In Canada/ Confessions/ Travel

Solo Travel: What travelling alone taught me!

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Okay so if you’ve ever spoken to me in person for any length of time, you’ll almost definitely know that I spent time in Canada last year and that I’m Canadian. Here’s the story of how I ended up on my first solo travel adventure:

Basically what happened is that I’d always regretted not taking a gap year; travelling around the world, working etc. etc.-you get the picture. Apparently, the universe agreed and I contracted glandular fever and missed a load of uni.

Obviously, I was completely fine and am really lucky that it was nothing serious… However, it did mean that I had to take a year out of my course and as soon as I was better, I finally got to have that gap year I’d always wanted! (and spend days like the one below…)

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Deciding on where to take my first solo travel trip!

As I’d never been away on my own before, my parents suggested Canada as I could start the trip getting to know my family out there and if I decided to stay longer, I could find a job etc. So yes, the beginning of my trip was a bit of a cheat- but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

So anyway, in May 2014 I bought my one-way plane ticket and was super nervous/ excited. The day before I left, this happened, and it really just furthered my resolve to go away and see the world… Upon my arrival to customs, I presented my shiny new Canadian passport and was greeted with a ‘Welcome Home’- cue me almost bursting into tears. What had I done? 

My aunt and uncle collected me from the airport and I spent the next couple of months travelling around Quebec and Ontario, visiting relatives I didn’t even know I had… By the time July rolled around, I felt confident enough to go off and do my own thing…

The first week of solo travel!

I spent the first week whilst I was applying for jobs wwoofing on a farm near Drummondville and learnt a crazy amount about organic farming. This is an experience that I would definitely recommend as this is in exchange for a few hours work each day, you receive free room and board.

Miraculously, the second job I applied to (and the one I wanted the most) called me back almost straight away and, soon enough, I was on a bus for an overnight stop in Toronto, before embarking on a bus to the middle of nowhere in order to commence my job in Algonquin National Park:

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The working as a female solo travel novice begins!

I was picked up in Huntsville, so nervous that I was actually shaking and I was about to go and live in a log cabin, in the middle of nowhere with a load of strangers?! I spent the next few months working as a housekeeper in one of the only resorts inside the boundaries of Algonquin National Park (the park itself is a quarter of the size of Belgium)!

It was over an hours drive to the nearest town. There was no mobile signal, no internet, one radio station and I spoke to my family once a month via a payphone in the office. And yet. And yet, it was the best summer of my life so far.

When I wasn’t at work, there were campfires, swimming in the lake, portaging, canoeing, kayaking, hiking (such as on the Mizzy Lake Trail). I could go on and yet it still wouldn’t be adequate enough to describe the summer I had… I saw a ton of wildlife, painted turtles, chipmunks, moose, bears and witnessed some of the prettiest sunsets/ sunrises of my life.

Long story cut short, along the way, I met a whole load of amazing people (many of whom I’ve kept in contact with) 🙂 and realized that I can go off and do my own thing and it will work out. Here’s to future trips!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Gemma
    23rd February 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I live in the USA and I’m pretty adept to traveling solo within my country. I just booked a trip to London/Paris/Amsterdam/Iceland solo in May and I am quite nervous already! Don’t be surprised if you get questions from me via social media (and maybe to calm my nerves a bit!).

    So thankful for ALL of your posts – I’m using them to plan my trip!!

    Xo

  • Reply
    Alex
    11th February 2018 at 3:30 am

    Algonquin is a provincial park, not national.
    Still awesome, though 🙂

  • Reply
    www.nhatrangtoday.vn
    7th September 2017 at 9:08 am

    You also get knowledge from traveling. I ever confused that problem. Traveling or schooling? Which thing is more important?Finally, I choose raveling and I never regret for my decision.

  • Reply
    rebecca
    25th March 2016 at 3:06 am

    Sounds like the perfect gap year! Ive always wanted to do one. Im visiting Canada in july, so excited 🙂

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