Wednesday, December 29, 2010

why i AM lucky

                   My last post was about how luck has nothing to do with the choice to travel. It has everything to do with having some balls and just doing it. You can check out that post here.

Now I am going to tell you why I AM lucky.

I am lucky to have a job that will take me back every summer, and allow me to travel all winter. If this were not the case, I would find another job. But I am lucky to have a job that allows me this freedom.

I am lucky to be healthy. I am young(ish), active and in fine health. This allows me to be adventurous, try anything, walk everywhere with a heavy backpack and go anywhere. I can travel off the beaten path where the beds aren’t so nice, the water not so clean and danger could lurk around any corner. I can climb a mountain, jump out of a plane, explore the depths of the ocean, run, walk, cartwheel and explore anything this world has to offer. I am grateful to be healthy, and do realize that maybe one day I will get old and this type of travel may no longer be an option. This is why I will do all that I can, while I can. I am not looking forward to ever be on a seniors tour bus. I am lucky I plan on staying 25 for life.

I am lucky to have such great friends at home. I may be gone for months or years at a time, with only short visits home, but when I am here I know I have some of the best friends in the world waiting to hear about the latest adventure. Although our lives are on very different paths, when I am at home I fit right back into the group. They support me and my lifestyle and are the first ones to reassure me of my life choices when the pressure to have a “regular” life is mounting. No matter where I am or how long I am gone, I am lucky to know that my best friends are thinking of me, waiting for me to come back and wishing me well all along the way.

I am lucky to have an amazing travel partner. Few people manage to find a friend to travel the world with for years and years. Our friendship becomes stronger with every continent we conquer. We fill in the gaps of each other’s personality. I cook, she cleans. I research places, she makes them happen. I get lost, she reads the map. I find the cheap deals, she books them. Together we are an amazing team. We never fight, and almost always have the same ideas about where we want to go, what we want to see and what we want to do. A great travel partner is rare, and I am luck to have the best one ever!

I am lucky to have a great family. When I am home, we have huge family dinners and everyone is excited to hear about my latest adventure. They cook my favourite foods, and listen as I describe the next adventure I have planned. You can’t pick your family, and I am lucky to be stuck with the one I have.

I am lucky to have great parents. Although I am sure they are still waiting for me to “grow up”, they have stopped asking me about it. I know they will never turn my bedroom into an office or a storage room. They will take me back home anytime I want, whether it is for the weekend or a couple of months. My Mom takes me shopping when I am home and buys me all kinds of things while I save my money for the next adventure. My Dad puts money in my account whenever I casually mention that I am poor or am surviving on only 10 euros a week. When I only have a ticket half way home and my credit card is more than maxed out, I know I can count on them to get me the rest of the way home. My mom always has my favourite foods cooking when I get home, as she knows it has probably been weeks since I had a good, wholesome meal. I know I can count on them for whatever I need, if I am ever stuck in a jam on the other side of the world. I am lucky and very thankful for Mommy and Daddy.

I am not lucky to travel, that is my choice. But I am lucky in a million other ways

Join me as I TRAVEL MY LIFE AWAY…..with departure less than 3 days away!!!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I hear it again and again and again. “I wish I could do what you are doing”. “You are so lucky to be able to travel”. “You are so lucky to have seen so much of the world”. “You are so luck to have no commitments and so much freedom”.
So many people hear my story and tell me how lucky I am. I don’t really see it that way. Don't get me wrong, I am lucky in many ways, but being able to travel is not one of them.

The ability to travel the world is not luck or about wishing. It is about having the guts to do it. I am just like anyone else in the world. I am able to travel as much as I do because I CHOOSE to. It has nothing to do with luck. It has everything to do with having some balls, and just going. Anyone can buy a backpack and a plane ticket. That is all that you need!! Unless you have a criminal record, you are free to see the world. Any other limitations you set upon yourself. Everyone can get out of whatever “commitments” are holding them back. Partners will probably still be there when you get back, or they can come too. Rent your house out for a year, and have someone else pay the bills while you are gone. Quit your job…you probably don‘t love it anyway…. and why do something everyday if you don’t love it? Plus, you can always find another job. The new skills and experiences you gain while away will help you find an even better job. People always have an excuse, but they are just that - excuses.

