For the perfect flâneur, the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite.
I’ve had a wonderful working life. After graduating from university in the 70s, I worked as a filmmaker/photographer in Toronto. The 80s recession were hard times, so I changed gears and did a whole slew of things to make a living and caught the travel bug: I went to Paris and got a job making tofu in a Japanese macrobiotic restaurant. In addition, I worked at the Canadian Cultural Centre in the art department, hanging exhibits and occasionally serving Veuve Cliquot at monthly vernissages.
I returned to Canada in the mid-80s and got a job as a host at the World’s Fair in Vancouver, where I met people from around the world. Such a great experience. When the world’s fair ended, I travelled across Mexico by bus drawing postcards, exhibiting and selling them. But by the end of the 80s, I was tired of irregular hours and not having a steady income, so I went to McGill University in Montréal and earned a teaching degree and headed to Tokyo to teach English. It was the height of the bubble economy and lots of fun to be there. I spent seven years in total in Japan teaching in tertiary education, four of those years I was a program supervisor. In the late-90s, I returned to the University of Toronto and enrolled in a doctorate program in curriculum studies. I held many roles in various countries for the next 14 years: I co-wrote an EFL textbook and edited publications for a variety of publishers and academic journals, wrote test items and designed language tests in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong. I taught a masters program in teacher training in Thailand and finally finished my career as an instructional resource developer in Qatar. I retired in 2012 (age 56) and have been traveling the world ever since.
Outside of the working life, I took time off from about 1997-99 to learn vipassana meditation in the Thai Forest Tradition (Ajahn Buddhadhasa). I spent several months going back and forth from my job working in Bangkok to the forest for instruction, until around 2005, when I decided just to spend a prolonged period of time practicing with a monk in the forest- just him and I for long stretches alone. It was useful training. Undoubtedly, it was my time practising meditation in the forest which influenced my decision to drop out and take up the the life of a flâneur.