Jan 21, 2014

Posted by in Blog, Canada, Expat Life Abroad | 0 Comments

What I’ve really been up to

One quick peek at my life, and you might notice me traipsing across the countryside from west to east, living out of our Ford Explorer. You might think I’ve spent my days without a care in the world, and that my ‘holiday’ has been that of a two week vacation, on 8 months longer than most people’s usual holiday.

Well you might be right. It’s been pretty dang amazing taking a step back from the ‘real world’, stopping to enjoy life, appreciate the beauty of my home country and spend quality time with loved ones I hadn’t seen in years. Here’s a deeper look at what I’ve really been up to since leaving New Zealand in May and returning to Canada.

Exploring outdoors.

Going places I’d never been, whether that was hiking up to a glacier, circling the Valley of Five Lakes, trekking out on the sand to the most southern point in Canada on Pelee Island or racing the sun on the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton. I’ve spent so much time outdoors reconnecting with Mother Nature and that has been amazing for my soul.

IMG_9395

Appreciating history

From historic Fort Langley to the Old Quebec to the early settlements in Nova Scotia, Thom and I have put the Parks Canada Family Pass we bought to excellent use. Each place we’ve visited has been one more piece of the giant puzzle that is Canada’s past. And Canada’s past also plays a role in who I am. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to see so many different aspects of what made Canada the country of freedom and possibility that it is today.
grand pre nova scotia

Picking Apples

Hard-ass physical labour – the kind in todays cyber world not too many people know or like to do anymore.Some days we were at the farm from 8am to 8pm, sometimes in the sweltering heat of a late summer, sometimes in the rain or some mornings waiting for the frost to thaw. I was lifting and heaving apples carried in the pouch in front of me, walking around a like full term pregnant lady.

Working on the farm for the better part of two months was unlike any job I’d had before, and it really did put a lot of things into a new perspective for me. I loved seeing the process that not only the apples went through from tree to market, but the behind the scenes work that goes into all produce. It has made me a smarter consumer and for that I am grateful.

apple picking

Bartending

I was fortunate to have been hired back on a short-term basis to the job I had prior to leaving for New Zealand in 2008. I sacrificed my non-existent social life in Yarmouth, but also had to give up a few opportunities to catch up with old friends.  The hours were less than ideal working later afternoon until the wee hours of the mornings on the weekends, but I was willing to do whatever it took to save to continue travelling. Going back to a previous point in my life provided an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on the changes that I’d made and the control that I’d taken in my life. I am going forward with a new sense of power and ownership that will only propel me forward in what I have set out to accomplish.

bartending to travel

Experimenting

I have always been one for experimenting with new recipes – Thom and I love to cook and it’s not uncommon for us to spend a few hours together in the kitchen trying out a new recipe. But as of late, I’ve really taken to the whole foods movement again; getting back to basics, cutting the crap and nourishing my body with simple goodness. I’ve definitely found that it’s a fine line and quite a challenge to undertake without a home base. This is another thing that I am certainly looking forward to continuing in the future.

green smoothie

Networking

A whole new world opened up for me when I got involved with the lovely ladies at Luscious Life Design in November. Their infections energy and unconditional support has lit a fire in my belly and unleashed the entrepreneur that I never knew was inside me. I am so looking forward to spending more time with these girls this year. They say to surround yourself with positive people who build you up; I have completely found that network in these girls.

luscious life design

Helping

One of my favourite perks of having time freedom while travelling has been the opportunity to volunteer my skills and experience. It is liberating to give freely with no expectations of compensation. So the limited time I spent volunteering at the Women’s Shelter in Yarmouth just before Christmas has inspired me to continue in NZ.  I’ve already looked into what I’d have to do to help out at the Women’s Refuge in Kaitaia and plan to make volunteering a priority there as well.

gingerbread train

Developing professional skills

Since my time had not been completely dominated by work expectations, I chose to take advantage of that, to improve my skill set so that when the time comes to market myself again.  I completed a 120 hour online Teaching English Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate in August, in case I ever want to teach English overseas. I also purchased an online beginner course (“For Dummies”) in Social Media/DSLR/HTML5, which I’ve not yet completed, but intend to as one of my 52 challenges for 52 weeks this year.

Indulging in personal development

Not only have I been continuing with profession development, but also working on clearing my mind and refocusing so that I function optimally. The number of motivational videos, audios and books I’ve devoured in the past few months has continually increased.

So beyond road-tripping, site-seeing and all the other typical “holiday” activities, this year has been pretty amazing for me.  I’ve really gotten in tune with what I want (and don’t want) in my lifestyle. I’ve figured out my priorities. Now my challenge lies in making it all a reality. I have a vision, I have a plan. The journey is to step outside my comfort zone and make it happen.

 

 

 

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