Although I know people mean it as a compliment when they tell me how lucky I am to be able to travel, but it seems to accredit luck, rather than the choices I have made in my life. I do not come from a family of money who funds my trips around the world. I never travelled overseas as a child. I have yet to win the lottery. I have just made choices and sacrifices in my life that allow me to travel. Once upon a time I was just like everyone else. I had an education, a job, a serious relationship, bills, and expectations. So many people get sucked into that life just because it is what they are “supposed” to do. Instead of just going along with it, I veered off course and carved out my own way along a path not travelled. I am not “lucky” to have escaped. It took guts and willpower. It was not easy. It took balls. I left behind everything I knew and set off in search of anything I didn’t know. This was a conscious choice, not luck. Of course it is easier just to surrender yourself to the typical life of career, marriage and kids, but anything worth doing is not easy. Everything I have done and seen is more than worth everything I have given up. Sure I was scared and had no idea what the future would bring, but I left the world I knew anyway. And now my life has become all about travelling, passion and living my dreams everyday.

I think it’s mostly fear that holds people back from travelling the world. It is strange and different out there. You would have to get off that comfy couch with your perfectly sunken in butt grooves. You won’t have FOX and HBO at your finger tips. Bad things could happen to you far away from home. Let me tell you that strange and different are interesting and challenging. That comfy couch is killing you and that idiot box is killing your soul. Seeing and actually experiencing the world are FAR better than watching it on television. Bad things can and will happen to you at home. And when that something bad happens to you, would you rather know you have seen and experienced some amazing things, or that your ass print is permanently embedded in that couch? Break out of your slump, stand up to fear and go experience everything the world has to offer.

Material possessions are also a huge weight. People are so tied to their “things” that they cannot imagine not having “stuff“. I promise you won’t die if you only have 3 pairs of shoes, or 1 pair of jeans, or your purse is from 3 seasons ago. Most of the stuff you think you need is really just unnecessary luxury. Stuff is just stuff and in the long run it is nothing. Things go out of style, they break, they get lost or stolen and when you die you can’t take it with you. Memories, experiences and passion can never be taken away. Clean out everything unnecessary in your life and go experience something you have always dreamed of doing.

Most people think that it takes thousands and thousands of dollars to travel. I find my expenses out on the road are less than when I am at home. I spend hours searching for the cheapest plane tickets. I stay in clean but budget hostels. I eat only when I am actually hungry, and eat cheap, fresh, local foods. I am aware of every dollar I spend. Time is usually not an issue, so I will gladly take the $25 18 hour bus ride rather than the $300 2 hour flight. I work or volunteer for room and board while I am travelling. I avoid the tourist traps, and find out where the locals go, eat and shop. I am after the experience rather than the perfect souvenir. At home I think of everything I spend money on in terms of a plane ticket or as days in another country. I am able to travel for half the year, every year, as well as chip away at my student loan and I barely make 20 g’s a year. Sell your car, rent out your house for awhile, cut your closet in half and I can guarantee you can travel the world in style for 2 years. Maybe you will find your balls in your half empty closet.

I am not lucky, I just have big balls. You probably have big balls in you somewhere. Just buy a plane ticket to wherever you have always dreamed of going. And then go. It truly is that simple. You don’t have to be lucky, you just need to go.

“I’d rather have a memory than a dream” -Samanther

Join me as I TRAVEL MY LIFE AWAY…in just 5 days another adventure begins.
Up next, the reasons why I AM lucky.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!!

With less than 3 weeks before departure and no job, I have been thinking about packing much earlier than usual. I often pack just hours before I leave and it tends to be a mess. This time I am going to be prepared. This trip also has other packing issues that I haven’t dealt with before; extreme temperatures. It will be about -5 C in Antarctica (but add in the crazy windchill it will feel much colder) and +40 C in Brazil.
I have vowed that this is going to be my lightest packing trip ever. After moving 7 times in less than 2 months in Amsterdam with a 60 lb backpack, I vowed to never pack more than I can EASILY carry again. This time all I am taking is a medium sized duffle back and a small day backpack. In order to get everything I need into that little bit of space, everything must be multi useful.

