I was asked to be a guest blogger on SoloTraveler and was supposed to type a gaunty 250 post, but I got a little lost along the way. Here’s the version that WON’T make the cut, but I RECOMMEND the read until the final choppy-chop.
Entry 001 CFilmGirl: Fate, LOST TV and a little Tale to tell.
I feel like a covert operative most days, in reality I am just a film girl who just can’t stop getting on the plane. There is no one else who is willing or able to keep up with my adventures other than at my side via Twitter and FaceBook. I am a solo filmmaker / traveler (which means I am the producer, director, writer, camera operator, sherpa, self-guide, bad-translator, travel-advisor with a break-the-budget love of late night wine, local yums and cool-unique sleeps).
The line has long been blurred between a story I was chasing and the story I am now shaping so I can keep on ‘chasing’. Cradling my MacBook Pro, in Air Canada Exec class (Aeroplan points) on a direct flight from Calgary, Canada to San Diego, USA, checking out my latest tweet on my iPhone (ok – I have a few/many sanity/insanity tools/tricks to travel).
CFilmGirl: Missed Banff TV Fest but hit Exec Prod / Director of #Lost “did you write it with the end in mind?” haha http://yfrog.com/5cn6ej
I jump over to FaceBook to see if Twitter auto updated my status, upload and tag myself on the same photo I tweeted.
I always feel like I don’t have enough time to ‘tweet’ let alone eat, I don’t even know if I ‘hashed’ properly (not talking weed or pot here) but sharing these updates and nuggets of travel and film makes me feel a bit less guilty about this pseudo lifestyle and leaving my loved ones behind… most of the time. There is still the guilty pleasure of disappearing – going ‘off grid’ and THAT is the freedom of going solo. The choice to share VS to have a secret moment. In the end, I am the only one in the conversation “what happens on a solo trip – stays on a solo trip…”
Going solo, like going to a party solo (one note here… I am shy & single) gives you the time to experience everything around you in a completely different way. Much like a writer or a director, you become immersed in a world and have a heightened, focused experience that we yearn for in many aspects of our lives but rarely are able to achieve. For some they find it via adrenalin, drugs or even rock and roll – for me, it’s travel and I am a bit different person when I step out of my life and into a solo experience without any of regular daily life’s gauges, labels or distractions. But I am preaching to the converted and hope to convert a few of my shy and curious peeping toms that I know have been watching with a longing curiosity.
Back to me and Jack Bender, mastermind behind ‘Lost’, arm in arm in the Calgary Airport. A happen-chance meeting while in line at the USA customs began with a simple comment about a photo mural hanging overhead to kill time directed to no one in particular… “Mount Rushmore – I don’t care to go”. I bit the bait, answering “I think I was there when I was young. I think I was sick – I think maybe it dreamt I was there”. A Kiwi solo traveler piped up “who’s the guy with the mustache?” We all shared a short trivia moment, killing time.
Jack was there for the Banff Festival, which I couldn’t afford to attend. Funny cause he was the only person I would have wanted to meet at the festival if I could have gone. Funny, cause I don’t even watch Lost. Funny cause he was standing right there, solo and we naturally lead into conversation. This is what we call in the media industry a ‘slow pitch’ environment. Outside the industry, I call this a ‘slow experience’. Others call it FATE and fate doesn’t happen if you are not open and AVAILABLE (like dating) to new experiences.
Maybe you’ve heard of ‘slow foods’ dining where instead of the typical fast-food choke-it-chow-it down-get-the-’F’-out-of-here race, a meal could last 4 hours or longer into the night and is typically shared with a larger group, turning a meal into a shared experience.
Well, I collect ‘slow experiences’. I don’t expect something to happen at first point of contact, I don’t hit the typical tourist sight or follow an itinerary. I shoot the same way – I don’t have a shot list, I don’t have a set cast of characters – I wake up, start moving and I let a story guide me. When I am solo, a voice seems to call out softly, demurely and it playfully beckons me to follow it. It’s not long until I am under it’s spell, like a new romantic interest. It grows into an intimate and at times even sensuous experience but it never fails to develop into a deeply honest and revealing journey – both for myself as a filmaker and as a human being.
There is something uniquely beautiful to be surrounded by so many undiscovered locations, cultures, characters, behaviors and story-lines. Traveling and shooting solo, void of negotiations, justification only instinct and whims. Yes, there are times of danger, extreme risk and emotion but even though I am solo, I have learned to reach out wherever I am and ask for help and guidance to those who ‘happen’ to be at my side at that moment. Places do not seem so foreign when you can be one on one, face to face with strangers and has never failed for a friend to show up just when I needed one most – I just didn’t know they were a friend until they said ‘hello’.
It’s a shift from “who is at my side and needing someone there right from the beginning” to “I am beginning and I wonder who will grace my journey along the way”. With that shift and a little faith and patience on my part, the world around me opened my eyes and allowed me to keep my wits about me when surrounded by the strangest of languages and in the deepest recesses of the desert. I now truly don’t feel that traveling solo translates to traveling alone.
Through my journey, I also recently came to understand that the world bears a strong and mischievous sense of humor. I now take each victory and each fall in stride with a crooked grin of my own as if I secretly immersed in a game of practical jokes, witty tests and a never-ending treasure hunt with a storyteller much larger than myself. Someone, something out there is scripting a grand adventure of which I am unable to uncast myself from. I faithfully listen to the whispered words on the wind and just keep on trekking towards the next bump or fork in the road. Taking it all in stride as I travel to gather a better understanding of my place in the world and fill an unquenchable curiosity of the world and it’s mysteries, romances, dramas, adventures, comedies and hopefully not to many more horror or war stories…
What better way to discover the next amazing story than to step out of the known and explore solo, your own amazing unknown, yet to be discovered life. You never know where you may end up and who you may friend along the way.
Happy Tales to you – until we meet…
A quick note on attraction cause I am always asked what qualities I look for in a partner (dating, working or traveling). I always pick ‘personality’ which I define as personal behaviour shaped by personal experience. I always hit the ball into their court afterwards with: “Take the time to question, explore, discover and shape your own world – inside and out. You will stand out in my books – I will be curious and want to know more and remember, you don’t always have to go a far as you think to find some interesting answers…”
aka ‘Canadian Film Girl’