I’m Homeless, but I’m Happy

10 12 2008

399985221_f07aa41989_mWhere am I going to live upon arrival? That is the ultimate question everyone seems to be seeking an answer too – my parents, my friends, my coworkers and obviously myself.  The answer is simple – I dunno.

I have spent countless hours searching countless sites for places to live in London.  But truth be told – it really doesn’t matter! It’s not like I can drive over and look at the place to see if I like it.  I can’t really reserve it either since I’d have to pay a months rent without even living there  – I arrive Jan 15th, 2009.  Also, I want to find a job first, so that I can narrow my search options around it.  So, the reality is – I’m homeless. And?

I’m still happy!

I get to go on this great adventure I know I’ll never forget! I’m not necessarily worried about finding a place – I know I will.  A hostel will suffice in the meantime.  Living in a hostel for a week or so will be more than enough motivation to help me find a place faster! They aint cheap!

I understand why everyone is worried – especially my folks – having to send their youngest daughter away to a foreign country, jobless, homeless and friendless.  I even understand the curious/crazy looks I get from friends when I tell them I have no idea where I will be living or working.  The point is I know I WILL be working, and most of all I WILL be living.





Reality Bites

8 11 2008

im_alive_02Good news.  I’m alive.  

Bad news.  It’s all starting to sink in.

The honeymoon period of my love affair with England has ended, sort of.  It’s all starting to sink in.  The fact that I may not be making snow angels this winter, and the fact that my mom will not be brining over home made food when my fridge runs dry.  

I purchased a one-way, non-refundable ticket to London, England for January 14th, 2009.  I’m going.  There’s no turning back, and I’m scared.  The reason I have not updated my blog in the past weeks, or even read other people’s blogs, is because I’m a wuss.  I didn’t want to read about other people’s adventures while I sit curled up in the corner of my room breathing into a paper bag.

The fact is, I’ve bought my ticket, I’ve bought my travel insurance, I’ve bought my travel backpack (a Deuter – thank you Barry for your help), my rain jacket, my visa and in return I’ve sold my sanity.  I remember being so excited for this trip, and I know somewhere deep inside I still really am, but it’s being clouded by fears and anxiety.  Reality – I won’t have a job.  I won’t have a place to live.  However, despite all of that, I STILL somehow know that it is the right decision for me to make.

Anyways, enough with that.  Now you all know why I have ignored you all for the past few weeks.  Now I promise that I will spend the next few hours sitting on my computer updating myself on all your blogs and adventures.  Before I ramble on further about my past few weeks I would like to give a BIG shout out to Matt from Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site (you know why buddy, and p.s. we won)

So, what have I been doing the past couple of weeks? Working. Sleeping. Spending money I don’t have (another thing that makes me anxious). Watching WAAAAY too much Battlestar Galactica (don’t diss it if you haven’t watched it…the show is liquid cocaine). Catching up with friends.  And that pretty much sums it up.  Not a bad gig.

My best friend is now home from South Korea.  Unfortunately, for me anyways, she is leaving again in December for a long time.  She loves it there, and I don’t blame her.  On the bright side, the tickets to Seoul from London are cheaper than from Toronto.  

Thank you all for checking in on me! I’m alive, and I plan on being a better blogger.  I promise.  I just need to get to England so something exciting will happen 🙂





Top 5 Things To Do In Dundas, Ontario

13 08 2008

In a population of 20,000, where half of the land is farmland, and everyone knows everyone else on a first name basis, it becomes unusually difficult to find something exciting to do. So, I went on a hunt. I figured I’m going to be here for ~4months, so I may as well make the most of it. In Toronto there was constantly something new going on, always a festival of some sort – you never really had to go and seek fun out by yourself, it would usually find you. In Dundas, this is not the case.

Here are some of the “fun” things that I could possibly do while living in Dundas:

  1. Go Skydiving
  • How could I not have thought of this before? Just over the highway we have a skydiving school! Swoop is it’s name. I have always wanted to go skydiving. I even came really close to it one time for my 22nd birthday – but then I chickened out. I haven’t even signed up for it, but just sitting here writing about it is actually making me nervous. Could it be any worse than dropping your whole life and moving to England? About on par I’d say. I’m in.

2. Hike the Dundas Valley Trails

  • As much as I hate on Dundas all the time, I must admit; it is beautiful. The escarpment is pretty much right in my back yard and there are a million hiking and cycling trails all throughout the town. After falling off my bike and injuring myself pretty badly one year (I also developed an allergy to band aids after my fall – go figure), I’ve been kind of cautious to go biking through the same rough trails. Again, could it be any worse than dropping your whole life and moving to England? I’m in.