After years of travelling I have come up with a list of things that I would never ever leave home without.
Here is my list of multi functional can’t do without items:

1) A sarong

Beach towels are bulky, heavy and hold onto sand and water but you need something to lay on if there is a beach somewhere on your journey (and there always is on mine!). A thin lightweight sarong is a great substitute. You can wear it to the beach as a skirt or a dress as well as use it for a beach blanket and a towel. A sarong is also useful as a cover for your legs, shoulders or head when visiting religious venues or anywhere modesty is a virtue. A sarong can also be used as a blanket on long flights or bus trips, or can be balled up as a pillow. It can also be used to wrap up any fragile souvenirs for the journey home. A sarong bought at a destination can also be considered a souvenir!

2) Cheap, basic, unlocked cell phone

I bought mine in London for 7 GBP. It is not fancy, but it is unlocked and can be used with a sim card from anywhere in the world. Even if I don’t have a sim card in it, the clock, alarm and calculator functions still work. A cell phone gets rid of a wrist watch (often a target for pickpocket), an alarm clock (for those early morning departures), a calculator (no more botched currency conversions done in your head) and as a flashlight (for not waking the whole dorm when you stumble in at 4am). The best part, is at only around $10, I won’t be upset if I lose it or it gets stolen (can’t say that about an iPhone!).

3) Havaianas flip flops

Call them thongs, jandles or zories, there is nothing like a pair of Havaianas flip flops. You need to buy a pair to truly understand. I am not a brand shopper, and at $30 a pair, these are not cheap. But they are the best BY FAR. I don’t usually have such a strong opinion about shoes, but I will ONLY wear Havaianas. There are amazing. I cannot stress it enough…you MUST try them! I wear them everywhere and with every thing. Me and My Havis have climbed a mountain, walked 8 hours a day for 6 months selling electricity and danced in clubs until dawn. More comfortable than runners, enough support to walk me and my 50 lb pack anywhere, and fashionable enough to be worn with a cocktail dress, Havaianas are essential anywhere. Check out the best flip flops ever here:

4) Handheld Corkscrew

Well besides the obvious, this corkscrew has a lot of useful features. In addition to opening wine, it can open beer bottles and tin cans. It can also cut through tape, rope, clothes and can even be used to give yourself a little haircut (I’ve done it, but DO NOT recommend it!). A corkscrew can also be used as a weapon, if need be.
Check out the story where I was ready to use one to defend my life:

5) iPod

This is sometimes considered a luxury by true backpackers, but I think an iPod is essential. Especially with the kind of earphones that block out other noise. There is nothing worse than loud hostel roommates when you are exhausted, a crying baby on a long distance bus or a snoring seatmate on a plane. Block out those noises and zone out with whatever kind of music you are in the mood for! You can also download movies on to your iPod, which can make long distance travels fly by. Another great travelling use are language pod cast. For free you can learn another language, wherever you are! Music is also an international language, an expression of culture and some songs can bring back travel memories long after you have gone home. Swapping music with other travellers is a great way to make friends and broaden your musical horizons.

6) Quick Dry Travel Towel

Ok, so this one is not really multi functional, but it is one of the best ideas in the history of travel accessories. It weighs hardly anything and rolls up to the size of about 2 pairs of socks. Unrolled, it wraps completely around my body and leaves everything to the imagination. It will dry my whole body and my long hair, with plenty of absorbency left. It dries in minutes. If you put it away damp, it doesn’t smell funny later. Actually, I have used mine for weeks without washing, and it never smells bad. It is sturdy, no rips, tears or fraying. And did I mention it is the size of 2 pairs of socks??

From a weekend of snowboarding, to a week long family reunion to a half year trip around the world, these items will always be in my backpack.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The time I thought I was going to die in Mozambique

From December 2009
This is a true story about one of many adventurous journeys in Mozambique

They looked at us with disbelief. Every single one of them. Were we crazy? Had we gone mad? The local South Africans wondered what on earth we were thinking when we told them that we, three small Canadian girls, were headed to Mozambique with nothing but our backpacks, a bag of oatmeal and an appetite for adventure. We left our rental car at the border under a tree and the watchful eye of a man with a broom and a few chickens. We planned to travel like the locals, camp where we could and just see where our adventure would take us. A few days in, we finally got the adventure we were lusting after.

We were on an all day journey from Maputo to Chidenguele. Traveling like the locals entailed packing 27 people, 16 chickens, 142 pounds of flour and an entire flea market worth of bric-a-brac, into a 12 person van. From one van, to a boat, to another even more loaded van, we thought we were just a few hours from our destination. With the help of a local man, we had negotiated a fare that was much more than the locals paid, but guaranteed depositing us to the door of our campground.

