Monday Moment: Preparing for Home

~Now that I have been gone for so long

I realize the place to which I belong

I miss those familiar things that make me feel protected

That place I can shelter from the unknown prospected

Soon I will feel the warmth of my own bed

My teddy bear nestled between my shoulder and head

I’ll know where I can find my perfect delights

I can be assured where I sleep each night

The countdown is on and I’m going to soon be home

I’ve seen Paris, Barcelona, England and even Rome!

I wandered through cities like Edinburgh, Bergen, and Berlin

I went sightseeing in Venice and Florence with a big perma-grin 🙂

I explored some of India and in the hot sun I would wake

And of course, I went to Amsterdam and got totally baked!

Three more countries to go as I enjoy Argentina

A touch of luxury ahead with hot tubs and piscinas

I will finally see the great mountains of Machu Pichu

It’s amazing what this wonderful world can teach you

More adventure awaits as the last leg unfolds

I have so many tales that need to be told

So many stories that don’t seem like they’re actually real

I can’t even describe the many feelings I feel

My home is waiting and I’m just about there

I’m finishing off with a BANG!! And then once more…

I’ll fly UP UP UP high in the air!!

I can not express how grateful I am

Boy oh boy… I’m going to have the most incredible Instagram!!

My dreams have come true each and every day

I’ve lived life to the fullest in every possible way ❤

Thursday Thoughts on my Travels

~Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day. It may seem like any other day to my family and friends back home but to me this day is extraordinary. I’ve been gone for nearly 2 months and home seems so far away. The rest of Europe seems so far away as well as I sit in the North contemplating my next move.

I’ve seen very small portions of 5 different countries; each one varying ever so slightly from the other. I’ve had ample time to reflect on my own inner thoughts and demons.  I no longer question whether or not I am doing the right thing anymore. All of the time and planning has brought me here to this very moment.

Although I have only just begun to tap into the cultures and ways of living, I have also gained an overwhelming amount of knowledge from each place I graze through.

The words evade me…

How can I put into words the emotions and visual pleasures I’ve experienced? So many feelings within my gut I can barely begin to explain in a transparent sentence let alone describe what I’ve seen or heard in my passing through these mysterious realms.

I’ve been surrounded by history and sophistication. The aftermath of victories, accomplishments, and defeat throughout many battles and wars have literally been at my fingertips and yet I could never actually come close to understanding the complexity of it all. I can lay my hands upon the ruins. I can read the engraved words in the stone. I can sit and bask in the elapsed time bubble that has brought me here.

My eyes can merely gaze in wonder.

In Paris, I slept in a building constructed in the 1800s that has been restored time and time again. In Barcelona, I realized a resistance had transformed the very flags in which the country of Spain had once honored. I discovered a language I had never heard of before. I stood inside a tunnel in Bury St. Edmunds, England, encompassed by ancient ruins which had been originally erected over a thousand years ago. I have recited tales of witches and ghosts in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day writing these indescribable feelings the best I can. A beautiful little city enclosed by glorious green mountains, trees and lakes. Cold streams of water trickle down the slopes of Mt Fløyen. At night the entire city center lights up from the shops and houses nestled within the mountain side. The reflections in the harbor waters glow and dance with the wind.

My best explanation of my thoughts on my recent travels; they are vast, deep and full of fascination I wish I could convey. I am so incredibly grateful I have this chance to experience something so much greater than I could ever explain.

Travel now. Travel far. Travel; for it will show so many truths within ourselves. The world has so much to offer.

Good Morning, Good Evening Monday!

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Good morning Monday, or should I say good evening?

My clock is ahead and my friends back home are still sleeping.

My day is ending when theirs has only begun.

I see the end of the day and they see the beginning of the sun.

Bonjour, bonsoir, bonne après-midi…

Which part of the day will all of us see?

Paris is cloudy and the air has a chill.

That sure does not stop me from having my thrills.

Last night or this morning I saw a wonderful site.

Gazed once more at the Eiffel Tower and had a marvelous night.

Arise, my dear friends, it’s a new day and you’re free!

Your morning, my night, today… aujourd’hui.

From Paris, with love. ❤

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Thursday Thoughts: Starting the Trip of a Lifetime!

