of filling the boots (paws) of "Sadie" who died earlier this year.  Well that was my plan, and I did pull it off, but it didn't look like it was going to happen at the beginning of the journey.

I picked up the car and headed to the border.  I've crossed into the US so many times over the past six years, that I have my "story" ready to go when I talk to the US customs agent.  I didn't anticipate a problem, but this guy was like a pit bull chomping down on its prey, and he just didn't want to let go.  Suffice to say, that after many long minutes, and multiple questions, he reluctantly let me in to the country. One of the questions asked in the last two crossings is, "are you planning to move to the USA?"  I answer with a simple "no" but what I would like to say is, "this is the last place that I would chose to move to", but of course if I said that, it would probably cause me even more grief.  He looked angry, and was quite aggressive.  This seems to be the norm nowadays, and it's the second time in as many crossings that the transition from Canada to the USA has been shall we say, less than pleasant.  I imagine it will only get worse as time goes on, and after the latest incident, I wonder if I'll be able to go in again?  I'll find out soon enough, as I expect to be crossing over tomorrow.  It should be an experience.  Perhaps he was just envious of the fact that I am free to roam around, and he's stuck there, breathing in exhaust fumes for eight long hours every day while he asks the same questions over and over again?  Who knows? Who cares?

After a brief visit with Mary, I headed to Baker Lake and spent another evening camping with Hambone and his little dog, Sancho Panza.  Another video was produced, which is linked below.

The next day I continued heading East into the smoke filled state.

Eventually and thankfully, the smoke dispersed, and I continued my journey, passing through some interesting little towns along the way.  One of these was the town of Twisp, and I am surely not the first person to make fun of the name as can be seen in the video below.


 After Twisp, I arrived in the town of Republic which is where Madonna's Bar and Grill is located.  My mom would have been happy to know that there was a bar with her namesake.  Well not quite.  I went in to let the waitress know that this was my mother's name, and asked her how the bar got its name?  She told me that the original owner was named Donna, but everyone just called her "Ma" so she put the two together and called her establishment Madonna's.  

Somewhere along the way I came across this scene, which might help to explain the predicament we now find ourselves in on the planet.  Forests burning down due to abrupt climate change?  No problem, just build a bigger house right in the middle of it.  What could possibly go wrong?  And how about that view?

 I spent the night car camping just outside of the town of Kettle Falls, and crossed back into Canada near Christina Lake, BC.  For the first and only time in my life, I was the sole person crossing in either direction, which was kind of strange.  Compared to the US border guard from earlier in the week, the Canuck spent all of about 30 seconds with me, and I was on my way, arriving later in the day in Grand Forks.  I had a pleasant visit with Bev, Brian, and their daughter, Elly, and accomplished my mission of climbing that damn hill just one more time.  My new companion, "Bella" was more than happy to join me in my quest.



I had a quick visit with the neighbours, the dear folks that saved me after I had fallen down the hill back in 2012, and then before leaving Grand Forks, I met another loveable bonehead in town, so I had to take a photo.  This mutt is 17yo but I can't remember her name.


Almost done.  One more night car camping, and then I continued on my journey, which took me through an unexpected snow shower.

Finally, a trip in Canada wouldn't be complete without a beaver, and this is one of the nicest looking and certainly the biggest beaver, I have ever seen.


And so ends the journey that almost didn't happen.  Soon I'll be on the road again, or at least that is my plan.  Whether or not the US border guards have a different plan, I'll find out in due course.

living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer

Thursday, September 14, 2017


POST # 278

What just happened?  It seemed like I was just getting ready for my second trip to Belize, and now it's already history.  Time is going by way too fast these days.
As mentioned in the previous blog, my original plan had to be adjusted due to Hurricane Harvey, and so after a delayed departure from Vancouver, I travelled via Toronto and Miami to my final destination of Belize.


