I was 22, sitting in Geography class somewhere in Montreal, twirling my hair and wondering how I could change the world. A group of people suddenly walked in; they seemed to be jumping around and talking about something called “adventure tourism” where they shared stories about helping endangered wildlife in Central America and going bungee jumping all at the same time. It seemed fascinating, it seemed like a piece of the puzzle I was looking for; and most of all, it felt like something I could do. To this day I’ve never bungee jumped, but what drew me in was the part about being somewhere far away and being with people who wanted to help somewhere that needed help. And I haven’t looked back ever since.
My friends from my hometown didn’t think I would do it. I rambled on for a year about doing a volunteer project in my place of choice: Costa Rica. It didn’t work out that first summer because I graduated, moved out of my parents house and was invited to road-trip with two of my best girlfriends across California and had no more funds at the end of it all. 11 months later, I made it happen. I bought a plane ticket to Costa Rica, with a stop in Belize along the way, and I was off on my first backpacking adventure. “Oh, there’s no stopping her now”, some of those friends said.
They were right.
After three years of teaching English in South Korea, four months of backpacking solo around Mainland China, another four volunteering in the sweetest little Chinese city in the world, a short stint living in Beijing and fulfilling my dream of becoming a travel writer, being stuck in beautiful and balmy cities like Hong Kong waiting for passports and visas, backpacking around South East Asia, Central Asia and Europe with lots of pit-stops in between and along the way, I made the road my life. I didn’t plan it; things just worked out that way.
And oh yeah, I spent that month in Costa Rica learning about the truths behind “eco-tourism” and sustainable travel and ending that trip staying in my first hostel, wandering the wilderness of Monteverde by myself before hopping on a tiny plane to Belize. I took the James Bus to Punta Gorda and spent two weeks with my marine biologist friend meeting the locals of this tiny Belizean town. I hung out in the houses, I drank rum and cokes in the local bars and expat bars, and snorkelled with marine biologists along the barrier reef. I realized travel isn’t what most people tell you how it is, and that it doesn’t have to be hard, or impossible, or some sort of untouchable feat.
Along the way, I’ve learned that buying everything that is marketed to you isn’t the way. I learned that hopping a plane doesn’t always solve your problems. I learned that starting a life on the other side of the world is harder in ways you would have never expected, and simpler for reasons you didn’t know existed.
Are you a first -time backpacker? Looking to teach English abroad? Going on a short-trip to a beautiful new city? Vegetarian? Coffee drinker? Animal lover? Feel free to browse my site for stories, tips, tricks, and guides on travel.
When is your next adventure?