Saturday, March 19, 2011

Larry did it!!! I have one more to go!!!

                                                                     Laurie (aka Larry) and I have been on a quest to travel all 7 continents. She has finally achieved the goal!!! I asked her if she would please write a post on how it feels to have accomplished a goal that once upon a time was a drunken pipe dream. She replied that she cannot write (but her mom says she is a good writer), so we decided to do this interview style.

Crissy = BOLD

Ok, here we are with Larry from Balzac (Alberta), an avid traveller who has been to all 7 continents, and who just so happens to be my travel partner.
So Larry, where have you been?

I have been all over Canada, the USA, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, England, Scotland, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Portugal, Poland, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Antarctica and Uruguay. Over the next two months, I will also add Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.

Larry, what inspired you to travel in the first place?

It wasn't so much an act of inspiration as an act of ….ummm…I just needed a change. I had finished university, was working a “real” job as an industrial research coordinator for a large commercial real estate company. I was unhappy and bored with my life. I wanted a challenge. I wanted a change. I wanted to travel but couldn't afford it, so I reviewed my options of ways to work and travel. I came up with the idea of teaching English in Japan. I never expected it to become what it has become. It was only meant to be a one year contract, not a never ending lifestyle.

Were you scared to leave home for the first time?

No. I really wasn’t. It felt surreal. It didn’t really feel like it was happening even as it was happening. But I was never scared to leave.

 Do you miss home at all?

Not really. When I first got to Japan, I missed the music and the bars of home, but I never really missed home. I missed my dog. But recently, since I have been doing this for fucking ages, wait….don’t say fucking…my mom reads this…… within the last 6 months or so, I miss home more than I ever have up to this point. But I have been away from home for nearly two years this time.  My toes feel soft.

What inspired the idea of travelling to all 7 continents?

It was while I was in Australia the second time, we were planning our lives and decided that we needed some direction to our travels. So we made a goal of all 7 continents. Seemed like a crazy goal at the time, but still fairly achievable….it may have been a drunken idea….

What do you think of your partner in crime after all of this time? (heehee that’s me!!!)

We still get still get along perfectly fine. We never fight or argue. We make a great team as one persons strengths balances out the others weaknesses. Crissy is the planner, I’m the navigator. We’re a winning combination and I couldn’t do it without her. I’m sure she is what has kept me going as long as I have.

Tell me what it feels like to have accomplished such a huge dream.

Doesn't feel like anything. No…ok….. I am proud…I am proud of what I have achieved. I am pretty young to have done and seen as much as I have. And I am proud of myself, because while it has been fun, it hasn’t always been easy and it is a big accomplishment.

What has kept you motivated to keep travelling for all of these years?

Uuummm…having a goal has really helped. And having awesome friends who are similarly situated in life acting as my travel companions. They’ve kept me focused on my travel goals and what “life planning” really means.

Describe some of the life lessons you have learned as a backpacker.

Ultimately, all people, doesn't matter their nationality, culture, ethnicity, whatever, are basically all the same. I think people are ultimately good. I've learned how to be resourceful and how to live on nearly nothing. School is overrated. Life experiences can teach you so much more. I’ve also learned that 3 day old, 48 degree meat sandwiches are still good to eat. And sometimes its ok to have wine for breakfast and ice cream for dinner.

What has been your lowest travel moment? The highest?

My lowest moment was probably when I was stuck in Japan, I was jobless, squatting in my apartment, with all the time in the world, but no money to do anything. I was alone in a foreign land and I was miserable. The company I was working for went bankrupt and I was jobless. There were a lot of negative feelings associated with that time. 

My best moment was…..I don’t know. Being able to reflect on all the places I’ve been and done and seen. There’s no one moment that supersedes everything else. 

Larry you have seen more of the world in your young 25 years than most people will see in a lifetime. Do you have any words of inspiration for those who dream about seeing the world?

You can do it……..! Don’t let anybody tell you that it is too scary, too expensive, too different, too hard, too whatever………… is not that scary, it is not that expensive, it is not that hard. You will learn so much about yourself and others, and travelling has the potential to be one of the best experiences of your life. So just go for it! Basically don’t let anyone else tell you you can’t do it. It is just there for your taking.

Any regrets? Anything you wish you would have done along the way? 

I should have stayed in Australia longer the first time. I wasn’t ready to leave when I did. Though looking at where I am now, it has all worked out in the end.

So now that you have seen and done it all… what’s next?

That is a good question Crissy, (in her best interviewing voice). The joke now is outer space (Larry, it is not a joke!!!!  Google “Virgin Galactic“). Maybe to see if I can extend my travels to span 5 years…….but I don’t know….I figure it out as I go. Maybe eventually my amazing travel partner and I will open our own hostel.

That is all with Larry for now, but stay tuned as we continue our adventures around South America!!!

Laurie and giraffe in South Africa, AFRICA

Laurie sea kayaking in Victoria, AUSTRALIA

Laurie wearing her favorite Dutch shoes in Amsterdam, EUROPE

Laurie in Hiroshima, Japan, ASIA

Laurie and friends (including me!) in Niagara Falls, Canada, NORTH AMERICA

Laurie at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, SOUTH AMERICA


Up next, Iguazu Falls and the quest for Brazilian visas!!
Join me (and Larry) as I TRAVEL MY LIFE AWAY!!!!!!


  1. Nola Shannon - Laurie's momMarch 19, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    I think for Laurie it seemed the hardest part was leaving home initially. Now it might be coming home because home has changed since she left in Oct 2009. But then again, because home has been many, many places for her over the last few years, adjustment may not be that difficult. We will be happy to have her here. We can't wait!!!