2 weeks ago I was sitting in a fancy hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, waiting for the anticipated flight to Paris, France. Now, I am sitting in an apartment in Barcelona, Spain with a handful of stories already under my belt. Where do I even begin?

Here I am, enjoying Europe. This trip is just getting started.

I honestly can’t believe I left everything behind. It feels so refreshing. I brought a small suitcase, which I left in Paris, and a big red backpack stuffed to the max. Everyone told me to travel light but seeing as how I may hit some different climates along the way I did not pack light at all. My backpack is pretty heavy so luckily I don’t have to carry it too far. With cabs to and from airports, I just have to worry about my smaller carry-on bags while I’m traveling around.

Paris and Barcelona in the winter are exactly the same climates as winter back home in Victoria. It’s a bit rainy, windy and there’s a slight chill in the air. Luckily the sun has made an appearance a few times.

My best friend, Lisa, has been by my side the whole way and we’ve had the Trip of a Lifetime! We’ve seen The Louvre,  The Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. We’ve also discovered the impressive Sagrada FamĂ­lia Cathedral, Park GĂĽell and the beautiful beaches of Barcelona. Our feet have ached and our sleep comes early, but it’s been worth every second. Each day tells a different story. The faces we see and the paths we take change on the regular. Ah, the joys of traveling. Long line ups have definitely tested my patience but it is nothing I haven’t experienced before.

I feel more ready this time around. It’s been smooth sailing for most of the trip. A lot of people speak English and with a bit of broken French and Spanish; it’s easy to get around. Groceries and the everyday bottle of wine costs much less than I would have thought. The most expensive thing is accommodation. Fortunately, I have not had to pay much towards my temporary housing during the trip thus far. I have had an exponential amount of luck and people who care about me to generously put me in a safe and comfortable living situation at their own expense.

dsc_0007From the Eiffel Tower to the famous masterpiece, Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí, we have checked so many items off the bucket list. I feel so privileged to be able to travel to the fullest and cherish each moment like no other.

Now I can say I’ve dipped my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I can reminisce about the views from atop the Eiffel Tower overlooking Paris. I can brag about the warm sun on my face on Christmas Eve in Barcelona Square. That is if the sun comes out again tomorrow.

 

Until next time, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday! Wherever you are; enjoy all of it. 🙂 Stay tuned for more stories of the long-awaited trip to Europe.

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Preparing for the Next Big Trip!

It’s been about 10 years since my last big trip. I remember when I finally decided on my destination: Australia ❤ Of course 6 other countries followed that one and a lot of wonderful memories were made. It was the single greatest experience of my entire life.

It all seems like a distant dream now that so much time has passed. Was it even real? Did I really live and work on Saint Kilda beach in Melbourne? Did I really take a boat tour around the islands of Figi? Did I really ride down those white water rapids in Thailand?

It happened, and it changed my life forever. I gained a deep love for traveling. I met so many amazing people who have remained my friends from afar despite the years that have passed us by. My love for travel has never diminished and my desire to explore this tiny world we live in has only burned stronger and brighter with time.

So now is the time to plan the next big trip! I’m talking about multiple countries over a long time frame in which I have to leave everything behind including my job and my loved ones.

THE NEXT BIG TRIP!

The preparations are already underway; I’ve applied for and received my brand new 10-year passport. My belongings have either been sold or donated and I now only have 3 bins to store. I’ve also received a working holiday visa as well after a lengthy application and some running around to gather all of the documents that were needed.

During my last big trip, I was able to store most of my stuff in my parent’s basement. This time around I do not have that luxury as there is talk of selling their house. Luckily, I have a handful of best friends who are more than willing to help me out with storing the things I would like to keep such as my bed, dresser, and couch. The last thing I want to do is return home to nothing and have no money. So I’ve thought many steps ahead on this decision. I packed most of my things last night and they are now ready for storage.

Worst case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place, lose all my belongings and money somehow and have to fly straight home on Dads credit card. Not a terrible thing and at least I gave it a try.

Best case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place and meet some amazing friends who hook me up with a job and I never return home because my new home has captured my heart forever. I will now have to watch my nieces and nephews grow up through Facebook pictures and Skype. Not a terrible thing and at least I have a computer (I have all my things in this scenario).