 I arrived just after midnight in Toronto, and our flight from there to Miami was the very first cab off the rank at 6am local time the next morning.  We left the gate right on schedule and began the long roll down the taxiway to the runway threshold, arriving there at 6:15am.  At that point the captain came on the intercom, and said, "Ladies and gentleman, I've got good news and bad news.  The good news is that we are at the head of the line for departure, but the bad news is that Toronto airport has a curfew, and we cannot depart until 6:30am."  Well, I've never experienced that one before.  One might ask the Toronto airport authorities why they would schedule a 6am departure, if you can't take off until 6:30am, but whatever.  So we sat there idling the engines for 15 minutes and then we were on our way.
I enjoyed some pretty spectacular cloud formations on the journey south, as can be seen below.

Our route even took us over Melbourne, and even though I was thousands of miles away from the Melbourne that I am familiar with in Australia, just seeing the name brought back many pleasant memories of my years spent there.

Just prior to touchdown in Miami the captain mentioned that there was the potential for a rain shower upon arrival.  We landed on a dry tarmac, and a few moments later after arriving in the terminal, the skies opened up, and the visibility went to virtually zero.  It shut the airport down for more than an hour, so we lucked out with our arrival time.


Eventually we were back on board and on our way to Belize.  As I gazed down at Miami, I pondered what the future would hold in store, now that Hurricane Irma was threatening the area.

I opted to take the local bus from the airport out to San Ignacio which all went according to plan, albeit with some help from one of the locals, and soon after I was greeted by my friends for the final journey to their place.

The time there went way, way too fast, but it was time well spent in my humble opinion, and I made some new friends as well, which is always a good thing.
Here are a few photos taken by Pauline while I was there.



L-R Pauline, Guy, Me, Sara, and Glen at the Maya Mountain Lodge, after the most recent Nature Bats Last radio show.


Plus a view from their deck, while Guy was getting ready to tape an interview for a journalist in Australia.

But before I knew it, September 11th had arrived, and it was time to say goodbye.  Guy, Pauline and Sara headed to New York, and I headed back to Canada, via Houston and Calgary.  Houston airport was like a ghost town. Plus, it was strange to be spending a night at the airport in Calgary.  I haven't been to Calgary for a decade. 


And so ends the story of round two of Belize. I am extremely grateful for being able to spend time with my friends there.  Only 6 more visits to Belize, and I'll break my record for visits to the Mud Hut in New Mexico.  The odds of that happening are about as good as the odds of ever being born.  Very slim indeed, but it's nice to dream.

And it's GONE link.  Enjoy

living a life of simple acceptance,
The Thoughtful Wanderer

Thursday, September 7, 2017


POST # 277


The 29th of August was an eventful day. Boltbus to yvr, then the two plus hours at the United counter to try to find a way to get me to Belize.  Stephen the ticket agent certainly tried every option possible or so it seemed to me. He even had two other people helping, and they looked at all sorts of combinations and permutations, including flying via, Guatemala or perhaps Panama, and there was even talk of via Germany.  After all was said and done, he found a combination via Toronto, then Miami and on to Belize from there.  Only thing was the date has changed.  It wasn't the 29th of August, but rather September 1st to Toronto, arriving around midnight, followed by an early morning flight to Miami, and then on to Belize to arrive about noon on September 2nd.  Am I complaining.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  It's fun,  and it's all part of this adventure. Of course, with tropical cyclone Irma now forming in the Eastern Atlantic, anything could happen between now and Saturday, so we'll see what happens.  Who knows, Miami or Belize City might go the way of Houston, and I may never get there.  But until then I'll just continue to go with the flow.

Speaking of Houston, it sounds like a real mess, and the airport staff said that they didn't expect the airport to open until the weekend.  Something tells me that that is just the start of their problems.  Now IF, I do eventually get to Belize, and IF what has now been upgraded to hurricane status,  Irma doesn't decide that it wants to mess with The Thoughtful Wanderer, then perhaps I will be able to survey some of the Texas coastline on my return journey which is still booked through Houston.  Any way you slice it, the first part of September is shaping up to be anything but normal.  But then again, what's normal nowadays?  I'll update the blog prior to posting on September 7th.

