November’s Financial Literacy Month, and it gives us a real opportunity to take a look at our books and what we’re trying to do with our resources at hand. School. Kids. A new home or retirement—goals quickly become pipe dreams if we don’t know how to plan for our success.
Take a moment and ask yourself just how much you know about your finances. Are you choosing the right investments? Making the right moves today for a better tomorrow? The sad truth is far too few Canadians are well-versed in financial matters, and in an age where Canadians are continuously borrowing significantly more than they’re earning, that makes for one huge problem! It makes us desperate. It has us believe in self-proclaimed financial gurus who lead us astray. We have to do better if we ever want to get out of the hole we’re in.
War isn’t something I’m familiar with. I have a veteran cousin and friends who’ve served, but all I know about service comes from the media. From whatever I hear on the radio. I can’t even begin to appreciate combat and the issues that come with it!
But sadly… far too many can.
We have over 100,000 military personnel in Canada, 2.4 million in the States, and countless family, friends and others supporting them. That’s countless people working through the repercussions of horrific experiences, surrounded by a world that doesn’t know or appreciate the difficulties Veterans face. It can be isolating—military life values pride, strength and being tougher than anyone else around you, so when invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse wreak havoc on military families, how do you learn to feel okay going in the opposite direction?
It’s questions like this where symposiums like True Patriot Love find their strength. In an environment where a stiff upper lip’s the norm, it made talking about the struggles often hidden behind closed doors acceptable with the hopes that one day we’ll reach the point where these issues become part of everyday military conversation.
When most Torontonians think of Mexico, they dream up sandy beaches. Swim-up bars. Just about every stereotype possible! It’s a Mexico that’s Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera, coastline paradises supplying your every want and need. But what they don’t see is the rest of the country, where 99% of its people live lives more concerned with putting food on the table than they are that your cocktail’s lacking in tequila. That, my friends, is the real Mexico—and it’s in this Mexico that nearly 300 fútbol players competed to see who’d come out on top not only in their countries but all of Central and North America, as well as the Caribbean, too!
Friends, I present to you—the third annual Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Under-13 fútbol tournament (SCCLU13). Please fasten your seatbelts!
Toluca, Mexico — Because There IS Life Outside of Mexico City!
An hour west of the very populous Mexico City (with an estimated 30 million people living in the area) lies the industrial city Toluca, which I don’t imagine many of you would visit unless you had a reason to be there. A town of 800,000 found 2600 metres above sea level, Toluca’s prone to altitudinal challenges, fluctuating temperatures, and a strong curiosity about tourists (locals asked to take photos with me five times in the four days I was there!)
While I didn’t have the time to catch the city’s sights, I soaked the city in as we drove through it, immediately noting the differences between the “normal” there from the one I knew back home in Toronto! Like the food and drink offered to you instead of squeegees at red lights. Or starting dinner at a time where many Canadians are heading to bed. With a vibe and identity all of its own, Toluca made for an interesting proving ground for young men from ten different countries. One providing a unique opportunity—to become part of the youngest age group ever to compete in an official CONCACAF event!
It’s hard to believe that when this all started years ago, it was little more than an idea. I’d blogged on different platforms ’til then, never shying away from sharing my honest feelings, but things have come a long way from having somewhere to share my thoughts with my digital friends.
These last seven years have taught me plenty, pushed my boundaries, and demanded more of me as the brand grew. I’ve become a father. I’ve found my voice. If you’d told me how much work was ahead for me back in late 2010 when I’d first bought this domain, not knowing what to do with it… I’m not convinced I’d have the strength to make it as far as I have today. There were times I doubted myself. Times where it felt like I was screaming into the abyss, my efforts seemingly doing little to grow my brand as my peers did things that were cooler, louder and more colourful. I’ll admit it—I had moments where I wondered how much I still had in me.
But just as the future’s a mystery, you never quite know what’s around the corner, so it’s important you keep pressing forward—especially when you don’t feel like it—because you never know when someone might come along with an offer you simply cannot refuse!
And all this is my roundabout way to announce I’ve signed a one-year deal with Scotiabank to serve as one of their two Scotiabank Ambassadors nationwide (so far), stomping out new ground where the only other footsteps have trod are Amber Mac’s!
And my first assignment as a Scotia Ambassador? To spend some time in Toluca, Mexico with some Scotiabank delegates for the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League U-13, covering a fútbol tournament for players 13 and under across North and Central America and the Caribbean, this year including none other than the Toronto FC! You’ll see plenty of content from me as I get to know Toluca and spend time with the teams, so keep your eyes peeled for it! They even put me in the press release!
Life as a Scotiabank Ambassador — Changing the Future I See for Myself!
I say it every day—I feel entirely blessed for the life I get to live and accept everything I get humbly. But it’s also taught me a lot—most notably the value of hard work—and I’m glad that as they get older, I can show my boys what happened when their Dad pursued his passion, even when it felt like his uphill climb wasn’t taking him anywhere.
There’s been no end to the changes I’ve seen over the years—new social media algorithms. New faces at events. Higher stakes. More hours put into the work. But through it all, it’s taken me here, and this is just the beginning of a new chapter—I’ll probably have an entirely new story to tell seven years from now.
And this is only the beginning…
So that’s me right now, leaping into a future of new possibilities. With a sponsorship of this magnitude, I can finally afford something I’ve wanted for quite a while now—the time to do this brand justice. It affords me the flexibility to say “no” to campaigns that grow increasingly complex, with more of my time spent on administration than it is creating great content. It gives me time to explore other mediums, like the videos I never record or the lists of infographics that never make it past planning. Overall, it just let me be me without constantly trying to meet someone else’s agenda, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I started this in the first place.
So thank you one and all for your support so far—I hope you’ll continue doing so as we discover what happens in this new chapter!
Until the next, I remain,
Disclaimer: This post was my first entry as a Scotiabank Ambassador, a program that compensates for my thoughts and content with a stipend, unique opportunities, and exclusive access to Scotiabank staff and affiliations. I have a good feeling that it’s going to be a great year ahead!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: