Who are we anyway?
Marissa Dolotallas AKA Birch
Made in Canada :) Backcountry camper and sport enthusiast. An adrenaline junkie at times. Other, peace. Lately, heavy on the peace :)
From an early age, I was drawn to the ocean and the natural world, perhaps due to my roots being from an island country of the Philippines. Living on the west coast of Canada allowed the privilege of plenty when it comes to exploration and outdoor activities of all shapes and sizes. Chasing the "ah-ha" moment became a collectible item - priceless.
Special "ah-ha" moments... Wakeboarding on a glassy lake just after sunrise... Windsurfing chops like a rodeo princess at Jericho Beach (giddy yup!)... Skydiving (tandem) over the north shore of Oahu (and didn't die of fright!)... Catching my first surf as the sun set in Waikiki (with my best friend!!!)... Kiteboarding (or least learning to!) in Cabarete... Meeting my man for the first time (Awww!)... Our second date at the Outdoor Adventure Show (he passed the test!)... Wandering Machu Picchu together in awe (dream come true!)... Lighting fire with only a flint and steel!... White water canoeing at Palmer Rapids (what a rush!)... Hiking the scree of Yoho (trying not to scream!)... Alpine expedition in Strathcona (almost broke me!)... Backcountry SUP trip in Algonquin (with 3 portages!)... Camping solo in Killarney (I'm hooked!)... just to name a few!
Yes, my thirst for adventure has led me to not only enjoy my 'backyard' but also to faraway places and traveling solo (highly recommended!). These experiences of meeting new people, learning about their culture, and appreciating the wisdom of elders are my kind of 'rich'. By this definition, a sudden move from the west coast to Toronto where I knew hardly a soul would qualify as a 'rich' experience no doubt!
Nowadays, time is filled with unexpected twists and turns of both trials and tribulations. And that's ok. Pretty awesome actually. It means I'm ok with change and am fairly fierce when faced with fear. Who doesn't love giving fear a big kick in the butt! Jump already! It's all these events that shape my perspective, deepening my understanding of self, my role in this big beautiful planet and how I can contribute to the community and environment at large.
On that note... Life is an adventure - the journey is the story I admire most. Be the change. Peace... xo
Chris Scerri AKA Bannock
I haven't always had a paddle in my hand, but have always looked for the next adventure. Born and raised to the age of 11 on the small island of Malta, adventure was never too far away. I remember loving three things as a kid. Playing in the sea, climbing every rock and tree, and starting fires. The latter wasn't always as well received by the adults in my life. I recall going to the beach and swimming away a Sunday afternoon, looking for crabs and trying not to step on sea urchins. In the fall, I'd climb rocks and trees while my parents foraged for wild mushrooms, capers and sometimes snails! I helped my dad in the yard raising and "preparing" rabbits and if the sun was out, I'd take out my magnifying glass and burn the dry leaves in the garden. Funny how these were just every day activities, but years later some of them are considered by some as primitive skills or bushcraft!
Life changed when it was decided that we should move to Canada in 1978. Here was a young boy from a warm Mediterranean island climate coming to a massive country with four seasons, one with snow! I had never seen snow before and it took a long while for us to become friends. One thing I did fall in love with instantly were all the big trees I could climb and woods I could explore right in my own neighbourhood. The dry fall leaves caught fire quite easily as well.
Growing up in Canada was filled with tobogganing in the winters and visiting a family cottage in the summer. It wasn't until my late teens that I went on my first camping trip. We packed 10 guys into a van and headed to the Ottawa valley for a wild ride down the river on a raft. Gear back then meant a couple of good coolers and a trip to the LCBO. We had a great time, although the water can be a little chilly in June!
I became a father in my twenties and time outdoors was split between family cottages and tent trailer camping. Although we didn't quite rough it, my need to explore took us on many road trips to parks throughout Ontario and North Eastern USA. When I travelled without my family, I'd be riding a motorcycle as far as I could get on a week's holiday. This took me and my riding partners to places like New Hampshire and the top of Mount Washington, West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Gaspe, The Cabot Trail and Key West to name a few.
Then I met Marissa! I knew things were heading in the right direction when for our second date we ended up at The Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto. We planned our first adventure together to Peru a few short months later. In the meantime, we picked up a kevlar canoe and started amassing our gear collection. We haven't looked back since and the past 8 years have been filled with adventures that a young boy from the small island of Malta could only dream about!
Sawyer AKA Best Dog Ever
We have always talked about adding a dog to our family. But living in a small place and going away a lot made us hesitant. By chance, one of Marissa's friends called saying she was fostering the perfect dog for us. Before we could give her an answer, she showed up along with the cutest black lab-cross ever!
Sawyer... named after Tom Sawyer (of course). And we have been exploring the outdoors together ever since. Who could ask for a better companion?