Finally after nearly 10 long gruelling years this IS THE Camp I have always dreamt of and strived for since back in 2012.
Thank you Jill Brown for capturing each moment. Perhaps one day people in the future will look back on these photos and know that ANYTHING really is possible when you put your mind, heart and soul into every breath against all odds .. it really is possible.
Let me begin with a little bit of the back story and what I mean by “believe in the process, not the product”.
Back in 2012, I still had my family, ( if I may add, I do miss and love them just as much today as I ever did back then )
I had just got out of treatment only a few months prior and believe me when you read the book you’ll understand “the process”, even more.
I had 2 jobs at the time, trying to make up for a full year of battling with WCB, trying to prove that my PTSD was related to the Olympic ( what they call accident ).
My first job was working for the Whistler municipality as a janitor, scrubbing toilets, mopping floors and changing all the woman’s nasty tampon boxes in 32 stalls at the Meadow Park Sports Centre.
Let me tell you , there’s nothing more humiliating than to be pushing your janitor cart and mop bucket, changing garbages while wearing rubber gloves as all your old firefighter brothers walking by ya and kinda smile, all your brothers you used to play hockey with kinda look at you differently, you now scrub their pisser and mop the spit as you wipe the benches and clean the change rooms, and as bad as that sounds and feels, the absolute most degrading and worst part was when my step sons buddy’s from school, the same kids that used to look up to me as a firefighter, and volunteered as their basketball coach . look at me now .. just a has been, a mop boy now scrubbing the shitter’s and picking hand full after hand full of dead skin muck hair out from the drains in the showers.
My teeth clinch tightly as I write this, I’ll never forget just how many tears I held back, how much hatred and anger I had for the system, the very system I gave my everything to, did nothing but put a broom in my hand in front of everyone that ever respected me.
But hey, guess who’s still mopping the floors around here now lol, I am and I am dam proud to be doing so. It’s just part of the process and if you’re ever going to get to the top, like the very top, we must start at the VERY bottom.
I say this humbly, for I do know and am very aware that I am by all means nowhere near the top of anything, rather just a few steps up a very tall ladder.
My second job, one I had to take just to fill my ego, puff up my chest and make me feel like a bit more of man rather I got a gig working as a bouncer at Moe Joe’s night club.
A dam good friend of mine Gregger’s owned Moe Joes, he used to sponsor our hockey team and offered this job to me.
My first few nights bouncing made me a bit nervous though,
Ya see, before I went to prison back in 1999, I had spent many years as a circuit boy, ( Go-Go dancer ) at all the biggest raves across america. I’ll let you in on a secret before I end up spending the next 12 hours getting sucked into my own memories and boring you with it all, but if there is one thing in this world I LOVE MOST is dancing. There’s nothing that makes me happier than to be entertaining 10 – 25,000 people a night, one city after the next.
Again, it was something I did to fill a huge void in my life, many insecurities, somehow by oiling up my body, dressing in tight little outfits, standing on a box like a circus monkey thinking I was some sorta something made me feel loved, I felt people could see me, lust after me as if I had some sort of magical power over their drug indused minds as they drooled below me mezmorized by my slick moves .. pffft believe me, this was all in my head and with that many people partying at once, the bass thundering through your soul, the strobe lights flickering .. this is all about as much of a brain washing as it is sitting here in front of my computer thinking I’m making some sort of difference in anybody’s life on social media.
Same void, same lights, same old tune.
I had bounced side by side with these 2 Aussie cunts ( this is not a bad word in Austraillian, in fact it’s actually a term used quite often, pls forgive but it is what it is ) .
Both are still my friends today. Brett Lauria and The Lockness Monster.
After a full night of bouncing little kiddies heads off of walls and dragging there drunks asses across the mucky floors all night, we would be restocking the beer and cleaning up the bar, I would always be talking ( they call it a gift ) about our family cabin up on a beautiful lake.
They were so stoked to be in Whistler, but I assured them that this was ( as beautiful as it is ) just Canada’s disney land and if they were going to experience the real Canada, they needed to come up to our Cabin one day before their visa expired and have a real taste of the wilderness.
Sure enough, in late 2012, they had to leave back to Austraillia, and they came to me and said “Hey Mate, we really wanna come to this place you speak so highly of”.
