Who, What, Where

As I look out of the frosty panes of glass, I see the sun begin to poke its way past the horizon. It is a cold winter morning and we cling to our blankets for a bit of warmth and comfort. About half of us sleep while the other half sit in a nearly meditative state. The bus is serenely quiet and only the sound of humming motor strumming us along can be heard. It is the dawn of a new day as we head out to “Nowhere”, SK.

We endure early wakeup calls, brave the cold climate, and sit through hours of bus traveling nearly every day. It is hard at times, but we know our small sacrifices are worth it for the work that we do. We set out to change lives every day, a tall order that I am proud to say we accomplish.

Through the good and the “less good”, I can honestly say that LiveDifferent Academy is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I love everything about this unusual lifestyle; I love what I’m doing, who I’m with, and where I am. Most importantly, I am learning to love myself. LiveDifferent is providing me with the tools to love myself at where I’m at and the tools to transition into the person I want to become.

What I do justifies all my all complains about the road life. I can proudly say that I actually look forward to and enjoy my job. I like speaking onstage and I love talking to students after the show. In all honesty, connecting with students is my favorite part. Coming into the Academy, I had no idea that students would be so willing to talk to me. I thought no one would be willing to connect with me since I didn’t share a personal story on stage. Was I ever wrong. Students approach me every day for a variety of reasons. Some want to let us know how much they liked the show, some want to know more about the Hero Holiday program, and some just need an outlet. It feels great to be able to help them out with whatever they’re going through. Regardless of what we talk about, I feel like I grow after each conversation. I learn to be a better listener, a better speaker, and a better friend. In a world that lacks some serious compassion and empathy, I learn to care for complete strangers every day. In sum, the best part of my job is that I get to help myself through helping others.

Who I am surrounded with is a group of zany, kind, and inspirational young adults aiming to make a difference in the world. Each of them have taught me so much about life and how I want to live mine, whether they know they have done so or not. They each possess sets of skills that I pick out and aspire to gain. Best of all, they are never-ending sources of love and encouragement. I know that I could go up to any one of them with a problem and they would listen and help me to the best of their abilities. They act as shining lights guiding me through my journey. They have made me laugh, cry, push my boundaries, and grow. They are the best kind of people to surround myself with and I feel blessed to have them around.

Where I am changes on a day to day basis, and I like it like that. Each province has its own qualities that I come to love. I’ve fallen for the golden fields and endless horizon of Saskatchewan and Alberta’s varying scenery. I’ve even come to love the cold, snowy lands of Manitoba. Most of all, I adore the beautiful mountains of British Columbia. My heart melts every time I see them. I cherish BC so much that I envision myself living there someday. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to explore my country and to wake up in a new place every day. I truly had no idea how beautiful and spectacular our “home and native land” really is.

Throughout this entire tour experience, the most notable change in my life is in myself. I am not the same person I was in Hamilton some three months ago. I felt like I was treading water until LiveDifferent threw me a life preserver. I am now learning to embrace the past, and learning that only my present self defines me. LiveDifferent is encouraging me to grow into to person I want to become, and teaching me to love myself throughout the transition. I am becoming more and more aware of my immense potential as I am challenged to use it. I am becoming a leader and an overall better person. Best of all, I’m learning to never, ever, be afraid to LiveDifferent–ly. 

Meagan, LiveDifferent Academy Student, Fall 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 13th, 2013

The Zombie Apocalypse of Tour

We started from the bottom, now we’re here, we started from the bottom now the whole team’s here. Actually, we started in Ontario, now we’re here, and here is Vancouver, British Columbia. 
Coming to the LiveDifferent Academy I now realize I had absolutely no idea what to expect. When I decided to apply for the academy, I had seen a few presentations and heard about Live Different’s Hero Holidays from a team of students that went at my school. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but, was I ever wrong. Coming into this I thought I would be touring with a group of normal, quiet people. I figured we would be well rested and very professional. As time passed, I realized that my team had been infected with a virus; and not just any virus but one that turned them into zombies! This means they never sleep, they are extremely loud – at all the wrong moments, they act weird and awkward in large groups, and most unorthodox of all, they bite! 
So what I’m trying to say is that this blog is a cry for help. I’m trapped, they have taken me and I am sure that they are real zombies. Please come and find me – it might be difficult because we move around a lot but I’ll tell you as much as I can. We are traveling around the west in a large black bus that they call ‘Black Chedda’’. A techno country reggae mix is usually blasting out of the speakers and their leader who also happens to be the driver, has evasive driving skills! (So just a tip if your going to come rescue me, you will need a big fast truck to catch up).
I bet you’re wondering how I came to the conclusion that they were real zombies huh, well I’ll explain it to you. They began only showing symptoms that they had been infected – things such as sleeping in strange positions on the bus, having weird jerky dance moves, and just simply by biting. As time passed all these symptoms only intensified the sleeping was either oddly or non-existent, the dancing became more intense – to the point where trying to keep up with these zombies left me with a sore neck, and the attempted bites became more frequent. As all of these things were happening they also thought that climbing 5.5 km up a mountain was a good idea and jumping around in gravel pits would be fun. Let me tell you, they were right. As strange as these zombies are they are my family, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. 
Being on tour has taught me a lot. I have learned that I may be part zombie, or am at least turning into one the longer I spend with them. But it has also taught me it is perfectly normal to be weird, because eventually you’ll find where you’re supposed to be, and you’ll find people (or zombies, whichever you prefer) who are just as weird as you are. At times I miss my normal family and even though I’m not home I know that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. 
P.S. The events mentioned in the first parts of this blog may have been slightly exaggerated, but were all based of off real experiences. Enjoy. 
P.P.S. I learned that the bites – they were just a way of the zombies showing they loved and accepted me – they weren’t trying to eat me, phew I was really worried I might not make it to the end of tour.
Tianna – LiveDifferent Academy Student, Fall 2013

Author: LiveDifferent