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 Família Cathedral, Park Güell 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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*Euro Trippin*

~Europe~

It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. When I was a teenager I dreamed of traveling to Paris, France. I don’t know if it was because I had heard France was a beautiful country or if it was because of my deep romantic nature that drew me in. I would always look at photos of the Eiffel tower and imagine what it would be like to stand underneath it.

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The city of love; I wanted to be a part of it.

There are so many cultures, languages, monuments, foods and a million more amazing things to discover in Europe; why wouldn’t you want to go there?

Italy, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Norway, and of course not to mention Amsterdam… they’re ALL right there on one continent. It sounds like a pretty great experience I have yet to enjoy.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

I’M GOING TO EUROPE!!!

6 months ago I started planning my trip after spontaneously booking a promo flight I just couldn’t pass up. And yes you guessed it: I’m flying to Paris 🙂

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I have once again decided to pack up my entire life and leave the country to go exploring. Once I gave my notice to my office, it really started to feel like reality. People sometimes don’t understand how I can do it.

The most common reaction is: “I don’t know if I could ever do anything like that!”

But the fact of the matter is, I don’t know if I can do it either. I have no idea what is in store for me. There are so many variables that can impact the outcome of the trip. I’m sure I will meet many people from all walks of life that point me in a direction I would’ve never thought I could go. The only difference is that I actually thrive on fear and love stepping outside of my comfort zone. A lot of people don’t like that feeling and fear change so it limits the practice of spontaneity which is just fine for those people.

Truth is: I’m terrified! And that excites me!

There is absolutely no way to describe the combination of fear, joy, excitement and uncertainty when you feel these feelings all at once. It’s like a whirlwind of emotions fighting with one another deep within your gut. It’s those very feelings that push me to do the unthinkable; quit my job, pack away my life and leave the country with no real return date in mind.

My ticket may say that I’m coming back home in 4 months, but who knows what can happen during that time. I could run out of money and have to return sooner than expected or I could get a great job and extend my stay for a longer period. Either way, I get to experience something on a large-scale. It’s an adventure no matter what the outcome may be.

It’s true what they say: “You never know until you try.”

So try I must.

In 48 days I will get on a plane and fly to a place I’ve never seen before. I will leave my former self here in Victoria to find a new self and mold her into a brand new person. I will go to Paris and I will try to fall back in love with myself again after this long year full of ups and downs.

I will grow.

I will change.

I will travel.

I will love.

I can’t wait!

postcard-1185804 with love ~T 

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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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 TravelerIn 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 🙂

 

From Montezuma to Turtle Island- A ‘MUST DO’ Day Trip!

~Montezuma is a glorious little fishing town on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera gives you your first glimpse at the beauty of this area and from Paquera, it’s about a 25-minute drive to Montezuma. Unless you’re taking the local bus, then it takes a lot longer.

The town is a mixture of locals and backpackers who travel from all over the world to see the incredible beaches, waterfalls, and rivers that envelop Montezuma. The village hosts mainly accommodations, restaurants and tourist shops because of the high volume of Eco-tourists who visit.

On a hike through the surrounding forest to one of the waterfalls, we ran into some squeaky little Capuchin monkeys jumping around in the trees. One of the monkeys came pretty close to us to show us his teeth and make it known that it was his home we were parading through. The little guy was adorable, but I kept my distance once he started showing his tiny fangs. They may be cute but I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them.

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The Must-Do day trip to Turtle Island, aka Isla Tortuga en Español, is an adventure you will never forget. With astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Nicoya Peninsula, this trip does not disappoint. Most of the tours that go out to Turtle Island include snorkeling, scuba diving, a delicious lunch and great company from local tour guides and fellow travelers. It’s a pretty bumpy 45 minute boat ride to paradise but well worth it. If you are lucky enough to come across the ocean life that dwell around the area you may also meet sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales as well. Once you arrive at the volcanic rock reef for your underwater excursions, you will discover a handful of colorful fish and tropical wonders under the waves near the island.

The island itself is absolutely pristine with tall palm trees, a white sandy shore, and serene blue water. Since the island is surrounded by volcanic rock formations, the water is so calm you can relax in the warm ocean as you take in the scenery without having to worry about large waves or riptides pulling you away. There’s something about water when it’s at a standstill that soothes you into a tranquil state.

The crew took our group snorkeling around a small rocky island where we spotted bright blue and yellow fish. There were also orange and white striped clown fish as well that looked exactly like Nemo!

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We were served fresh coconut and pineapple all day long and the sun was incredibly hot I must have slathered on a few layers of sunscreen before the day was over. Then a big lunch of chicken, fried potatoes and rice filled our bellies as we basked in the cool shade of the sky-high palm trees.

I would’ve stayed there forever and a day if I could…

A journey to remember 🙂