Many people talk, talk, talk a big game, but I tell ya, never in my life have I ever met 2 solid cats like Brett and the Lockness Monsta.
They only had like 2 weeks to go before they had to bail and winter was coming. That was no excuse, summer had come and gone and yet these 2 cunts insisted on a very late fall excursion. Not even I had been on a excursion this late in the season but hey, ya wanna go, and your showing up , then lets go boys.
Nov. 2012 The adventure begins.
After a long bumpy ride over the Highline rd, we arrived at our Cabin, traded the jeep for a quad and my Angel’s dirtbike , off we went to explore the mountains.
After a tank or 2 of gas we found ourselves stopping for piss break, perhaps it was just a snack break but while doing so, we thought we’d take a rip through the thick wooded forest, as if something was calling us, whispering our names.
We followed our instincts and came out to a place where the view took even my own breath away. There was no social media, cell phones or any of that crap back then, so one of us busted out an old camera of some sort and took ONE picture only after a long conversation about PTSD, mental health and addiction.
Still to this minute, I recall being so excited about this precise location. How it made me feel to finally be alive, it made me feel human. It made me feel I could trust these 2 blokes, it made me feel as though nothing else in my life, all the stress, anger, depression, sleepless nights, shame, and guilt that I carried for so many years at that very moment in time all went away.
Ya think I talk a lot now ? I got onto some sorta high, a vision of the future how one day.. one day this exact spot will be a place for others to adventure to, to explore, we will have a few tents over there, an outdoor kitchen here and oh wait, we will come here and clean up all the dead fall and build the sickest most badass outdoor gym ever.
Believe me, ideas were being bounced back and forth amongst us like 3 kids in a sandbox rambling away.
This my friends is how it all works. If you have ever had one of those ideas or gut feelings about something, a dream, a goal as crazy as it may seem at the time DRIVE for it, go for it and ever surrender for this is a message from your spirit whispering to you that this is why you are on this earth. This is your purpose.
The challenge is, we often get in our own way of our dream. We talk ourselves out of it, can’t afford it, going to need this, can’t do that, but but but.
Well, this is the process, so hunker down and enjoy it cause all of this is just a dream anyhow so get the hell outa your own way and jump both feet in, fail over and over and over again.
One day .. if this is truly YOUR dream it will be everything you think it will be.
I wish I could tell you in words just how good this feels to write this right now and see the dream become reality with our Campers , just as if the dream was scripted when these mountains were sculpted.
After breakfast, we headed off to meet up with my brother Nathan Adrien to teach our campers a few things about how we live here off the land.
If your not familiar with the whole story yet let me try and make it brief.
When I came off the streets from being homeless and found myself near death, a local native man named Ambie Alexander allowed me on their land to fall as many trees as I needed off his property so I could have fire wood and keep me warm. I did not have power, money nor even any food.
So, for this camp, and all future camps it is mandatory that we work closely with the local “people of the lake” and buck up at least 1 full cord of firewood to give to the elders in the community. This experience in itself is what I had to endure to begin getting my life back on track. Hard ass work just to keep warm. Fire wood is not as easy as people think. To survive, we must not rely on the switch on the wall, building our confidence by searching for the right wood, cutting it, dragging it out and then bucking it up and real hard work.
I’ll tell ya one thing for sure, this process in itself assures the human that there is no time to even tell stories, be depressed, or sad or any of the negative emotions we carry. Its game time , or ya just don’t live period.
Load up and we’re off for a 20 km backcountry off road trek to meet up with Nathan as he teaches us how “the people of the lake have lived off the land for 1000’s of years.
Load up, off for another trek to our next camp site.
We arrive and the day has only just started, now we must team up and get our camp gear, water and safety supplies up a 70 degree pitch over ice and snow. No its not easy, but neither is trying to make sense of our lives in a room diagnosed with PTSD. Your choice.
Set up your camp spot anywhere ya want, eat up, rest up call it a day cause tomorrow the real work begins.
Welcome to Day 1 at Camp My Way .. of life !
Believe in the Process Not the Product
Your Friend Our Voice
Terrance Joseph Kosikar
Thank you to all of you who donated to our Go Fund Me, our investors and all the people who have donated, sponsored in the past to help us get to where we are today to buy more gear, packs, equipment & safety communication devices.
Photos: Jillian A Brown Photography