Everyone please help me wish my big brother Ammon a wonderful 36th birthday!!! Have I ever told you about this absurdly cool dude? Well, if you don’t know, Ammon rhymes with salmon, and he is one of the big stars of my “Sihpromatum” travel memoir series. Though I sometimes give him a hard time and a bad reputation in the books, you have to remember that’s coming from an angry 14 year old’s perspective. In reality, he is one of the most supportive, encouraging, important men in my life. And also the smartest. Ammon recently moved up north from Vancouver to Prince George, Canada for his Air Traffic Controlling career. He and his beautiful, young girlfriend Sasha moved in together a couple years ago and are still madly in love, going on camping trips to Banff and around Canada whenever they can.
I have so much to thank Ammon for. Now that I am 25, the same age he was when Mom suggested/asked him to lead our family around the world (for four years!!), I have a completely different view on the whole thing. At the time, when I was just 14, he seemed so big and so mature. Trying to picture myself accepting such an undertaking now is almost unimaginable and I have more respect for him than ever before. Wow. He absolutely WOWs me and I couldn’t be prouder. But I suppose when you are as genius as Ammon, things are much easier than they are for the normal person like you and me.
As a small child Ammon could read before most could even count. Great, right? Well, no. Being born with such talents and gifts can also be a burden. Because Ammon was quickly boosted ahead in his school, he was often bullied for being the youngest and smartest. Despite the struggles he faced, having to put up with verbal and physical abuse from his peers, he blocked them out and continued to succeed. By the ripe age of 15 he worked full-time as a chef, capable of running our uncle’s restaurant. On his 16th birthday he started his accelerated free fall sky diving course and passed with the least amount of required jumps. Age 18 he graduated from correspondence high school and went on to study bio-chemistry for 7 solid years with a full scholarship, while working as a teaching assistant in Simon Fraser University and tour guiding and driving buses for our family business. Consistently at the top of his classes, most would expect certain things from such a 25 year old, but just before completing his second degree our family decided to travel the world. Leaving many in shock, he took off and didn’t come back for 7 years! He was often criticized for “running away from responsibilities” and “wasting his brains and degree”. The expectations and pressure that he should “have a job”, “get married”, “start a family”, “have a mortgage”, was the adult version of his bullies come to haunt him. Yet again, Ammon continued on his own path of following his dreams. To him, being warmly welcomed by locals and having friends in 128 countries, that will happily invite him back any day, was worth more than all of that combined.
In his 7 years abroad he became a dive master and assistant life support technician for deep sea divers, trekked high and low from Mt. Everest to the Dead Sea, ventured over the Khyber pass by armed escort, enjoyed the white sands of The Maldives, explored Sudanese Pyramids, African jungles, diamond fields of Sierra Leone, rode into the Sahara Desert by camelback, challenged Ethiopian hyenas and retraced the steps of ancient Silk Road traders.
He returned to Vancouver, Canada with more money in the bank than he left with, yet owned little more than dirty shoes and a beat up backpack. Continue Reading
Family is the absolute most important thing in my life, and should be in yours. Don’t forget to love them and tell them how much you appreciate them. For some reason it’s always the ones you love most and keep the closest that get crushed under the avalanche of emotions, and burned in the heat of our rages. Ironically, that is because we love them and trust them the most. To all of you who know you’ve done this too, remember to say sorry, don’t take things personally, and always stand by your loved ones, ESPECIALLY during those terrible lows when you hate them the most.
You can get to know Ammon a little bit better by watching this short 2:45 clip. This was made a few years ago when he and Bree were auditioning for Amazing Race Canada. In my opinion, they were over qualified! This video was put together, scripted and created by Breanna Watkins and Donavin Kuhl.
Categories: Savannah Grace