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Tuesday, 6 May 2014


I set out to see the world, explore new places and meet new people. I set myself a goal to visit 30 countries before turning 30 years old. Just a few months after turning 28, I have reached my goal. I have visited, toured and even lived in some amazing corners of the world. Each time I explore a new place I fall more and more in love with travel and I become more and more confused as to where and if I will ever make one place a home. My long term goal is to settle in the Caribbean...I just have no idea when this will happen. I have days where I think for sure I want my Island lifestyle back asap and I will go next year after my contract in Italy is completed. Other days I can’t imagine leaving Europe and at times I miss the complete foreignness of living in a country like Indonesia where everything is so unfamiliar. This brings on the desire to move somewhere drastically different like Kenya or Nepal. Other moments I'm drawn to life in the Middle East. See why I’m confused? The only thing I do know is that I will never stop looking for adventure and I can't wait to see where my next 30 countries bring me!

Check out my photos below to see the thirty countries I have traveled through (in no specific order) and the highlights of each adventure.

A Spring break trip during University with one of my best friends. A week of fun and sun! We explored Havana, toured a rum and cigar factory and danced our hearts out at a local club on my 22nd Birthday.

My first taste of the Caribbean at the age of 15. With close family friends I spent a week enjoying an all inclusive resort. My first trip outside of Canada and the US. Possibly where I was infected with the travel bug!

A High School trip at 18 years old and my first time visiting Europe. We made our way to the top of Mount Pilatus where we had views of the Lucerne Region. A second trip brought me from the South to the North on a beautiful drive through the Alps and countryside.

A High School trip at 18 years old. We visited the Swarovski Crystal Factory and sang loudly and proudly on a bus as we drove through the Hills.

A solo trip to Barcelona which easily became one of my favourite cities. I befriended a group of teachers at my hostel and ended up spending the weekend with them. We saw the main sights, enjoyed some tapas and soaked in the sun on the beautiful Spanish beaches. A second trip to Spain with my family was spent sight seeing and experiencing local cuisines. Barcelona is a strong contender for a possible future home!
A road trip with an old friend brought me around most of the country stopping in the bigger cities as well as smaller villages. A truly authentic Irish experience made for a memorable trip and one that can't be recreated by being a tourist. Sampling Guinness in Dublin, hiking the shores of Galway, driving the twisty roads of the West Coast and enjoying small town life in Cork were just a few highlights of this trip.
The best two years of my life were spent living on the beautiful Island of Grand Bahama. A beachfront condo, terrific friends, boating, island hopping, countless days of sunshine and living my life outdoors. This was truly the time of my life and shaped what I want and will work towards for my future. Diving, tanning, friendly locals and sipping rum on Island time is definitely my type of happiness!
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai to the Islands in the South. A trip that brought me to a floating market, a visit to the Bridge over the River Kwai, a cobra show, a lady boy show, a trip to the Golden Triangle, a boat ride down the Mekong River, visiting the hill tribes of the North, standing at the border of Burma, working with sick elephants, island hopping and visits to beautiful temples made for one of my best solo trips yet! 

A short but sweet stop in Laos. A day spent shopping in the markets, chatting with locals, lunch on the river and sampling various types of local whiskey (including one with a dead cobra floating inside). 

An ATV ride through the jungle, climbing ancient Mayan Ruins, walking the beautiful streets of Playa Del Carmen, a riffle shooting class, swimming and crawling in some of the largest cenotes in the country, zip-lining across jungle canopy, meeting a local bush medicine man, kayaking through mangroves, abseiling a cliff, and beaching in the beautiful Mayan Riviera. 

I've had multiple trips to the States over the years. Numerous shopping trips to NY with my Mom, several weekend getaways to Florida while living in the Bahamas. A fun few days in California and a day of sightseeing in NYC. I know many trips back to my old neighbour are in my future.
Two fun filled weekends in Kuala Lumpur visiting a friend and touring the Batu Caves, eating stingray at the Jalan Alor night market, getting attacked by a monkey, touring the city by motorbike, visiting the Petronas Towers and sharing fun party nights with great friends.