So where am I headed?

I’m headed to a place full of culture.

A place where you can take a train from one country to the next and relish in the various landscapes across the land.

A place that speaks many languages.

This place has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

Can you guess where I’m going for my next big trip?

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Thursday Thoughts: Learning to Love Myself Again Xo

I think a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT!

My mind is made up of multiple wheels turning in every direction, so naturally when I experience something painful it hurts in all kinds of different ways. Maybe it’s just the cycle you go through after your heart has been broken. But for me it feels so much deeper than I would’ve imagined. After 4 years with one person it has been extremely difficult to be alone with my crazy mind. My thoughts seem to take over.

It’s been about 3 months now and I do feel like the worst of it has passed. But there are still times when I’m alone that my heart starts to ache repeatedly. I still lie awake wondering how I got to that point where I am alone in my bed. I feel like I never want to let myself fall in love with anyone ever again. One time seems painful enough.

Then I start to think about others who have shared their stories with me when it comes to heartache and pain. When there is marriage and children involved and many years of counseling, I can’t even begin to understand how that feels.

Moving on…

I have been so lucky to have the most loving friends who have helped me through this break up. They have lifted me up and made me laugh. They have said so many loving things to me to try to help me remember who I really am and that I matter. I am not just a broken heart.

The hardest part is writing about my most recent travel experience in Costa Rica; the trip that I thought would bring us closer together. How do I write about that? Do I just write him out of all the stories I want to tell? Do I include him in the adventures I reminisce about? I’m torn between wanting to forget and needing to remember. After all, he was there with me and we had that wonderful experience together.

Maybe some of my blogger friends can shed some light on this situation.

How do you bring yourself to write about someone who broke your heart?

How do you get the words out while you are still hurting so much?

How do I share my story when I just want to forget about him?

I know I am worth more than I feel I am now and I know that my heart won’t always hurt. After so much reflection and self affirmations I feel like my old self is slowly returning. I do feel happy, but when I sit down to write the pain comes flooding back.

How do I stop this from happening?

How do I learn to love myself again?

Traveling: Will It Make or Break You?

~Relationships are funny. You gain some and you lose some. Lessons are learned and hearts are broken. Travelling is a huge test when it comes to relationships and putting the two together can be either a wonderful practice or a deadly concoction.

If you have read my blog recently you may have noticed that I am going through a very painful break-up which makes it incredibly hard to write about the trip I just experienced with my ex two months ago. It really is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Learning about someone in a relationship is exciting at times, but when you realize something is not quite right in that person’s actions towards you, it can be hard to understand where that person is coming from. This is exactly what happened to me. All I can say is that a distance grew between us and I don’t really understand why. Distractions caused me to feel invisible and ignored. Once we had returned from our trip the distance grew so strong that we ended up further apart than ever.

So I guess traveling broke us.

In any case, I find this to be true in friendships as well. Maybe it’s because there are shades of colors you can never see in a person unless you travel far away from home. Maybe it’s because traveling changes you. Whatever the reason may be, I believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Everything happens for a reason.

Going outside of your comfort zone can be a challenging decision. Stepping outside that zone with another person; well that’s a whole other story.

I lost a very special friendship while I was traveling through South East Asia. I had planned to meet up with an old friend in Thailand who I had known for years. I jumped on a plane and flew from Singapore to meet him. Once I arrived in Bangkok, we met up and had some fun in the city before venturing out to an Island called Ko Samet. My birthday was right around the corner and I was excited to celebrate.

But something happened during that trip that I will never understand. Everything seemed fine when we arrived but after a night of drinking and words, our friendship went sideways. Again, a distance suddenly grew between us and I started to notice a strong wall being built up inside my friend.

That evening I celebrated my birthday without him and danced around with some locals instead. If you’re interested in the details of how that night you can read my post: Stories of a Solo Traveler. In the end, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We left the island without speaking a word to one another and I sat on the bus back to Bangkok all by myself. I felt horrible.

Once arriving back in Bangkok I confronted my ex-friend about his actions towards me. He left me at the bus station that day and three days later he boarded a plane and flew back to Canada. I haven’t spoken to him in almost ten years now. Travelling seemed to have broken him and our friendship.

And that’s how fast it can happen.

