It’s time to reminisce.
It has been exaclty a year and a half now since I began the adventure of a lifetime. The memory of my departure from Canada still sits so vividly in my mind.
I had held myself together pretty well as I packed my bags to head off on my adventure. Not long out of high school and only six weeks past my eighteenth birthday, I was ready to tackle the big wide world. I worked hard to save up for these travels, spending my final year of high school working two jobs, not much time off. Not much partying like the rest of the kids. But I don’t regret that.
My parents and siblings all came with me to Vancouver to see me off, not knowing when I would return. We caught the ferry from Vancouver Island to the mainland, then went to East Side Marios- My favourite restaurant- for lunch. My flight was at 6pm, but I had to be at the airport by 4pm. We finished lunch then headed over to drop me off. The clock kept ticking closer to the departure of my first overseas flight, my first solo adventure. The clock kept ticking closer to the time I would have to say goodbye. Unfortunately the clock was ticking faster than I realized and I had to run to the check-in with not much time to spare. I was cutting it extremely close to the check-in cut-off.
As I checked in, I kept looking over my shoulder, waiting for Dad to come. He had gone to park the car, and my time was running out. I had no fear about leaving home for the first time, no fear of my arrival and what would happen in New Zealand. My only fear was that if he didn’t find a spot quickly enough, I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye. Luckily, my dad never fails, and he got there in time. Part of me is grateful that I only had a couple minutes to bid farewell to my family, as I definitely couldn’t hold myself together. I bawled like a baby, like a child going to their first day of school, not wanting to let go of their parents. I did let go though, because I knew there was no way I could not go on this trip.
New Zealand was all I had imagined, and more! It was an incredible year, and I could not have asked for more. It’s hard to believe it has been six months since I left there. There was never a shortage of adventure.
On the North Island, whether it was cruising Northland in Lil Red, on my own, skydiving 16000 feet, or exploring dark and glowing Waitomo Caves with my new found Kiwi mate, Andy, I had a blast. There was the day I tried to save a little kitten, while on a road in the middle of nowhere– I just realized recently that it was probably feral. The Coromandel was beautiful, and I had great fun adventuring there with another Canadian I had met, Audrey. We ended up living together for the second half of the year I even hiked an active volcano!
On the South Island I never ceased to be amazed by everything I saw. Camping in unreal locations, waking up to views that I hadn’t thought possible. Winding though the mountains, snow capped peaks, and green sheep-filled fields below. Living in Queenstown, a place where so many people dream of visiting, where I bungy jumped 134 metres and managed to not pee my pants. Watching 25, 000 chocolate jaffa balls roll down the steepest street in the world. The scenery every where I went was spectacular and the people I met were all fascinating. My heart soars a bit every time I think back on that year of my life. I may have struggled, it may not have been as easy as I though it would be, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my time there.
The past six months in Australia have shaped into an adventure as great as New Zealand’s. I arrived with only $300 to my name, but I was determined to make it work. I got a gob in Sydney straight away and worked, and lived in a beautiful city, and met many beautiful people. I had never lived in a hostel in New Zealand, spent a few weeks in one, yes, but had never considered one home, not like my Sydney hostel. That place was my home, and the others who lived there were my very large, very crazy, and very supportive family.
I got to see the famous Giant Duck when it was in Sydney. I saw The New Years fireworks display over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it was amazing! I spent hot days relaxing on white-sand beaches. I even got to be on a guest-list to see The Killers (Thanks to an awesome friend)! Saying goodbye to my Sydney family was the hardest goodbye I have had to say since leaving Canada. I was thrown an awesome party and spent my last night in the city surrounded by amazing people.
I headed to the outback, where my first job was a bust. Back on the East Coast I travelled down with a couple friends where we had a “Wolf Creek” like experience that turned into a brilliant week. It wasn’t long before I had landed the amazing job I am currently in, working in the outback. This is by far the best job I have ever had!
I spend my days running around with the nine year old I tutor, chasing kangaroos on quads, getting up close and personal with wild emus, pig hunting with the neighbours, and rounding up cows on horseback.
I didn’t think I would ever be able to compare Australia with New Zealand, but after being in the outback, being so free, and in a place where I feel very in my element, I am loving life. It’s not as action packed, it’s not as adrenaline pumping, but it is a very good life. Even the simple things, like walking through mud and manure, or running in the warm rain just seem like so much more fun here.
I have met quite the characters in town here, they do goofy dances, carry ash trays of change around, and lasso people at the bar. They have all welcomed me so warmly. I was taken into a rodeo where I spent my afternoon with people I had either met two weeks earlier, or just met that day, yet I still felt as if I belonged, as if I had been friends with them all for ages. People can make or break some experiences, but the people I meet seem to all follow the pattern of showing me the best of time. It truly has been a blessing.
With my cousin and little brother arriving in Australia in late September, I have another year of travel set out for me. This time, I won’t be alone. I’ll be their guide, their travel Guru. I’m really looking forward to having some family around and am thrilled to be able to show them, and share with them, everything I can!
I have no plans to move back to Canada just yet, I can’t imagine much past more travels, more adventure, more stories yet to be created. I did however just purchase a plane ticket home. I will be returning in four months to reunite with friends and family for three weeks, before my adventures with my brother and cousin begin. Even though it is only three weeks I will be home, I plan for it to be an amazing three weeks. Make every moment count.
It’s been exactly a year and a half on the road now, and I couldn’t imagine anything better.