I'm  writing these words, while sitting at The Table Rock Jungle Lodge in Belize, in preparation for the final Nature Bats Last radio show, with my friend Guy as the host. Pauline will be recording the show, so once that is up on the web, I'll post a link.
Since my arrival, IRMA is now a category 5 hurricane. As of last night it looked as though Belize was on the track to hit us here, but now Florida is in its sights. The bottom line is that its going to be an interesting weekend ahead.
I may or may not get back to Canada on September 11th. In the meantime, I'm very fortunate to be spending precious moments, with good friends here in Belize.

Show link below.–-090517/

 All things being equal, there is still time to enjoy the beauty of a late August sunset, like the one I experienced prior to departing Vancouver.  It was a rare non smokey day.

living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer 

Monday, August 28, 2017


POST # 276


This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting "Dr." Sancho Panza, and his side kick, Hambone Little Tail.  "Dr." Sancho is renowned for his deep philisophical  knowledge with regards to the human condition, but in addition to that, he loves to chase after chipmunks.

I came across Sancho, and his buddy Hambone Little Tail a while back on Youtube, and I've been following their adventures across the country from time to time.  It just so happens, that they were up in this neck of the woods, and seeing that all three of us are of the wandering type, and with the odds of us being in close proximity ever again were rather slim, I decided to send out an email to inquire about visiting them while they camped on the shores of Baker Lake at the foot of Mount Baker.  The response from Hambone was positive, so we set up a time, and my friend Mary drove me to the town of Sedro Woolley, where I caught a bus to the town of Concrete Washington to meet Hambone and Sancho.

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived, and we were hungry, so we stopped in at a local pizza place, and as the pizza was cooking we had a beer and an opportunity to begin our conversation, while Sancho remained in the truck trying to find a mouse that had recently moved in.  Before long, the three of us (or four if you count the mouse) were on our way to the campsite which was situated about 25 miles out of Concrete, on the Western shore of Baker Lake.  It was a magnificent location, and we had the place all to ourselves.  The remainder of the day was spent munching on one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted, washed down with a margarita or two, as the sun set, and the darkness enveloped our campsite.


The campsite was located just around the corner from the bush in the foreground  on the shore of Baker Lake.

All in all, I spent less than 24 hours visiting with Hambone and Sancho, and I'm glad I made the effort and I think they would agree.  It's always good to talk with someone who understands what's really going on in the world around us.  And on that note, Hambone is prolific when it comes to Youtube videos, so I've included a link to a video we did the other morning while I was there.  It's probably not for everyone, so the reader has been warned, however if you want to listen to these two old  wandering farts, and watch Sancho go chase a chipmunk, then settle back and have a listen.  It's just over 16 minutes in length.

Now let's briefly talk about Harvey shall we?  Harvey as in Hurricane Harvey is currently dumping plenty of rain on Texas, and is expected to continue doing so this week.  Just my luck because tomorrow evening I will be flying to Houston, enroute to Belize for my second time this year.  Funnily enough, tomorrow's date August 29th, is the same date (2005) that Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.  I've been on plenty of adventures in my life and it looks as though I'm on the verge of another one.  It should be interesting to say the least, and perhaps I'll have more to say about the matter when I write my blog on September 7th.

And finally,


Yesterday I received the news that my furball buddy from Nanaimo, Piper died last Friday.  That made me sad, but I'm pretty sure not as sad as Ann Marie, his owner.  On the house/pet sit journey that I have been on over the past 6 plus years, I've had the pleasure of knowing many furballs, but I would be hard pressed to think of one that I enjoyed spending time with more than Piper.  He will be missed.  Ann Marie said that he died in his sleep.  We should all be so lucky.

living a life of simple acceptance,

The Thoughtful Wanderer