3. Dundas Cactus Festival

  • Although this is something you can only do once a year, I am lucky that I am going to be in town when this festival is going on. 2 weeks from now, “downtown” Dundas will be transformed into a major carnival with rides, games, buskers, trinket sellers and all the beaver tails you could possibly inhale. The Cactus is the official symbol of Dundas – why you ask? I have no idea, since I have never even seen said cactus in Dundas. Cactus Fest is really a big high school reunion for me – it will be great to see old friends at the one local bar (where we will mostly likely than not all pack in like sardines and drink like the fish we are), and which coincidently is named “The Thirsty Cactus.” I’m in.

4. Golf

  • To be honest, I’m not a golfer. I would be lying if I said I was even a mini putter. I have absolutely no patience for this sport. (Is it a sport?) I end up getting so frustrated, that I resort to my humble European upbringing and end up kicking the golf ball, soccer-style, into the hole. With that said, Dundas actually has some ridiculously nice golf courses. One being right in my backyard. When I was younger, I used to hop the fence and steal the golf balls people would leave behind. So, instead of playing golf, I plan on going back to my childhood roots, gathering up some of my old “peeps” (perhaps I can scout them out at the Cactus Fest), and hop this fence once again. Sweet! I’m in.

5. Carnegie Gallery

  • Hmmm. I have not once stepped foot in this beautiful Gallery. Of this, I am ashamed. I have driven past it many times, wondering what was inside, never daring to actually go in. I always felt a little out of place in these types of settings. I had a hard time imaging myself as an “art connoisseur.” I think I’ve become a lot of things that I never thought I was, or never thought I’d become. I think it’s about time to step inside and take a look. I’m in.




And So It Begins

3 08 2008

I’M FREE!

If you had been walking down Yonge & Eglinton on July 31, 2008, you would’ve heard me shout that repeatedly on my way home after my last day as a corporate pleb. On the outside I was thrilled, but on the inside I felt mixed emotions. Even though I would have rather gnawed my own arm off and beat myself with it than stay at that job one day longer, I will miss the people that I have made such close connections with. I will miss the morning coffee walks, I will miss my softball team (although I really wasn’t good enough for them to miss me), I will miss the after work socials and I will miss being able to walk to work.

Maybe I needed this in order to realize that the business world is not for me. Maybe I will need this trip in order to realize that maybe it really is. I have no idea what the next few years in my life have in store and that makes me excited! There are no more plans, no more set expectations, no more guidelines on how to live your life! Does being this independent mean I am truly a grown up now? Or does that mean that I’ve actually never grown up and am still living in the mindset of an 18 year old? Either way, it doesn’t matter. The beige walls of the 3 paneled cubicle are no longer closing in around me, and I am no longer finding myself being put to sleep by the eerie buzz of my computer screen.

There is one thing, however, that I am finding the most difficult to part with. LACK OF FUNDS! That magical paycheck that appeared in my bank account every 2 weeks is no longer in existence. I find that I now have to consciously think about that extra non-fat vanilla latte, that movie that I don’t necessarily have to see and those jeans that I already have enough of.

I have officially closed one chapter in my life to start another. However, before I can do that, the reality of moving back into my childhood home still needs to settle. Being in Dundas this past weekend, and waking up on my single bed in my tiny room felt like a nightmare. There are perks however – breakfast in the mornings via mother, access to a vehicle at all times and not having to rely on the Toronto Transit System, knowing almost every single person in town and CABLE! (A luxury when you’re living in downtown Toronto).

August 10th, 2008 – my official move date back to Dundas, Ontario. I have yet to start packing. It’s amazing the amount of things you can fit in a 600 sq. foot apartment. It’s amazing the amount of things you didn’t even know you had in a 600 sq. foot apartment! Everyday a new drawer of some sort is opened to reveal something new. It’s like your birthday everyday! Except most of these things are completely useless, however, you still feel a need to hang on to them regardless of the fact that you forgot they even existed over this past year.

So freedom is just around the corner. I just have to dig my out of my apartment to get there first.





A Love Letter

25 07 2008

Travel?

Are you there? Can you hear me?

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I’ve called you all those bad names – like expensive and lonely. I really didn’t mean it. I just wanted to let you know that I love you and that I can’t live without you.

As the days pass by my love for you continues to grow. We have spent many days together, both laughing and crying. You have always welcomed me with open arms and accepted my differences. You are the one I dream about.

I thought after I left you would fade away from my mind, but still everyday I think of our time together. I need you and I miss you when you’re gone. You are always in my mind and in my heart no matter the distance between us.

It’s been so long since we’ve reconnected. But I’m telling you now that the wait is over; I am ready to become a part of your life again just like you have always been a part of mine.

