In this new feature on STW we are going to introduce you to Cast Members, past, present, and future. Many of them call Disney World home for a short, but incredibly influential time. Their time here becomes a catalyst for future adventure. It’s likely that you’ve walked beside somebody who operated a ride, served a table, or cleaned a walk-way in the Happiest Place on Earth. They carry with them the wonder of Disney World as they extend to the far reaches of the Earth. They are the people who made the magic happen for you, the guest. And now they seek their own brand of magic.
We are pleased, and honored to introduce Michael Faulkes to the STW family. Mike worked a number of roles at WDW all within the Canadian Pavilion at Epcot. He calls Nova Scotia, Canada home. Here is his story -
We need to know who we are and if we have what it takes. What do we do now with the ultimate question? Where do we go to find an answer?
-John Eldredge, Wild at Heart
I picked up Wild at Heart while sipping a coffee at a nearby book store, only weeks away from a brand new adventure. Hamilton, Ontario had been home for a mere 9 months – but the call from Canada’s East Coast couldn’t be ignored.
My name is Michael Faulkes and I am 24 years old. I come from one of the most beautiful places in the world – British Columbia. As much as I loved it there, it came to a point in my life where I knew there was much more of the world to see. Especially my backyard – Canada.
I had been a Walt Disney World Cast Member for a year. After my time at the Happiest Place on Earth, an opportunity to move from B.C. – via Orlando – to Hamilton arose.
In truth, I am not sure why I felt compelled to transition to Ontario. After spending close to 2 years away from home, that homesick feeling was replaced with an urge to see more and continue my adventures.
Long story short, Ontario was nothing like what I was used to, and not in a good way. Now I am not writing this to bash Ontario. Ontario is beautiful and has some amazing people. In no way do I regret the time that I spent there. However being a full-blooded B.C. boy there is something that was missing in the Ontario ‘attitude’. I was working myself to death. Two different jobs; 60-80 hours a week. I had purchased a beautiful black Jeep which placed me quickly into debt.
I needed something new. I wanted to move somewhere and work only one job. Focus more on my own personal growth rather than money. An opportunity came up for me to move out east to Nova Scotia with a great friend that I had made at Disney. I was scared to leave the financial security of Ontario, having no job lined up in Nova Scotia. After some serious thinking I decided that it was time to take a huge risk and just go for it. The day finally came, I had finished my last shifts at both my jobs, and was ready to take on the road. I remember waking up early to set out for Ottawa. The first day of my road trip. An incredible feeling came over me when I closed the door of my Jeep. It was just me, and the road. I was cruising off into the unknown. There is something about this, something was set free that morning, and I felt like a true man. I had no ties set in Hamilton, It was an intense sense of freedom.
And then I was here. Canada’s East Coast. There are many reasons why it’s absolutely incredible out here, let’s start with the first, which is arguably my favorite: It’s GORGEOUS – the landscape, the nature, the water, the buildings, it’s so unique and so stunning. You don’t have to take my word for it I’ll show ya! The first part of the East coast I arrived at was New Brunswick, the drive was absolutely gorgeous, trees all around full and green, the sun was shining the air was fresh and I was on my way to go check out the famous “Hopewell Rocks”. They are located on the Bay of Fundy, and they are absolutely breathtaking. They are home to the highest tide in the world, however when that tide is low, it’s low enough that you can go down and walk it and see all the massive rocks, which is what I did. Literally within 8 hours the water becomes so high you’ll get swept away and drown.
I moved on to Prince Edward Island, the smallest province in Canada. My expectations of it were low. Happily, I was wrong. P.E.I. in the summertime could be the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It’s small, you can literally drive across it in about an hour. But my goodness it was beyond beautiful. Life is simple, and very friendly there. The beaches are made of red clay. I camped there in a little campsite in Cavendish and had a wonderful weekend. My heart thirsty for adventure, was being overfed with the complete simple beauty of PEI. Pretty much all of the shops close around 5pm In P.E.I. it’s crazy!
I have now been stationed in Halifax for over a month and I absolutely love it. It has a very similar feel to B.C. Maybe that’s why I feel so at home here. There is something about being near the ocean. It grounds you, and it infects your whole soul. You’re constantly reminded that there is more to life than you, and there is something out there much bigger than yourself. Halifax is amazing. It’s got that small town feel, while still being a really unique awesome city. When you walk downtown you’ll notice that almost every restaurant and bar is totally original, there are hardly any big chain restaurants.
There is a plethora of bars downtown, I’ve heard that Halifax has the most bars per capita in the world; I’m not sure how to prove if this is true or not, but regardless there is a massive amount of bars. I personally am not huge into the party scene but I really enjoy the bar atmosphere down here as almost everywhere you go you’ll find live music playing classic hits, as well as some east coast classics, I am a huge fan of this.
Just this weekend I took a trip out to Peggy’s Cove to check out the world-famous lighthouse there. It was truly phenomenal, the weather was great and I had never really seen anything like it. One thing I noticed out there was that the colors of the houses are all different. Red, blue, green, purple, yellow - it really makes for a cool looking little town. I was told by a colleague that families used to color code their houses for the purpose of reference points, before addresses and numbers and all that were around. I still have much to see and haven’t even gotten to Newfoundland yet but I thought I’d share with you everything I have seen so far.
Taking the risk to come out here on a whim with no job and have the road trip of a lifetime has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
“Deep in man’s heart are some fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table. Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for? It is fear that keeps a man at home where things are neat and orderly and under his control. But the answers to his deepest questions are not to be found on television or in the refrigerator.”
-John Eldredge, Wild at Heart.
My advice to you is to take trips, go travel. See Canada. There is a ton to see e in the world but you will truly be enriched in your Canadian travels. I can guarantee that. If you ever have the opportunity to get out here it’ll be something you would never regret, and it would be an awful shame to never have seen any of these amazing Provinces. That adventure spirit is inside all of us, especially you men, so put on your boots, take a step and experience the amazing taste of the great unknown!
Thanks for taking the time to read this.