A weekend visiting a friend from home and sharing in traditional Swedish meals, walking the city, drinking at the ice bar and dancing to Abba at a local bar.

Almost six months of living and teaching in London and meeting some amazing people. Day trips to Bath, Windsor, Stonehenge, Canterbury, Dover, Brighton, Leeds, Oxford and enjoying all that London  has to offer. High tea, bike rides through Hyde Park, shopping on Oxford St. Christmas markets throughout the city, local pub nights, Sundays touring museums and the list goes on. This is definitely a place I may call home again one day. 

A winter trip to the beautiful, cold, dark and majestic land in the North. A day spent whale watching, a night soaking in the Blue Lagoon, a hunt for the Northern Lights and few hours of day light each day touring the cozy city of Reykjavik. 

I don't count countries that I've had layovers in unless I'm out of the airport and have time to explore. In the case of Seoul I was lucky enough to have a 12 hour layover and meet up with a childhood friend I hadn't seen in about 17 years. We ate traditional Korean food, climbed to a look out point where we had amazing views of the city and enjoyed walking around the beautiful and clean streets of Seoul.

My first trip to Paris was with my friend Kelley and her husband, Jean Marc. We stayed with JM's Mom who was an amazing hostess. We took a ferry from London and drove through a snowstorm to the incredibly beautiful Versailles. We spent a snowy and cold weekend enjoying Versailles and Paris and I absolutely fell in love with the city (another possible contender on my list of places to live!). A recent trip through France with my parents and their friends brought us to Mountpellier for a night and three nights in gorgeous Nice where we enjoyed the sunny French Riviera.

I celebrated my 28th birthday with friends in the beautiful city of Budapest. We enjoyed a morning at a fish market, an afternoon of relaxing in the outdoor thermal baths, an evening on a river cruise and a night of partying at the incredibly fun ruin bars. This is a city that ranks high on my list of favourites!

Germany is one of my favourite countries and I've had four fantastic trips to this place I love so much. A High School trip brought me to Frankfurt, Munich, The Black Forest and Heidelberg amongst other places. We toured the Dachau Concentration Camp, made a trip to the Rhine Falls and toured the Neuschwanstein Castle. Another trip brought me to the best Christmas markets ever! A weekend of Christmasy adventures with great friends in the magical small city of Nuremberg. My most recent trip was the best one yet. Along with my parents and their friends we spent a few days in Baden Baden - my parents' ol' stomping grounds. We stayed on the old Canadian base, visited my parents' old landlords and I got to see all of the places I had heard so many stories of growing up.

Three separate visa trips and a Birthday weekend in one of my favourite places. I spent time touring Little India, exploring the fancy Raffles Hotel and Marina Bay Sands, market shopping in Chinatown, spending fun filled days on Sentosa Island and celebrating my birthday in the beautiful outdoor nightlife scene. 

A Christmas filled weekend of markets, mulled wine, Belgian beer, mussels, chocolate and exploring Brussels and the fairytale city of Bruges.

A trip to visit one of my closest friends in Warsaw. We drank mulled wine while walking around the Old Town. We ate delicious perogies at the Christmas markets and we got caught in the pouring rain. A beautiful place I would love to visit again someday.

A weekend of sightseeing in the very expensive city of Oslo included as many free activities as possible - walks through parks, touring museums and seeing the famous 'Scream' painting, a stop to see Viking ships, trying local Norwegian food and enjoying the nightlife.

My True North, Strong and Free. I spent almost 23 years in this beautiful place and no matter where I am in the world, Canada will always be my home. I have lived in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and various parts of Ontario. I have family scattered across the country and am incredibly proud to call this peaceful country my home.
An Autumn trip brought me to Northern Scotland where I took a boat ride in search of Nessie, toured castle ruins, ate haggis in Inverness and enjoyed Scottish music at local pubs.

