It’s been a whirlwind but the odyssey that has been Jaeger Mah’s life at YVR for 80 days is finally over.
“It’s been a crazy but an awesome experience,” Mah said from Vancouver. “But I feel like ‘What the hell am I supposed to do now?’”
In August, the Vancouver Airport Authority announced Mah as the winner of its Live@YVR contest. His assignment was to spend 80 days at YVR finding stories and shooting short documentary films about them.
“The lead up to the contest felt like a presidential campaign and every day was like an endurance run,” Mah said.
“Now it’s all over and I have to look for work, so I’m like ‘Holy crap.’”
Mah’s last day on the project was no different than his first.
“I was up until 4 a.m. editing video and getting it done,” he said.
“Then I was up at 6 a.m. and had a full day of media interviews to do.”
Mah had just finished speaking to Bro Jake of Rock 101 FM, he said.
He left his palatial, housekept room at the Fairmont Hotel back to the sparse existence of his modest suite.
“My first day back home I noticed the difference between the showers,” Mah said.
“The Fairmont’s had this beautiful nozzle that sprayed instant hot water and mine is this piddly water conserving nozzle that dribbles water out.”
Only one experience left a bad taste in his mouth — literally. “I just got sick of eating junk food and all I want is salad now.”
Mah says he’ll miss the randomness of doing something different every day.
He remembers distinctly searching for debris on the runway to clear and finding a piece of metal that came off a baggage cart.
The biggest challenge, he said, was getting to the nub of stories and then finding a way to tell them. That, “And learning about all the aviation acronyms; you’ve got to know how to convey them for the story to be legit.”
He’d think about Alberni from time to time, recognizing names from home on his Facebook group and blog, he said.
And his boyhood friend — Dallas Dalziel — came to visit with Mah’s favourite staple: doughnuts from the Donut Shop at Harbour Quay.
Mah is back to life as a small business owner and although he struggled before he likely won’t now.
He’s had a few job offers, including one media job on the Island.
“I haven’t had any reality show offers yet,” Mah said.
The idea of social media intrigues Mah. He started a Facebook page and Twittered his experiences when he commenced the 80-day video project, and his page membership swelled to 4,000 members internationally when he was done.
He wants to take a shot at the social media project Port Alberni announced last month and is waiting for the RFP to be released, he said.
Mah referred to himself as the ‘Anderson Cooper of YVR’ when he started but the roles are reversed. “Anderson Cooper is the Jaeger Mah of CNN now, for sure,” he chided.