Deep ecology and my initial awakening (pt 5)

Welcome back!

Part 5 – Europe and getting off of YOUR beaten path

One of the most exciting and interesting experiences in my life was a seven-month SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program) program to Europe. It was during the first Gulf War from August 1990 to April 1991, and it was probably the most incredible seven months of my life, for so many reasons. First of all, it was with my three besties, Pierre, Steph and Phil! Third of all it was a complete break from my <life> and kicked me so far out of my comfort zone, that I never really returned to it.

It was truly a transformational experience!

Part 5 - Oct-27 Departure time
Departure for adventure – farewells at the airport August 1990

“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.” -Les Brown

Part 5 - Oct-27 The boys
The brotherhood, Pierre, Phil, Steph (Tad) and of course yours truly, I believe this was in London near the beginning of our adventure.

My friend Pierre organized the trip and the initial plan was to go to London, UK for 3 months to work and then to head to Dublin, Ireland for 3 months with a month or two to travel within this period or after. We had purchased a 15 day open Eurail train pass in advance, valid for all of Europe. We had planned for a 7-8 month sojourn, but we got so much more than we could have ever imagined.

Midway in our journey, some of our plans changed as “Tad” and I were fed up with the UK’s dreary weather as we were there during Autumn, although most seasons are wet over there. As this recap is just an overview of my trip as the main subject is my awakening, I will not get into details for the moment. But to make an awesome long story short, we ended up working hard and playing hard in London, and on Dec-25-1990, after our last meal together, Christmas dinner, Steph and I decided to part ways with Phil and Pierre, not willing to endure winter in <Sunny> Ireland, but to go south!


“Traveling off of your <beaten path> or out of your comfort zone will of course allow you to learn a lot about others, but most importantly it allows you to learn so much about yourself, your limits which are nearly always in your head but also about your soul and what we share in common with all life, LOVE!”
-Stephane St-Pierre

Comfort Zone

Our initial plans were to head to the Canary Islands, via Madrid. As my friend was a little broke, and I had made a killing during the Kenilworth Hotel Christmas banquet season, clearing some 1000 pounds (2000 Cnd$) in a week, I decided to offer him half of his one-way plane ticket to Madrid, which we stayed and visited a few days. The ‘balmy’ 15 oC (60 oF) was a truly happy departure from the sleet and snow and 0 oC waiting over an hour outside with all of our luggage for the bus on a limited Christmas schedule!

It was still not hot enough for us, and we wanted to hitchhike to Algeciras from Madrid about an 8-hour car ride, to hop on the ferry to the Canary Islands, our final destination. However, our plans were thwarted by the 3+ hours attempting to hitch a ride at the outskirts of Madrid. Zero takers. So we returned to the bus station and got a couple of tickets for Algeciras?. Seven hours into the trip and feeling somewhat exhausted, we saw the Rock creeping towards us on the bus, and we looked at each and a common idea hit us, call it telepathy, intuition or perhaps just synchronicity at work, but we found our home for the next three months, arguably the best of my life!

Part 5 - Oct-27 Gib 1st view
The view from our Madrid-Algeciras bus of Gibraltar – We were hooked and destined to have one hell of a trip!


Part 5 - Oct-27 Steph and I
Tad and I, BFFs forever and ever
Part 5 - Oct-27 Steph and I 2
Me trying to throw my BFF overboard


Part 5 - Oct-27 Gib boat
Ben and his sister, he was the shipmate taking care of this ship, we had some amazing times on it!



Part 5 - Oct-27 Gib party
What a party, with half a dozen East German on their first trip outside of East Germany, right after the wall came down! Awesome!


Gibraltar would be our home for the winter months, we had found our little corner of paradise, which it will be for three or so months. We had all we could ever wanted: Sun, Sand, Fun part time work in Sax’s Jazz Bar, my first true Love, and some fun narcotics to pass the time. It was truly heaven on Earth. Leaving Gibraltar in March of 1991 was one of the hardest decisions in my life. I did learn about appreciation during this time and truly did appreciate all of the aspects of this trip and the touring and even the more dreary three months in London.

Part 5 - Oct-27 2 With Phil bye Gib
Aww, departure is such sweet sorrow, one of our last pics from Gib with Phil

Much happened during our travels, and we visited many countries, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Nederlands, and so much more but this may come about in a longer book. But for this one we will continue towards part 6…

Part 5 - Oct-27 Ireland
On the irish Coast, it was lovely to still have a full set of hair!


Part 5 - Oct-27 w tad Florence
Tad and I in Florence, whose that stud?


Nature Loves Courage Custom

End of Part 5.

Next in Part 6: University and the teacher that truly changed my life, a Native Moroccan Berbere Philosopher/Manager/Psychologist!


2 thoughts on “Deep ecology and my initial awakening (pt 5)

    1. Hi thanks for your interest! I took a short break as I am working on a nice income opportunity in Bitcoin at the moment, so next week I should have part 6 out! Sorry for the delay! I imagine you have read the other parts? Feel free to browse the blog for other great articles wrote by yours truly! Thanks again! Steph.


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