Three hours stretched into five, adding up to over 10 hours of traveling that day. With my backpack on my lap and pins and needles in my legs I was sure we must be almost there. As the sun faded in the distance, the noisy Portuguese chatter slowly died down. No one spoke English on this bus…we spoke no Portuguese.
Now it was dark. And quite. I was sure we should have been there a long time ago. Highway signs were few and far between. Signs I did see on the road, I didn‘t see on the map. We tried asking the other passengers how much further to Chidenguele or what the next stop was. They just stared at us or shook their heads. We tried showing them the name of the town written on a piece of paper. They mumbled something in Portuguese and looked away.

Another hour passed . I had visions of being dropped off on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with lions waiting in the tall grass or being driven far far away to be harvested for my organs. I was determined to keep my fear hidden from my two friends. We should have been there hours and hours ago. Inside, I was stricken with fear and my mind was going a mile a minute. I needed to shut off my brain. I made the conscious decision to close my eyes, fall asleep and just deal with whatever was going to happen when the bus stopped.

I had just started to doze, when my friend Shani tapped me on the arm and asked, “shouldn’t we be there by now?”. I could hear the fear and uncertainty in her voice and it echoed my own thoughts exactly. As I answered, “We should have been there a long time ago”, I opened my eyes for a second.
It flashed past the side of the bus in an instant. A sign for Chidenguele!!!! We jumped into action as the bus chugged right past the turn off. Yelling, pointing and making frantic gestures we were able to communicate that we had just passed our turn. As the bus turned around, I felt the weight of my backpack dissipate and breathed a sigh relieved. Finally we were here!!!

The bus pulled up to the town. We pointed to a sign for our campground, showing it was 8 km away from where we were. The bus driver shook his head and said something we didn’t understand. After a few minutes of “discussion”, each in our respective languages, we realized that the bus driver was refusing to drive us right to the campground. He wanted us to get off the bus right there, kilometres away from the destination that we had paid a premium to get right into. In the wee hours of the morning, after the long day we had endured and the extra cash we forked over, we were not walking 8 km into the dark sand dunes with our heavy packs. We refused to get off the bus. But they had a solution to that. Passengers began to grab our gear and toss it off the bus. We had no choice but to follow our bags. The bus took off, leaving us in a cloud of sand.

As the dust settled, we took in our surroundings. The “town” consisted of 3 haphazard sheet metal buildings. One was a grocery store, one was a general store and the other was the local bar. Of course only the bar was open. Local men were outside, drinking, smoking and doing who else knows what. Within seconds, we were surrounded. Three little Caucasian Canadian girls far off the beaten tourist path in Mozambique at 3 am, just having been abandoned by a bus. We were quite a spectacle.
Thankfully, one of the men spoke a little English. He was willing to drive us to our campground…for a price. Asking 5 times what we had just paid for 7 hours on the bus for an 8 km drive, we managed to talk him down to half price. No other options meant we had to go. The driver got into the van. We got in. Then two of his friends joined us.

Three huge men fuelled by alcohol, three little girls, strong but exhausted. I was scared. We could only hope that they would deliver us to our campground in one piece. A few silently tense minutes into the drive, the men started chattering away in Portuguese. I felt uneasy. What were they saying? Were they talking about us?

Suddenly, the van began to slow down. Cranking the wheel, the driver turned off the road into a clearing surrounded by trees. My uneasiness turned to pure terror. The man in the passenger seat got out. He walked around the van and opened up the back. I could hear him rummaging around. My active imagination was running a million miles an hour again. I had visions of duct tape, rope, gags and rusty torture devices. I was positive that we were about to be raped and killed. No one would ever know what had happened to me. My body would never be found. This was the end of me. I fumbled through my bag for anything I could use as a weapon. The best I came up with was a corkscrew. The man slammed the back door shut. He walked back toward the front of the van. He paused, his face looking directly into my window.

