About Me

The History of My Travel Addiction

"There was once a man who became unstuck in the world – he took the wind for a map,                               he took the sky for a clock, and he set off with no destination. He was never lost"

    Replace "man" with "Canadian twenty-something woman" and you have a picture of me. I love to travel. I feel like my life revolves around the need to see as much of the world as possible. The destination doesn't matter, as long as I'm travelling and experiencing something new.

   I was raised in southern British Columbia, Canada, and didn't leave my little corner of North America until I was 19. At that point I'd only been as far as neighbouring Alberta and Washington, but in 2005 the opportunity to take a month-long university trip to Spain came up and I just couldn't say no. Best decision I've ever made. It was my first time on a plane, and the first flight alone was ten hours long. But let me tell you, the feeling in my stomach as that first plane lifted off is something I'll never forget. And it's something I'll never tire of.

A typical afternoon spent drinking sangria with the other students in Spain

    A few weeks after I returned from Spain I spent my 20th birthday in Las Vegas (lucky me I have older friends to buy me drinks and I'm not much of a gambler), a tradition I was happy to continue for the next five years.
Hanging out with Hef in the Playboy mansion (ie Madame Tussaud's in Vegas) 
       By choosing a degree in Geography and International Studies I had plenty of opportunity to travel during my years in university. In addition to the Spain trip, I went to Hawaii, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks (Wyoming/Montana), and Mexico before I graduated in 2008, completing more travel study tours than any other student in the history of the geography department.

-see pyramids are made of rocks, and they were deposited by glaciation 
-ohh so that's how it works. But Charlie said the aliens built them
(Geography humour at Palenque, Mexico)
     Upon graduation a couple girlfriends and I decided we needed to try the backpacking thing, and in the fall of 2008 we set off for South East Asia. We spent two months exploring Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, with a day trip into Laos. I'd never experienced such freedom. The ability to go where I wanted, when I wanted, with no idea of what the next day would bring was pure heaven to me. I knew this was the life for me.

Hanging out with some of the youngest members of the Karen tribe in northern Thailand
     Just over a year later I set off on my next big backpacking trip, this time to South America. My friend Ashley and I flew into Uruguay, and finding it too expensive and not very entertaining (no offence to Uruguay) we quickly moved on to Buenos Aires, Argentina. An acquaintance from home met us there and I ended up travelling with him for the rest of the trip as Ashley got homesick and realized backpacking was not for her. What I realized was how much I preferred solo travel, as my new travelling companion and I didn't get along 80% of the time. Nonetheless we travelled together through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. The other backpackers we met and travelled with along the way probably kept us from killing each other, and we managed to have a million amazing experiences. We saw Iguazu Falls, 4x4'd across the Salar de Uyuni, blew up dynamite in a Bolivian silver mine, mountain biked down the Death Road, went sandboarding on dunes, flew a tiny plane over the Nazca lines, and I did the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. What an amazing trip.

About to enter a silver mine in Potosi, Bolivia
      That year I also did some travelling within Canada. I went to Toronto in the dead of winter to be the maid of honour in my friend's wedding, and while there we made a trip to Niagara Falls. I don't handle cold very well but I must say the falls are pretty when they're nearly frozen. In the summer I did a road trip to Calgary for the Stampede (deep fried jellybeans are a must try), and then an even longer road trip from BC through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to attend my cousin's wedding. The winter after that I took my first beach vacation to Negril, Jamaica with six friends (not at an all-inclusive, mind you, but at a lovely little row of budget bungalows on the beach).

Oh, Canada!

        A couple of months after the Jamaica trip I set off for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where I was an intern at a women's rights organization. I figured I should do some good in the world rather than spending my life as a dirty backpacker (as much as I love that life). I spent three months as an intern as well as spending time with the kids at a children's home outside the city. I also had the opportunity to indulge my passion for tourism and work on the city's tourism website. After my internship I spent a month exploring Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia. I went on safari in the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater, spent a weekend in Zanzibar, and got back to my dirty backpacker roots bussing on my own from Nairobi, to Mombasa, Lamu, Victoria Falls and everywhere in between. I truly fell in love with Africa on this trip, and I actually cried as the plane taking me home took off.

Learning how to dance in Tanzania
     When I got home from Africa I realized this travelling addiction was getting expensive, so why not get paid to travel? Through my time spent at the children's home in Tanzania I also realized how much I enjoy working with kids, so I applied to be a youth counsellor on cruise ships. I have now been a seasonal youth counsellor on a major cruise line since March 2012, working during peak season (spring break, summer, etc). My first contract was in the Caribbean departing from Florida. I made stops in the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks & Caicos. My next contract was three months spent cruising between Seattle and Alaska (cold but beautiful). I'm hoping the next contract takes me a little further from home.

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska

     In another endeavour to get paid while travelling, I will be teaching English in Seoul, South Korea in January. I have never taught English before, but it's only a two week English camp so we'll see how it goes. Who knows, maybe this will be a recurring thing.
After that I will be heading back to Tanzania (yay!) where I will be interning again.

      This urge to travel only gets worse the more I indulge it, and I can see that I shall be doing this the rest of life. If you are a traveller just starting out and you are anything like me, be warned: you are going to devote all of your time, energy and money to this new addiction, and you are going to love every minute of it

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