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…)
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:
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!