Then he waved. And ran through the trees. I exhaled the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding and my grip loosened on the corkscrew. We were just dropping him off at home!!!!!!!!
We made it to the campground and our thirst for adventure was quenched.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


South Africa
The Netherlands

South Africa
The Netherlands

GOING (leaving in 34 days!!):

WINTER 2011 - 2012:

DREAMS (just dreams for now):
Czech Republic
New Zealand

All 7 Continents by the end of 2011...nearly accomplished
100 countries before the age of 40.…less than ¼ there
Every single country before I die…or to die trying

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Larry From Balzac and a Shiny Disco Ball

At the electricity company, business was booming. New recruits were being hired every week. Two weeks after I had started, a new girl named Laurie started. She was also Canadian, but instead of becoming fast friends, we both acted aloof toward each other. To be honest, I didn’t really like her, but had no real reason for the dislike. She was quickly becoming “one of the group” in my group of friends. Wherever I went, there she was. I had no reason to not like her, I didn’t even really know her at all. But as I sometimes am, I was a huge bitch.

I met Shani during one of our many road trips. She was beautiful, fun and very out going. We became friends right away. I didn’t even have much of a choice, she had such a dynamic personality that you were drawn to her. Shani and Laurie quickly became friends as well, so Laurie and I were “work friends” but not close at all.

One day, while on duty selling electricity, Shani, Laurie and I all had turf right beside each other. It was Saturday and I really didn’t feel like working. There was a contest that day, and whoever had the most sales would take home an iPod. I was not even close to making a grab for it. Neither was Laurie. Shani was neck and neck with another sales rep, so she was working away while Laurie and I decided we had had enough for the day.
Sitting around with someone is always better than sitting alone, so Laurie and I headed to a little café to kill some time. Over a diet coke and a brownie, she opened up. We talked about what we left at home, relationships and life philosophies. The more we talked, the more I wondered how I could have possibly not liked Laurie. She was another version of me!! We were both older than most of our Australian friends, had university degrees, had recently left long term relationships, were being out grown by our friends at home, and had no idea what we were doing with our lives. The more we talked, the more I realized just how much we had in common. I also figured out that Laurie wasn’t snobby or bitchy…she was just shy!!!

One day after being kicked out of my apartment, I asked Shani if I could stay with her for a little while. She welcomed me with open arms. She shared everything she had with me. If I was out of shampoo I knew I could use hers. I could take anything from her closet when my backpacking wardrobe did not fit the occasion. She bought me dinner when I was broke. I could not imagine how my time in Australia would have been with out Shani in my life.

I also became close with Laurie during this time. We went out on the weekends, and would often be some of the last standing at the club. Laurie was always up for more dancing, more boys and more fun.

One day, when I was just weeks away from leaving, Shani said to me, “You can’t leave!! What will I do without you?” Without even thinking, I replied, “Come to Canada! I can get you a job!”. And just like that, a couple of weeks later, Shani had a visa to work in Canada and plane ticket overseas. I was going home to work at a fishing resort that I had worked at the previous summer. It was easy to get her a job there as well, and I thought it would be a great “Canadian” experience for her to be in the beautiful woods of Northern Ontario.

Laurie was sad that we were leaving, and a few others in our group were planning on moving on from Surfers Paradise as well. Laurie was ready to move on too, but was not ready to come back to Canada. Laurie made plans to move to Brisbane shortly after Shani and I left.

Shani needed to go home to Phillip Island, just south of Melbourne before we left for Canada. She invited me to drive with her and stay with her family for a week before I flew out of Sydney. I was excited as I hadn’t been there yet, and the more places I could visit before I left, the happier I was. We had been in Phillip Island for just a few days, when Laurie called and said that Brisbane just wasn’t doing it for her and she missed us. Then she asked if I could still get her a job at the fishing resort.
That was how the three of us became travel buddies.

When the fishing season wound down, Laurie and I were on a mission to show Shani some of our home country. We spent a month and travelled to Toronto, Niagara Falls and Montreal. From there, I returned home while Shani and Laurie road tripped to the West Coast. The whole time the three of us were in Canada, we were trying to plan our next step. We knew that we wanted to keep travelling together, but didn’t have much money and didn’t know where. We looked into jobs on cruise ships, in the Cayman islands, at ski resorts and in northern Alberta. It all fell through, and I decided to keep working in Winnipeg, while Laurie and Shani got jobs in Calgary.

Soon we booked tickets back to Australia… life there was just too good. We spent two months laying on the beach all day and clubbing at night. Unemployed life in Australia was amazing, but expensive. It was time to get back to work. We spent another summer at the fishing resort, and planned our next escape this time to Africa, with a new friend Amiee.

