For those of you that don’t know, I have been living in Canada for the last 3 years and have just come back home to Australia. Today I’m going to share with you my open love letter to Canada and talk a bit about travel and why I think EVERYONE needs more of it!
When I first set off on my journey things were a little different and I had someone with me but I was quickly on my own and having to navigate a country I had never been to and let me tell you it was SCARY! The first few weeks were lonely and daunting and believe me I thought about coming home, but that would be the easy way out and I am SO SO thankful I stayed!
Everyone always tells you when you travel, ” what’s the worst that can happen, you don’t like it and you come home” and that is so so true. People always think of moving abroad as so final but you will enjoy it so much more if you remember nothing is forever, make the most of every day and at the end of it all if you are struggling or not enjoying it any more you can go home. I think once I realised that, it gave me the courage to keep going.
When I left on my journey I didn’t realise qualities I already had inside me because I guess I had never been in a situation like this but travelling on your own forces you to dig deep and REALLY find out what you’re made of. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love travelling with someone special and sharing all your amazing experiences together there is nothing quite like it but travelling on your own will give you something nothing else in the world can.
Firstly being on my own taught me to be resourceful and think outside the box in order to get things done. Can’t speak the language, you learn enough to get by or communicate other ways. Use your connections, is there someone you know back home who might have connections in the country you are visiting. Travel plans, you learn thrifty ways of booking things and getting around, for example I took the train a lot instead of flying, a great way to see the gorgeous countryside and save some money. Plus you don’t have to deal with the airport headaches.
Strangers – Humans are a beautiful beautiful thing and I realised this so much more when I was on my own in a foreign country. Being on your own in public seems to bring out the best in you and other people. They will be naturally drawn to talk to you and be friendly because you don’t have the security blanket of another person with you. Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger for help, that is my biggest piece of advise!! It might be directions, transport, recommendations, anything really. People will surprise you if you let them! I once had a lady stop me on the sidewalk as she could see I was lost, she asked if I needed help with directions and she helped me out so much, and then finished off by giving me her number and said if I needed any help or ever wanted to catch up I should give her a call. I was a total stranger to her yet she could see I was having a tough time and took time out of her day to help, it was moments like that when I stopped and thought, you know what I AM GOING TO BE OK!
Friends – These become so valuable when you are on your own and I was so so blessed to make some lifelong friends when I was away. I will never be able to repay the generosity and kindness that was offered to me by friends of friends I was put in touch with, with housemates, workmates and strangers. The people I met opened their homes, family’s and hearts to me and will never know how much it meant especially at the beginning when I knew nobody. Sometimes you realise people you have only known a short time have your best interests at heart far more than some you’ve known forever. My Canadian family has a piece of my heart and I will never be the same after meeting all those phenomenal people who welcomed me so openly.
Canada – This beautiful country I now consider my second home, there are not enough kind words I can say about it. If you haven’t been I urge you to go!! Firstly it’s true what they say, the Canadians are so friendly so its not hard to like them. The country itself is full of beauty everywhere you look. There are so many incredible places to explore and wander. I was never ever bored there. The true beauty for me was found out of the city in cottage country, where the lakes are wide, the trees big, the air crisp, smores by the fire and the summer days that go on forever. I loved being able to jump in the car and go somewhere new to explore for the weekend, so many quaint little towns that will charm you as soon as you arrive. For me as I was living in Toronto, even that iconic view of the city skyline was breathtaking and never got old. Going across to the islands with our bikes and watching the sun set over this beautiful city I called home. Those are the days I will never forget.
Food – Ohhhhh the delicious food this country has (most of it naughty) but so tasty!! I got to live out all my typical cliche Canadian food fantasies. Poutine (if you have never had it, get on it), butter tarts, peameal bacon, timbits, Thanksgiving feats with all the trimmings, and so much more. The cities are filled with endless restaurants and cafe’s which made for plenty of delicious outings, you will always be stumbling upon somewhere new to try.
America – although this is my love letter to Canada, living there allowed me so much more freedom to travel to the USA which had been a lifelong goal of mine and was one of the main reasons I went there. It’s so close to the border that the possibilities are endless and I was lucky enough to get many many stamps in my passport and make some lifelong memories in some fantastic places. New York, Chicago, Washington, Boston, New Orleans, Cleveland, Buffalo, LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orlando, Hawaii.
And last but certainly not least, my Fiancé Mike. I was definitely not looking to find anyone when I got there as I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying or what the future would look like but only a few short weeks after arriving I met him, and life has never been the same since. We instantly clicked and got along so well, both having a love of travel was our initial talking point and instantly gave us hours worth of conversation. As the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years it became clear he was my forever. During our trip to San Francisco last October he got down on one knee and made it official, as we overlooked the Golden Gate Bridge. It was without a doubt the best day of my life. He is my heart and I feel so blessed to be able to spend my life with him, I really do believe the world works in mysterious ways and everything happens for a reason and if I had never gone on this crazy journey in Canada or made the choices I did I wouldn’t be with him now. I am thankful that he agreed to come and live the Australian life so we are now in my hometown setting up a future together ahead of our wedding next year.
I will finish with this little piece of wisdom. Travel, travel, travel… go as far and as wide as you can and don’t stop! There truly is nothing you can buy that will make you richer than travel. It will seem scary, you will wonder how on earth you can manage it, you will be petrified but thats EXACTLY when you should do it. Have you been wanting to shake up your life, meet new people, experience new things but think it’s not the right time… well guess what it will never be the “right” time so just go for it and let the world surprise you. Don’t have enough money? Don’t worry that will work out to, so you’ll work in a cafe, you’ll work on a farm, you’ll work at the ski resort, you will be ok and you will find a way to stay afloat.
There is honestly no way for me to really describe the feeling I got from travelling and being alone, I discovered things about myself I didn’t know were there, I realised I am damn strong and PROUD OF IT! I give myself a massive pat on the back for making it through the start which was one of the toughest things I have ever had to do and for coming out the other side. Better, more aware, more alive, happier and with the fullest heart possible. I am grateful for every single second I spent in Canada, for every single person I met, for every single sight I saw, for every single memory I made and for the gift it gave me. Canada thank you for giving me something I didn’t know I needed and for changing my life, I will never be the same again and now have a second home.
Love always xo xo