What? At the age of 26 I will be surrendering to the unknown as I travel around the world for one year and leave behind my family/friends, job, house, and comfort zone. This blog will be the means for family/friends to follow me on my journey as I learn and grow from my experiences.
When? January 2012-December 2012
Where? Four continents and 12 + countries (New Zealand, India, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Kenya, Tanzania, Australia).
Why? In October 2009 my dad, Norman, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and he passed away in February 2010 at the age of 64. As I grieved the loss of my father, I found a new appreciation for the statements, "life is too short", and "live each day to the fullest", so I began to consider, "What do I hope to accomplish in my lifetime?" I came up with a "bucket list" which included many places I want to see and things I would like to do, ie: live with a family abroad, learn to speak Spanish, learn to surf, etc. This list is what helped me design my itinerary for my year long adventure. I hope that, on this trip, I will learn a great deal about the world and my place in it, gain a new appreciation for all the blessings in my life, and gain confidence in my ability to be an independent woman. Thanks for following me on this journey and I hope that you enjoy!
August 29th 2012
Istanbul, August 9-12 Alexis and I arrived in Istanbul a day earlier than her boyfriend, Jaren, was scheduled to be meeting us. Jaren was missing Alexis so he had decided to tour around Turkey for two weeks before returning to his teaching job in the fall. Although I was invited along, I decided to once again venture on my own and give Alexis and Jaren a chance to spend some quality time together. In order to ensure an easy, stress free adventure around Turkey I decided to book a last minute 12 day tour with Topdeck tours. My tour was not scheduled to start until the evening of Saturday, August 11 so I got to spend nearly two days touring Istanbul with Alexis and Jaren. The three of us visited the Grand Bazaar, Taksim Street, and ... read more
August 29th 2012
Rome, July 29- August 1/12 Our flight arrived in Rome early in the morning and because we were unable to check into our hostel, we dropped off our bags, and hit the ground running to see as many touristy spots as we could fit in on our first day. As it turned out, their are no entrance fees to the Vatican on the fourth Sunday of each month so we started our self-guided walking tour visiting the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. The vatican museums were very impressive and had a lot of stunning paintings, tapestry, frescoes, and sculptures, however, we required some patience while battling the large crowds in the extreme heat. After nearly two hours of wandering we couldn't wait to see the Sistine Chapel, check out the famous works of Michelangelo and get ... read more
August 23rd 2012
July 15-18-Amsterdam, Netherlands During our first morning in Amsterdam, Alexis and I took a stroll through a park nearby our hotel. We could not believe how many people were taking advantage of the beautiful morning. Our first impression of the people of Amsterdam was, “Wow, these people are really active”. There were runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers, dog walkers, baby carriage pushers, and even people doing step ups on the park benches. The park was packed with attractive, fit people, creating an excellent environment to meet others with similar interests. I could definitely get motivated to work out every day if I lived near this park. Bicycle lanes run parallel to all of the streets in Amsterdam which makes bicycles a very popular mode of transportation. Tourists beware! Cyclists are on a mission and it may be necessary ... read more
July 15th 2012
London, England- June 23-26 Tired and jetlagged, miraculously Alexis and I managed to find our hostel in London with little effort. The directions given to us by the man at the train station could have been disastrous but, in this case, worked out perfectly. After checking in, we decided to have a nap as we had very little sleep the night before and, although it was 1:00 pm in London, it was still only 6:00 am Canadian time. We did wander the city in the evening and stopped at a restaurant called Shakespeare for a snack, drink, and some great live music. Although it may seem unfathomable, I must admit that I got us lost on the way back to the hostel that evening and I am predicting that Alexis will be bragging for years to ... read more
June 21st 2012
During the planning stages of my trip I realized that I could not travel for an entire year without returning home for a “break” as I am very family oriented and knew that homesickness would be inevitable. The fact that my sister would be graduating from the college of Dentistry in June gave me the perfect excuse to return home at what just happened to be the "halfway point". I spontaneously changed my original flight date of May 30/12 to May 23/12 so that I could return home a week early. I was feeling tired and had lost my energy to keep moving forward. It takes a lot of effort to keep motivated and continue moving to different places, saying goodbye to old friends, and trying to meet new friends. I was finished. My mind kept ... read more
May 23rd 2012
Sorry for the late entry. Grab a cup of tea and a comfy chair for this read, it's a long one. Rio Dulce, Guatemala (April 29/12) I spent the day and evening in Gautemala City with my friends Alejita, Pablo, Alan, Mario and Nathaly before venturing out on my own once again. Pablo offered me a place to stay for the night and then drove me to the bus station for my early morning ride to Rio Dulce. Rio Dulce is at the edge of a lake (Lago de Izabul) and is considered one of the safest places on the Western Caribbean Coast to dock boats during hurricane season. Upon arrival in Rio Dulce I was approached by the typical salesman trying to convince me to go to one of the hostels that he gets commission ... read more
April 30th 2012
I arrived in Antigua on March 31/11 and was dropped off at the home of my host family. I was given a quick tour of the house (very nice) and an introduction to my new family. The women of the house are Connie and her two daughters, Cookie and Teresa. The men of the house are Teresa’s husband, Jorge, and two of their sons, Alex (21) and Jose (16). Two other students are also staying at the house; Mimi is from Slovenia and Nadine is from Holland (Sigrid, from Germany, came halfway through following Nadine's departure). Antigua is such a beautiful city. Obviously I noticed right away how clean and fresh it was. The city consists of brightly painted colonial style buildings complete with terracotta roofs and cobblestone streets. The city is surrounded by three tree ... read more
April 18th 2012
I arrived at my home stay in Antigua, Gautemala late on Saturday evening after 30 + hours of travel time and reliving a total of 12 hours on March 31/12 so that I could return to the same time zone as my family/friends back in Canada. Needless to say, I was exhausted and went straight to bed. I arranged to come to Antigua to take Spanish classes and to live with a host family but I never paid particular attention to what time of year I would be in Antigua and could never have imagined how perfect my timing would be. I had booked my trip to Guatemala on the most popular and celebrated week of the year, arriving just on time for what is called Semana Santa (Holy week). The city was overflowing with thousands ... read more
April 9th 2012
I returned to Faridabad for a few days before continuing on to the next destination of my journey- Guatemala. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief once I arrived back at my “home away from home”. How comforting it is to walk around a familiar community, stay in a familiar house, sleep in a familiar bed, and have the company of familiar people. It really is the best feeling (and many of us take it for granted)! Natalie, Heather, John, and I have lived together in close quarters for nearly eight weeks and have grown to be like a family. Of course we have not seen eye to eye on all matters and we have likely gotten on each other’s nerves once in a while but those moments have been far outweighed by much fun and ... read more
March 30th 2012
Heather, Natalie and I decided it was time to explore some more of India and we figured why not head to Jaipur for the Elephant Festival and Holi Festival. In order to accommodate the festivals, I left the volunteer project nearly a week early and have arranged to return at the end of the month before leaving the country. Jaipur (March 6-11) The girls and I spent a total of five days in Jaipur. On day two, we went to the Elephant Festival. The festival consisted of a parade of exquisitely painted elephants adorned with brightly colored scarves/fabrics hanging from their husks and pierced ears, large bangles around their ankles, beautiful headdresses and intricate quilts draped over their backs. There were six elaborately decorated elephants competing for best dressed while others were available for elephant rides. ... read more