Profile of a voluntarily homeless jazz student

“I started doing it last summer, and it was about two months into the summer when it dawned on me that, technically, I was homeless,” says Capilano student Ryan Leacy.

Leacy, better known on campus by the name Flyry, or Flyryroo, is not a Vancouver native. “As I love to put it, in this life, the body is from Ontario,” he says. Orignally a marketing grad, he switched to philosophy before ending a nine-year hiatus from music, and came to Cap to pursue his true calling of music. Now a member of the Jazz program, Flyry lives in his van on campus, eating, sleeping, and washing at Capilano.

Unlike many people facing homelessness, Flyry actually chose to be so, mainly due to personal beliefs. “The primary one is a freedom from materialism,” he says. “It’s one of the freedoms I experience in my life. Likewise, a refinement of self-understanding and perspective.”

His perspective is a valuable one on homeless conditions, especially with Five Days for the Homeless recently taking place at Capilano, a fundraiser for homelessness where students lived on campus, mimicking homeless conditions.

“I was aware of [Five Days for the Homeless] after the fact last year. Seeing [it] coming up I reflect on it a different way at this point now that I’ve been living the way that I have been. It’s given me a greater compassion for people living in the street. [For me] it’s still a rugged way to live at present, though it’s still profoundly more comfortable than [homeless living].”

Five Days for the Homeless seeks to raise awareness of homelessness and also change the perception of people living on the streets, something that Flyry himself has dealt with.

“95 out of 100 days stuff doesn’t come up, but there have been a few incidents,” he reports. “Mid-summer a [staff member] saw me washing up in [the bathroom]. He thought I was some kind of vagrant ... he was just overly paranoid. I’d been doing it for months and no one had issue, but he had issue.” Flyry says it was because the man thought he “was a street person.”

This raises an important point on discrimination; one that Flyry says was based on his “shaggy appearance.” Flyry mentions that if not for his appearance, there would not have been a problem, as people use the bathroom for washing up regularly. The problem was simply because the staff member perceived him to be a vagrant.

“If I had biked here for the day and was washing up, it wouldn’t be a problem. Regardless whether I live on the street or live at home, a bathroom is a private place. I wasn’t swabbing up at a drinking fountain in the hallway. In public places we do see people getting changed. We expose our genitalia in the bathroom. I just had my shirt off. He thought I was a street person.”

Flyry’s self-development does not simply end with his “freedom from materialism” but extends in several directions. Says Flyry: “It’s all synergizing, it’s coming together now. That being the background, the marketing, the philosophy, self-reflection and an element of new age ... and listening to a lot of Coast to Coast AM.” 

Flyry hopes to find others who share an interest in his convictions. “Any graduating students this year, that would consider themselves to have strong positive beliefs about 2012, and a belief that Illuminati on this planet have perpetuated a mind control, that we are now breaking through - and if they’ve listened to Coast to Coast AM that’s a bonus - then contact me at”

// Mac Fairbairn
sports editor

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