Maybe it was something I said. It could have been something he felt and I didn’t. In my current situation, it was clearly something I felt and he did not. Now we are just strangers with a bunch of pictures of us from another country. Memories that were supposed to be happy but now just cause pain.

In both cases, I have felt totally abandoned by people who I thought cared about me.

I’m not going to lie, it hurts… a lot! But you can’t stop the changes that happen to someone else when you travel. Going somewhere else in the world is a life-changing experience. People’s true colors shine through and the universe either brings you together or it tears you apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had some amazingly happy trips with other people in my life. My best girlfriend and I have traveled down to Mexico a few times and everything turned out great for us. It all depends on the people, the timing and the situations you put yourselves into.

You can’t stop change. You can’t force change.

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It is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Luckily, I know how to put myself back together 🙂

 

When the world is upside down

raindrop-76830_640~A loved one dies and tears are shed

~Hearts are breaking. We burry our heads

~Under the blankets we cannot escape

~The pain that grips us. It’s our unfortunate fate

~For one day we will all leave this earth

~One by one our souls rebirthed

~Into a place only the departed know

~I just want to know where all of us go

~But for that to happen I would have to end

~A death approaching I cannot pretend

~There’s no forever although we might wish

~Instead we’re forced to live out the anguish

~As we watch our friends and family pass

~A mirror broken. Shards of glass

~They cut so deep that the wound never quite heals

~The sorrow. The sadness. It is painfully real

~When your world turns upside down for a time

~Just remember their spirit will always shine

~Through us, our memories of a love so true

~I’m sure our loved ones will watch over us too

~We cannot just disappear. I won’t believe that

~No, Everything does not just go black

~There must be a place we can rejoin them some day

~A place where our souls can finally stay

~A place of peace and wonder and joy and love

~Call it heaven if you will. Call it the playground above

~For it doesn’t matter what each of us believe

~As long as we keep wearing our loved ones hearts on our sleeve

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Tragedy: We Lost a Beautiful Friend

eye-42333_1280It was Sunday night and we had just eaten a wonderful Easter dinner up in Shawnigan Lake with some family. As we drove down the dirt road from the farm we realized we had missed a text message from our friend so we slowed down to read it. I was in complete disbelief at first. I thought maybe my boyfriend Anthony had read it wrong.

Our beautiful friend Christine had died suddenly. I said, “No, you must be reading that wrong babe.” So we pulled over at the end of the dirt road.

Sure enough that’s what the text read so Anthony dialed our friend back. To our horror, it was true.

Our bright bubbly friend who was 7 months pregnant with her first child had a brain aneurysm and was gone. She was only 28 years old. The week has been quite blurry since the news hit, after the denial faded away and it actually started to feel real. We’ll never see her lovely face again. We’ll never dance with her and bust a move when the beat drops. We’ll never hear that cute little laugh. Her baby will never see this world. We lost a beautiful friend.

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Rest in Paradise ❤

Goodbye my girl xox

May you and your son Kaz rest in paradise. We will always remember the fun times we had and your memory will live on forever. My heart goes out to Christine’s family and her loving boyfriend Kody.

R.I.P. Christine Murray (Spicy) xox

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Good Morning Monday!

🙂 Good Morning Monday! 🙂

I’m back in action after a two-week hiatus from my dear little blog and I’m so full of posts to post about!

School has taken over.

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Going back to school makes me feel young again. Not that I don’t always feel younger than I am, but I feel like school has brought out the kid in me again. You know how sometimes you get jaded about certain things because you are older. I don’t want to be like that anymore so I have decided to stop worrying so much about the future and live in the now.

A classmate of mine is making a yearbook so we can capture all of our memories from this short 12 week program. I feel like I’ve gotten so close to some of my classmates that we are really just like a family. A family of students who are all on the same path to find ourselves and learn new things.

Finally I’m engaged and challenged in a way I’ve needed for a long time.

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My wonderful friends from the business program have helped me find who I really am once again:
A leader.

After doubting myself for so long I can finally say that I feel like me.
The real me.
That natural-born leader I have always been on the inside. 🙂

Here’s to new friends and new obstacles in life.

New challenges make life interesting 🙂

Have a wonderful week and stay tuned for this weeks posts!!
~T