Jan 23, 2014

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Halifax to Montreal by Train

Halifax to Montreal by Train

The clock rolled over to 10.15am and we were all in the car, on the road; on time for once. The bags had been packed and weighed the night before. All we had to do was wake up on time, shower and eat. My Gram’s neighbor had cooked us a lovely hot breakfast of egg & sausage casserole.  We arrived in Halifax on time, checked our bags making jokes with the VIA guy about Thom’s industrial strength iPad cover. The lines were discreetly separated by destination; those stopping at smaller stations along the way made their way to the front of the train, while those of us heading to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto would be at the back. We found our place in the ever-growing line, and hung out with my family until it was time to board. With teary eyes, we waved goodbye and walked alongside our home for the next day and half, “The Ocean”. Stashing our stuff overhead, we were barely seated before a steward was at our side to give Thom the rundown on safety procedures. We made ourselves comfy and tucked into one of the many ham sandwiches my Mom and Grandmother insisted on sending with us. (They did come in handy, thanks Ma!) A friendly lady came by to check our tickets and informed us that we had access to the Dome car, located 4 cars behind us, and if we wanted to access the free wifi on board, the social car was at the front of the train, 9 cars ahead. It wasn’t long before I was off to explore this tank engine. First I took myself back to the Dome car, passing two of the sleeper berths along the way. I reminisced of my very first train trip at 16, when I went to Quebec on a summer work student exchange for 6 weeks. I remember not sleeping between Halifax and Montreal, and watching the sunrise from the dome car as we travelled east at the end of the summer. It was quiet at the back of the train. I struck up a chat with the fellow working in the snack car. I was intrigued by the shifts he worked, how long he’d been with VIA and his story in general. Before I knew it, I...

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Jan 22, 2014

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On Leaving Home, Again

On Leaving Home, Again

Standing in the kitchen, I bawled as I hugged my little sister. I hugged my pug and sobbed some more. Standing at the airport with my parents, the waterworks turned on again. When I left Nova Scotia in 2009 to study in New Zealand, I was going for one year to study, but I’d bought a one-way ticket. The chances of me coming back were pretty slim and I didn’t know when I’d be seeing my family again. As exciting as it was to be off on a new adventure at 23, it was really hard to leave. That was 5 years ago. Since then, I’d been home once, for all of 10 days. My parents and sister had come out to visit me for Christmas 2010, and while they were with me, my Grandad lost his short battle with cancer. Booking a ticket about 4 days before they were due to fly, I went with them to the airport, and also flew home for the funeral. I wasn’t going off into the unknown; I was excited to return to the life I’d created in New Zealand. I wasn’t alone either. I’m travelling with Thom and he does his best not to let me get too sad. He’ll distract, me cheer me up and focus on all the good things in life if need be. Otherwise, he just gives me a big squeeze of a hug when I need it. But it’s not very often that it even comes to that. Things were different. Still around the same time of year, and I was saying the goodbyes all over again after spending just several months being near family and friends. And saying ‘see ya later’ to each of them still sucked. This time, though there were a few tears at the train station, our departure was filled with smiles, laughs and hugs. My grandmother joined us, as she and my parents were on their way to Florida after they left us. Although it’s never easy to leave my family, it’s something I’m used to doing. It comes with the territory of leaving your comfort zone, something I’ve been doing since I was 16. I’m so grateful that my parents raised me to be independent and encouraged me to go off and try new things...

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Jan 21, 2014

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What I’ve really been up to

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...

Jan 14, 2014

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Saving money to travel

Saving money to travel

“Oh, what a tough life you’ve got” and “you’re so lucky” are two common responses I get when telling people about our plans to travel home (across Canada, to Hawaii, then to Fiji). It’s easy  to believe I’m lucky. People don’t particularly want to hear that I’m hardworking – maybe it’s just easier to discount that, because they too are hard working, but still it’s not happening to them. Like most other long-term travelers, I had a fire...

Jan 12, 2014

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Fear and Opportunities: Why Life Outside My Comfort Zone?...

Fear and Opportunities: Why Life Outside My Comfort Zone?

I’m happiest when I live my life outside my comfort zone. I get myself into ridiculous situation, but I usually land on my feet. It’s not always comfortable, but it works for me. It’s taken a long while and a bit of reflection to realise this. I also realise how easy it can be to slip back into that comfort, to quickly become stagnant without even realising it, and I don’t want that. I’ve set myself 52 challenges...

Jan 11, 2014

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52 Challenges for 52 Weeks

52 Challenges for 52 Weeks

You hear it all the time, the new years resolutions that flow from December through January, grasping for a ‘fresh start’. And then for the next 10 months you hear nothing about them again. This year I’ve resolved only to design a life that I am completely and honestly in love with, by doing more of what makes me happy. A big part of achieving that, is identifying what I want and then making it happen. The idea...