At 17, I’m bursting with energy. Although I’m studying english in New Canadian class, I’m still terrible shy, and communicating is not easy. I spend a lot of time on my own, mostly exercising! It’s part of my preparation for being fit when eventually I can go to the Yukon. I join a local gym, manage to buy a second hand bicycle and gear it for weekend trips to the Rocky Mountains just outside Vancouver.
I love it here! My life had changed dramatically, just like my body. I put on muscle, and even have a girlfriend that (among other things) teaches me english quicker than I would at school. On her birthday I give her a special present – my favourite Buck knife, but that just does not make an impression on her as I was hoping for. Soon the girlfriend is replaced by a wonderful dog, named Pretor, that becomes my favourite companion for many years to come.
On school breaks I work in a restaurant, flipping burgers. I am good at it, and at the end of long shifts, Pretor is happy stuffing himself with bags of food I bring for him. The money, (little as it is), goes towards camping equipment, and my biggest purchase is an expedition canoe that I practice with on near by Cappillano River.
Now I can read in english, (somehow it’s easier for me than speaking). I am learning about flora and fauna of British Columbia and Yukon Territory, as my weekend trips to the wilderness are becoming a regular outings (which my “boy” Pretor loves).
All this is a slow, but steady preparation for when finally, after graduating from high school, I will be able to head out for my exiting trip to the Yukon.
Excerpt from my journal, 1976 -77, Vancouver, Canada.