Alas, Shani is young and hadn’t had the same life experiences that Laurie and I had before we began travelling. Shani felt it was time to get an education and give real life a shot. She is currently living with her boyfriend in Phillip Island and I wish nothing but the best for her…although I do wish she would hurry up and get bored and come join us on the road again! My Australian experience was more authentic, more fun and longer because Shani was a part of it. Without Shani, Laurie and I may not have become friends. Without Shani, we may not have gone to Africa. Without Shani, I would be different. I miss you Disco Balls…hurry up and come back!!!

Laurie and I spent 4 months in Europe after Shani left and have grown even closer. We have shared everything from clothes, to hangovers, to our dreams of avoiding “real” life forever. We have been on all kinds of roller coasters from nearly being scammed out of 1000 euros, to the debacle of Orhan, to being broker than broke and we made it out just fine every single time. Although she stayed in Amsterdam while I came home, we are still close as we plan our trip to South America and Antarctica.

I would like to think that I would have travelled alone if I hadn’t met Shani and Laurie, but I don’t know if that is true. I hope to never have to find that out. A good travel partner is invaluable. Everything looks more beautiful, the tough times aren’t as tough and accomplishments are sweeter when you have someone to share them with.

Laurie fuels my passion to travel and I am grateful that we have done so many amazing things together and have so many more planned. Larry, I know you hate the mushy stuff, so I’ll just say this: thanks for being such a ball face…you know what I mean! From girls who didn’t really like each other, to travel buddies, to life long friends…we have come a long way, in every sense.

Lets stay in Never Never Land FORVER!!!

Join me (and Laurie) as I TRAVEL MY LIFE AWAY!!!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Sold Electricity Door - to - Door….and It Changed My Life

“Hi, I’m just here about your power…………”

My bank card wouldn’t work in the ATM. I couldn’t understand the thick accent of anyone who spoke to me. I was lost. I didn’t know where I was or where I was going. I had no idea what a “toastie” was on nearly every menu I looked at. I couldn’t pronounce the names of most places on the bus schedule. I didn’t know how to respond when someone asked “How you going?”. I giggled when a guy was looking for his “thongs”. I was confused by the words “bathers”, “esky”, “schooner”, “ute” and “franger”. I was in AUSTRALIA!! I had made it outside my box. I was outside of my comfort zone. I was challenged by everyday life and I loved it!

I spent some time in Sydney then moved to Byron Bay. I fell in love with Byron. From the 70 year old men with dreadlocks, billabong shorts and coffee tans to the relaxing chilled vibe in the air…it was a great place.
I lived in the hippie beach town for 3 months and worked in a little café. Some nights as the sun was on its way down, I would walk along the beach think about life, love and meaning. I had yet to have the life altering revelation I was hoping the $2700 plane ticket would bring. It was a slow work in progress, but i was making progress. I was happy, something I hadn't been in a long time.

When I had had enough of Byron Bay, I was on to Brisbane, with a pit stop in Surfers Paradise. This is where destiny intervened and my life would never be the same. Arriving in Surfers, I was in awe. The beautiful coast line that stretched on forever, the modern hi-rise buildings, the one of a kind shops, the party atmosphere. It had everything I could have wanted, a small town beachy feel with all the conveniences of a big city. Never mind Brisbane, I was staying right here. But I needed a job…STAT! I replied to an ad I saw in the hostel which asked “Do you want to make $1000+ a week? Make new friends? Travel while you work?” Yes, yes and yes!!!

From there, I started the strangest job I have ever had. I was a door to door sales person for an electricity retailer. Basically, I cold knocked on strangers doors and said, “Hi, my name is Crissy and I’ve been sent here from integral energy. Many of your neighbours are receiving discounts on their electricity. If you’ll just grab me your most recent bill, I’ll have a look and see if you qualify for a discount as well”. The job ad was correct…I was easily making over $1000 a week, the people were amazing and the road trips we took solidified life long friendships.