Twelve months of living in Jakarta allowed me time to explore some of this amazingly diverse country in South East Asia. I explored the Island of Java that was my home for the year with trips to ancient temples, hikes through the jungle, a visit to an exotic baby animal nursery, and experiencing the daily excitement of life in Jakarta. I also had trips to the famous Krakatoa volcano, had surf lessons in Bali and met with Ketut the medicine man in Ubud.

One of my all time favourite countries and one I would go back to in a heartbeat. Some of the many highlights on this solo trip included a stay in Ho Chi Minh where I ventured through this incredible city and toured some very interesting markets. I almost lost my life countless times trying to simply cross the road. I toured the Cu Chi war tunnels and shot an AK-47. I sailed along the Mekong and stopped at various islands to fish, eat, and take a local boat on a crocodile hunt. I met victims of Agent Orange and toured their Art factory. I helped make coconut candy in an Island factory and I rode a horse and carriage through a tiny fishing village.

Italy has been my favourite country since my first trip when I was 18. Now that I live here I have fallen even more in love with the culture, food and landscapes that surround me. I have traveled fairly extensively throughout the Northern and central part of the country and cannot wait to start exploring the South.

I was very fortunate to be sent to Lisbon for a three day IB education workshop. Not only was the workshop incredible, but it was hosted in such a vibrant and exciting city. Although my sightseeing time was somewhat limited, I manged to check out the city beaches, try local cuisines, have sangria with new friends, participate in a 'Hippo Hippo' boat/land tour and made connections with teachers/admin from around the world! I also had my reoccurring thoughts of "I could easily live here!"

Andorra is a majestic little country sandwiched between France and Spain. This was my 30th country and I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful place with my parents and their friends. We drove up through twisty mountain roads that soon turned snowy and then drove down the other side until we reached a valley where this little country is nestled. We spent time walking around the capital of Andorra la Vella, found a local beer tasting pub, enjoyed sangria and paella and took a tour of Europe's largest spa. 


The past five years I have traveled solo, with family, with friends and with strangers who turned into friends. I've had adventures that were incredible, tiring, frightening, eyeopening and life changing. I've gained such a deeper appreciation for where I come from and the opportunities I am presented with. I have also become a much more open minded person and aim to surround myself with positive, open minded people.

What have I sacrificed to have this lifestyle? Mainly, time with my family and friends. I've missed out on holidays, weddings, baby showers, births, and milestones in loved ones lives. I've also faced some of my own milestones alone. These are the only sacrifices that have been incredibly difficult. Thankfully I’m able to get home an average of twice a year and I’ve also had many visitors during my time abroad.

Much smaller things I've missed out on are the iPhone craze (in fact, I went two years in the Bahamas without a phone and my current phone I won in a costume contest in Jakarta), I have yet to independently buy my first car, have never owned a home, I don't own a television, I am still paying student loans and I really don't own anything more than what will fit in a few suitcases. I am always behind on music, TV shows and movies and am shocked every time I go home and see the changes in my small home town. I choose plane tickets over expensive gadgets, I choose hostels/cheap hotels over luxury and I choose entering the unknown instead of staying in the familiar. I do all of this because it's what I love. In place of all of the 'things' that I don't have, I do have countless memories and experiences from around the globe. I have yet to learn about mortgages, car payments, taxes (bonus to living in tax free countries over the years) and retirement savings. Let's be honest, I would be lost if I was forced to settle and figure out how to live a life at home. I'm sure those lessons will find me in time, but for now I've learned/am learning not to sweat the small things,  be patient, live more simply, enjoy life, worry less, accept that things don't always go as planned and be thankful daily for what I have. I've also learned that there are negative people everywhere, but, for every unkind person I've met on my travels I've probably met ten or more with welcoming arms. A friendly face and kind heart can be found around every corner and the world is not nearly as scary as some may believe it to be.

Seek adventure in whatever form makes you happy!

Cheers to my next thirty countries! Where do you think I should travel next? Comment below and don't forget to follow me for the latest travel updates.


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