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.