I promise to always love you.

Q: Does a traveler ever feel at “home” in any one place? Or are they always seeking the next adventure and reminiscing about the others?




Don’t Get Fired!

22 07 2008
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

in·spired
–adjective
1. aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence
2. something of which I am not

Not by my current situation at least.

I have always been more of an “out the box” thinker. A “to-do” list always seemed to start well and fail, as I would never look at the page again after writing it. Class lecture notes inevitably had more scribbles and doodles on them than actual notes. My mind was always racing, always thinking. How could I escape “to-do” lists and not have to rely on anyones notes but my own? The answer was right there. Quit your job.

So I did.

Senioritis is apparently developed by showcasing a lack of motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school careers. Or in my case – my full-time career. Although I have already put in my notice of resignation it does not mean I am immune from being fired on the spot, without notice, without my 2 weeks, without being able to say my goodbyes. This is something I am trying to avoid, but as the days count down it is getting increasingly difficult. Today’s schedule consisted of the following: stroll in late, get a coffee, run into VP who knows you are currently playing hooky from a mandatory meeting, surf other travel blogs, send out a few work emails, conduct phone interview with my movie store manager (see: The Beginning of the End July 2008), answer another million questions about my decision to move abroad and try to prove to everyone around me that I am not experiencing a temporary episode of insanity. Whew. All in a days work.

There was once a time in which I wanted nothing more but to prove myself in the working world. Being a woman in business in tough. Don’t let anyone try to fool you by saying that equal opportunities are awarded now. Lies. Women still must work harder to earn respect. Maybe, that’s where my priorities changed. I was tired of trying to prove myself. Why can’t I just be satisfied in knowing that I AM good enough? At the end of the day I don’t want to wake up and think, “I made Company XYZ $1M!….now what?”

Instead, I want nothing more than to wake up in the morning, cuddle with my big stuffed red elephant (conveniently named Red Elephant), and not have to think anymore about that job that just doesn’t seem to want to end.

Q: Have you ever thought about switching career paths? What has stopped you?

P.S. I will be leaving questions related to my blog at the end of each posting. Feel free to post comments and discuss. I promise I’m not snobby and will read and try to respond to all of you.





The Beginning of the End

14 07 2008

What: Leaving for ~1+ years to live/work abroad

When: January 2009

Where: London, United Kingdom

Who: Myself (and Luke [my bf] and Lauren [his sister])

Why: Because we want to.

How: By Plane (duh!)

My Mates,

As I sit here in my unexciting, beige, 3 walled hole (also read: cubicle), I cannot help by count down the days until freedom – July 31st, 2008.

After graduation, I did the most logical thing – I found a job in my respective field and began life as a grown-up. However, right before I began my alternative life I traveled to Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece) for a month with Kylie [my best friend since childhood]. I also fell in love. With Europe. So, you can imagine how depressing it was to come back only to find myself sitting in aforementioned hole staring mindlessly at a buzzing rectangle all day. I was love sick.

After about a year, I decided to finally pull the chute and reconnect with my long lost love. However, I wanted an authentic adventure. I didn’t want to just experience. I wanted to live.

I made my decision – I was going somewhere I have not yet visited to live/work, and also – to travel around the rest of Europe on my time off. London, UK seemed the most logical place to be based out of for a number of reasons:

  1. I already understood the language (perhaps not the slang..but that will come in time)
  2. Jobs are plentiful
  3. Plane tickets are cheap
  4. There is lots to do/see

At that time, Luke and I decided we were going to embark on this adventure together. Yay! Cheaper rent! (and obviously I enjoy his company). Next, his sister Lauren decided she is also going to embark on this adventure with us. Yay! Even cheaper rent! (and I obviously enjoy her company as well…at least I think I will…I haven’t exactly met her yet…but I’m sure she is wonderful).

The Beginning of my End:

  • July 31st, 2008 – My life ends as a pleb in the Canadian working field.
  • August 1st, 2008 – My first day of freedom. Unfortunately, offset by the fact that I must now live at my parents house for the next 5 months while I arrange all of the intricacies of living/working abroad.
  • Beginning September, 2008 – 2 weeks in Russia with mother. Posts to come.
  • Mid September, 2008 – My first day back as a care-free customer service rep in my hometown movie store. (I hear you judging, but hey, I need something to pass the time, and a few extra $ never hurt anyone).
  • January 2009 – My life begins again.

In the meantime – check out all the cool things over to the right (points right) and below (points down). They are cool.

P.S. This video is awesome. This guy got famous by doing a ridiculous dance in many parts of the world with the country locals. I am jealous. But, fear not! I will come up with something equally as ridiculous and equally as entertaining to do consistently on my travels.