Well here we go. The first post. I have had the idea of this blog in my mind for months already. Really, I had enough thoughts in my mind to start this when I first made my decision to embark on an adventure back in March. Now that I am less then a year away to my departure, I feel like I can justify starting it. So what is this blog about? How did I get here? What will my adventure be? Keep reading.
I grew up in a “small city” in Southern Alberta. I suppose that I always wanted to travel – see the Eiffel Tower or the Acropolis etc. but more important to me was the typical “go to university, get a degree, get a career, and then maybe get married and have family plan”. Up until I was sixteen, my travels had only existed within a few hours’ drive from home. The summer I turned sixteen I went on a month long adventure across Canada, which was great to be able to experience my home country and maybe where the initial serious travel bug was implanted. Somewhere in my high-school years, my best friend had brought up her intention to backpack Europe after high-school before heading to post-secondary. She wanted to me to come with her but I politely declined, as it did not fit into the “plan”. However, in Grade 11, I had a chance to go on my first international travel experience on a school trip to France, celebrating the “90th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge”.
It was after this trip that things started changing in me, and suddenly the plan did not seem as amazing as taking some time to experience another world. Being the best friend that she was, she ignored my original refusal and continued to attempt to convince me to go with her on this backpacking trip. It wasn’t long after we returned from the school trip that I realized that what had seemed so outrageous of an idea to me at first was becoming my reality. So I said yes.
It was and still has been the best 2 months of my life. It was during those two months that the idea of there being so much more to life started to grow inside of me. However, I quickly put it aside because I had already put off post-secondary for a year and it was time to get to following that plan. So I then moved to a bigger city a couple hours away from home. I went to college, got a diploma and then quickly realized how much I did not like the career path I had pursued once I actually got real experience with it. C’est la vie. From then on I bounced around great ideas for new career paths that might still happen one day but after a few years of not being able to truly commit to that path, I realized the inevitable. I needed to listen to that little voice inside of me that told me to continue the adventure while I was backpacking the first time, take a journey on my own to another country, another culture and pursue something that was not a conventional career path.
I will throw in here that originally I came up with the idea to save a ton of money so that I could take a year off to take an around the world adventure. This idea shifted and shaped into a number of different ways to follow that path, ultimately turning into a few smaller trips, crossing different parts of the globe at a time then being able to return home. However, about 10 months away from my intended departure – the entire idea was turning into this set plan based on other people’s ideas and wants. I had started to lose my original desire and reasons to go. Something did not feel right about it anymore. Coincidentally enough, I was presented a new career opportunity literally out of the blue. Since chances like that do not happen every day, I decided to take it and see where it took me – recognizing that I could always travel later if it did not work out etc.
About a month into this new career, I realized that I was still not happy. It was FINALLY time to just accept that I wanted something more out of life and to stop coming up with reasons to not act upon that desire. But I did not feel that I wanted to re visit the just travelling abroad idea. I wanted something more permanent then going away for a few months, and I wanted something that would offer me the experience of living in a different culture, living a different kind of lifestyle with new surroundings and new people etc. The easiest answer was to obtain a working holiday visa. As a young Canadian, I am very blessed in the fact that getting a working visa to another country is pretty darn easy. So with a bit of thinking and research I chose to move to the United Kingdom on a two year working visa. I chose the UK because from the first moment that we visited Colchester, England (which was our first “stop” on the backpacking journey), I had felt a connection and could honestly see myself coming back to live there. I also chose the UK because it was a good hub to give me relatively cheap opportunities to explore more of Europe, Africa, and beyond.
At that point way back in March, I had the decision to make if I wanted to leave as soon as possible or wait a big longer to fulfill prior obligations, vacation plans and have more money in the bank. I will not lie, it was easy to get caught up emotionally and start the visa process so I could be out in two months. However, recognizing that I had the ability to leave so soon, made me want to give it about year. The year would mean I could take a family trip at Christmas to Mexico and a vacation with my friends to Disneyworld – both of these mean a lot to me and had been fairly long in the planning. I did not want to give them up. So I decided on Spring 2015 to be my departure time.
I admit that I have a fear of not following through – this really is the third time I have made intentions to set out on this kind of journey and became distracted by other opportunities or found reasons to delay. I knew that I have to wait the year out, and would not be able to make a serious committed move until the new year. I have been scared that I would find a reason not to go, find a reason to stick to the plan and ignore my decision of wanting something more. I find it incredibly hard to make decisions for myself. I always want to know what my parents or friends will think before I make the decision, and the truth is that I am simply looking for them to tell me to do or not to do. I feel guilty if my choices do not align with what others want of me, and because of this, I have held myself back many times on choices in life that might have led me elsewhere. I have no regrets; I am where I am today because I was meant to be here. However, I have now realized that the choice is mine and has always been mine alone. Opportunities to go in any direction will come and go, I will never make everyone in my life happy, there will always be those who make me feel guilty for wanting something more than planned. But none of that matters anymore because when push comes to shove, whatever choice I make for myself – my universe along with everything and everyone in it will follow suit.
To end this post, I am more than excited to begin the journey into the next chapter in my life and look forward to sharing my thoughts, feelings, adventures and advice with you through this virtual diary. I am still quite a few months away from my departure. So expect posts on previous travels, what I have been thinking and feeling these past months and what I will be feeling moving forward, information on my pre-planning and as well the working holiday visa process – until my departure. Then I will be writing about all my antics in the UK and travels over there. My hope is to be able to provide reflections on the travels that were stepping stones to this adventure, insight into this journey, as well as information.
For the readers who did make their way through all of that, thank you. Aside from wanting to share this journey with my friends and family, my ultimate wish for this blog is to help give you that last little push you need to follow your dreams and desires and to recognize that you have the power to make that decision for yourself.
– xoxo Veronica