It was through these friendships that I found what I had been looking for. We were from every corner of the world…Canada, Australia, England, New Zealand, the Netherlands and beyond. I had found a group of like minded people who were here for a good time. We were all away from home, had travelled and had more travelling to do. Finally I had met a group of people who wanted more out of life than home towns, relationships, babies and 9 - 5 jobs. They wanted to experience life and everything it had to offer. Their education didn’t matter, no one cared how much money you had, no one even cared what your life was like back home. It was all about the here and now. We lived for the moment…and those moments I will cherish forever.

Quickly, we became an extremely close group of friends. We bonded over our door knocking experiences from having doors slammed in our face, threats to call the cops and being berated for being foreigners, to eating dinner with families, having drinks on a patio while working, and offers to stay in a guest house on the other side of the country.

Our daily adventures at work were often recapped over a curry from Punjab as we made plans for the weekend. To this day, there is still nothing better than a Saturday night out in Surfers Paradise. We worked hard all week and partied all weekend. From the drinks, to the getting ready, to the clubs, to the dancing till 5 am to the kababs after, Saturday nights were what we lived for. I can still taste the UDLs, hear the music and remember the morning after feeling. Those 6 months were the best time of my life. Thank you Disco Balls, Larry, Samanther and Ella, Dougie, Perry Winkles, Jonny No Cash, Sneaky Fridges, Christopher, Timmy Changa, and many many others, for sharing in the best times of my life and showing me what life is really about; fun, friends and experience. I still remember sitting by the pool with Timmy saying, “we have such a good life” and dreaming about winning the lottery so it could always be this way.

Alas, nothing is forever, and eventually we went our separate ways. But not all of us. During this time I met two amazing girls who have helped me live my life to the fullest to this day. Together Shani, Laurie and I have travelled 4 continents together, and the end is not in sight.

In Australia I met the most random people, doing the most random job and found a new life with purpose, my passion and made life long friends.
Everything I wanted, needed and desired was found knocking door to door in Australia, the most unlikely place I could imagine.

Up next, how a couple of door knockers became my worldly travel partners.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Please Have Your Boarding Passes Ready

Please bear with me, I am new at this. I don’t even really know what a widget is.

I’ve always loved to write. My memory is terrible and I often write as I travel just to remember. I have thought about blogging my adventures, but never managed to get to the doing stage. I am the ultimate procrastinator. Now, sitting in my parents basement, with 2 months before my next trip and no job, it seems like the perfect time to get started.

What do I hope to accomplish with this? At the very least, I want to remember my life, my successes and my failures through my own eyes. I want others to have a deeper understanding of my life out on the road. I want to practice writing and one day call myself a writer. At the very best, maybe this will jump start me into a career as a travel writer. Who doesn’t want to get paid for living their life’s passion??
Today, I am considered by society to be “a failure at life”. I am 20 something…and closer to 30 something than 20 something. I do not have a career. I do not have a car. I do not have a place I call home. I am single and not looking. I live on a whim. I flee at the thought of responsibility. Everything I own fits into my backpack and a couple of boxes. I am worth nothing and owe a lot.
But, my life is rich in adventure, global experience and passion.
My happiness doesn’t come from a man who loves me, a beautiful house or the prospect of raising a family. My happiness comes from a plane ticket, my backpack and the freedom to discover the world.
And although now I can’t imagine it any other way, it wasn’t always like that.

Once upon a time, my life was on the path to “success” in every traditional sense. I had a long term boyfriend. I graduated high school with honours. I went to University. I graduated with a degree. I started another degree. I knew what was next. Get a job. Then buy a house. Then get married. Then have babies. Then …..wait to die.

To me, this didn’t sound like a life to strive for. Was I missing a step? There must be more. I couldn’t imagine the monotony of that kind of daily life. Although I couldn’t really articulate it at the time, I felt like life was a box. And with each step toward an ordinary life, that box was shrinking with me inside. But I didn’t know what was outside of that box or even how to get out.
It was a struggle, but I did manage to pull myself out of that box before it swallowed me up. The first few steps were big ones. I broke up with my boyfriend. I quit University before I had finished my second degree. That summer, I took a job outside of my province, and left everything and everyone I knew behind. It was a start, but I still needed more.
That fall, I boarded a fateful plane to Australia, with hopes that a year abroad would help me “find myself” and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Little did I know, how big the world outside that box was or how my passion would be unearthed on the other side of the world. In Australia, I achieved everything I set out to do. My life has become a journey I could never have fathomed before. And I have never been happier.

Up next…what happened on that fateful journey in Australia.