RE: wanderlust

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The term wanderlust was invented masterfully. It’s resonance is in it’s ironically vague specificity. “A strong desire to travel.” A definition so bland for a word that stirs the reader’s skin. The necessity of “wanderlust” is that everyone, at one time or another, will feel it. Although I do not know if intuition, the curious human condition, or just boredom drive it, I do know this. When you let the constellations guide your feet and heart, there’s no questioning your path.

Needling & Wheedling

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Working for a non-profit can be challenging. From budget, to personality, to just personal stress, it can feel like you’re carrying the world. The thing that makes it all worth while, though, is genuinely believing you’ve done something good for others. I had one of those days,  and for the moment the proverbial world has been removed from my shoulders.

As an event lead at my work, I am tasked with planning and executing – you guessed it – events. Beyond this however, I usually have to keep within a specific mandate or “time period” because of the society’s heritage focus. What is unique right now, however, is that me and some of my student colleagues have been given free reign on planning any event we’d please. As a group, we decided a cancer benefit would be the most suitable. The event itself is a stitching or knitting evening, similar to a stitch and bitch, with donations and auction money going towards the BC Cancer Foundation.

Unlike other professional situations, this task has followed me out of the office. One of my close family friends passed away from brain cancer in her late 20s. In what seemed like no time at all, she was diagnosed, in the hospital, and then not… It was so shocking to realize the migraines which camped out in her head for so may years were, in fact, lethal. As hard as losing someone I loved, admired and looked up to so much was, facing her mother after the fact has been impossible.

It is so rare to have an opportunity within your work be healing, but it seems this has. As an extremely empathetic person, helping and giving back has always been my first priority and the reason I’ve chosen to establish a career in non-profit work. By organizing a community event which emphasizes community and positivity, while giving funds, I’ve been able to find something. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like the last piece of closure I need is giving back. I don’t want anyone to go through what my friend did.

I do feel quite guilty for how self-absorbed this post is sounding, but I came home form work simultaneously grieving and healing and needed to pen my thought process down. I don’t mean, in any way, to detract from the experience of living with cancer or cancer in the family or anything, and in no way am I saying my experience has been the most traumatic. However, it is MY only experience. It seems the main goal for me, through this event, has shifted from professionally executing it, to simultaneously absorbing others’ experiences and extending a loving, helping hand to anyone who needs it.

Kudos Bass Coast Project

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Bass Coast Project, which is taking place in Merritt BC, has taken a huge step forward. They have prohibited festival-goers from wearing Aboriginal war bonnets. As a chorus of 19 year old girls gasp in dismay, the move is both honorable and needed. Cultural appropriation is such a pervasive issue in our country, which is misunderstood by the mainstream that makes it happen. By these culturally-specific items or styles getting adopted by popular culture, it goes from a meaningful symbol which belongs to a minority, to simply something that is “cool”. Although the intentions are, on the large-scale, harmless, that does not mean the outcome is as well. The Bass Coast Project is trail blazing by acknowledging this, and demanding the return of respect. Their announcement read, :

“For various reasons, Bass Coast Festival is banning feathered war bonnets, or anything resembling them, onsite. Our security team will be enforcing this policy.We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated. Bass Coast Festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people. We have consulted with aboriginal people in British Columbia on this issue and we feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject. Their opinion is what matters to us.”

This move is informed and well thought out. Further, with the support of the Aboriginal community, it is necessary. I sincerely hope other, larger festivals take note and follow suit.

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