paradise valley canadian rockies, canada

I’ve Got Fernweh!

fernweh

I’m always dreaming about travel – reading numerous blog posts and magazines in search of bites of information and inspiration. All it takes is a pretty photograph of some far flung paradise and my heart begins to ache for adventure.

So, just like when I began this blog a few years ago and was working towards making long-term travel happen, which culminated in me travelling solo around Canada for five months in 2012, I’ve decided to start planning the next epic adventure. And believe me when I say it will be EPIC!

It’s way too early to disclose any more details at this point but, all being well, I’ll be back ‘on the road’ (or rather the tracks) by next September. And my boyfriend Andy – a regular feature on this blog now :-) – will be coming with me. My mind has been ticking away ever since going freelance in January and having the option to be location independent is way too tempting.

paradise valley canadian rockies, canada
The Giant Steps in Banff National Park, Canada

Fernweh: An ache for distant places; the craving for travel

I’ve seen the word ‘fernweh’ all over my Facebook feed lately and it’s definitely my favourite definition. It’s not surprising that this word is German as the Germans certainly love to travel!

Fernweh (pronounced fern-vay) defines a feeling I have most of the time. The wanderlust never really goes away. It might settle down for a bit while I’m nurtured by home comforts, but it’s not long before I get itchy feet and crave a new adventure. It’s not about wanting to escape or not appreciating what I’ve got, it’s about wanting to live life to the full. It’s about having options and being able to embrace opportunity.

After being in the same surroundings for a while, everything starts to stagnate. There’s too much predictability, too many expectations in place. Nothing is new. Sure, there are many ways to make life interesting at home. But, for me, it’s not enough. I want to have the freedom to travel more often and for longer.

I’m not interested in putting down roots, such as getting a home and a massive mortgage. I want to get out and see the world. Visiting somewhere for a week or two doesn’t cut it. I want to get under the skin of a place. I want to live and breath travel. 

 

So there you go, I’m embracing my fernweh and making things happen. Watch this space ;-)

 

 

 

Jericho sunset Vancouver

Am I Too Old To Go Travelling?

Before deciding to go travelling in Canada, I was riddled with insecurities about being too old for backpacking. What is the best age to go travelling? Is 28 a good age to go backpacking? Am I too old for long-term travel? These were the kind of questions I would find myself typing into Google, before scouring through various forums on the subject. The general opinion seemed to be that you are never too old to travel and that travel can actually be more enjoyable in your later 20s than when you are straight out of college or university.

However, I was still worried that the majority of backpackers would be gap year students and free-as-a-bird under 25s looking to get wasted every night. Me? I was nearly 28 with a full-time job and long-term boyfriend. It was not a simple book and go situation. I was scared that I should be focusing on my career and settling down as oppose to leaving everything behind for several months. I did not have to look further than my Facebook feed to see that many of the people I went to school with were having kids and getting married. Shouldn’t I be doing this too? 

Despite these concerns I took the trip and, more than a year on, could not be more relieved about making the decision to travel in Canada for five amazing months. As it turned out, my fears about being too old were completely ridiculous.

Jericho sunset Vancouver

Yes, there were plenty of gap years students. But there were also much older people as well and many around the same age as me. The hostels I stayed in were filled with people from all walks of life. Career breakers, retired people taking that trip they had always dreamed of, those who had a work visa and were looking for a job, 18/19 year-olds taking a summer break before started uni. Having such as varied pattern of people makes travel more interesting. 

I quickly realised that you are never too old to travel so long as you have conviction behind why you are making a trip. Even if you just simply want to get away for a bit. This qualifies as a valid enough reason. Nobody ever regrets travel. It opens doors and enriches you, no matter what your age. Travel made 2012 the best year of my life. So get out there and make that trip you have always dreamed of. Do not look for validation from others, just go for it! Everything works out in the end. 

 

Have you ever worried about being too old before taking the plunge into long-term travel? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banff in Canadian Rockies

Flight Booked! Countdown to Canada and USA trip begins

My finger hovered over the purchase button, my heart was racing and my stomach was in knots. Why was I in such a state? Fear and uncertainty had crept in. But then I reminded myself of the reasons why I wanted to go travelling long-term and promptly clicked to book my flight to Vancouver.

Immediately I felt a great sense of relief and began to feel excited at the prospect of taking this six-month trip through Canada and the USA. The butterflies turned into more of a feeling of elation and I knew I had done the right thing.

I fly out on May 9th and plan to gradually travel east across this reputedly beautiful country. There are no solid plans at this point but I definitely want to spend some time in the Rockies, and Banff looks like a spectacularly stunning base from which to explore these mountains.

This will be my first time properly travelling solo. I have travelled solo before for a week in Sydney, Australia, but never for this duration. It will be challenging in a lot of ways, but ultimately I know the experience, both highs and lows, will be a beneficial learning curve.

Even if it just makes me want to run home, stick on my dressing gown, make a cup of tea and snuggle up on the couch, at least I have followed my gut feeling and given it a good go. However, my instincts are telling me that this will be the best thing I have ever done.

Why did I choose Canada and the USA?

To be honest, this was both a practical and an impulsive decision. Originally I was planning to backpack around mainland Europe. I envisaged travelling to Brussels from London via Eurostar before moving onto Germany and then heading east. I wanted to visit countries such as Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. I kept on swapping and changing my mind on the duration of my travels.

At first, I wanted to travel for three months and planned to use my journalistic skills to write some articles about my experiences, in order to make a bit of money. But ultimately I decided a safer option would be to travel somewhere that I could get a working holiday visa – enabling me to pick up some casual work if necessary. Australia was out of the question, as I had already had a working holiday visa here in 2005. New Zealand was a possibility, but I did not really want to travel here during this country’s colder months.

Then I thought of Canada. I knew people who had travelled here before and had loved every minute of it. This was a country I had never been to and is also a great gateway to the USA, a country I have always wanted to see more of. The only places I have travelled to in the USA are Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Applying for my working holiday visa

I am in the process of applying for International Experience Canada (IEC) – the new name for the country’s working holiday scheme for those aged 18-30. There is a quota this year for the amount allowed into Canada on this type of visa, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that my application is accepted.

Have you travelled in Canada? Can you recommend the best places to visit, and interesting parts of the USA to see that are easily accessible from Canada?

 

 

 

 

 

Peyto Lake Canadian Rockies

Why I Want to Travel Solo

Peyto Lake Canadian Rockies

In a matter of months I will be heading off on my first big solo trip. I am both excited and scared, but know that this is the right thing for me to do. Here is why I am planning on going it alone for a while…

Flexibility

I want to go wherever I want, decide what sights to see and be flexible to change my mind without having to compromise. I have travelled long-term with friends before and found it restrictive. Everybody wants to do different things and there is naturally always compromise somewhere.

 

To gain some perspective

Plodding along in life, repeating the same daily grind clouds my brain. Days, weeks and months fly by and there is a cycle of work, eat, sleep which is difficult to break – mainly due to a sheer lack of energy. I know I want to change direction, but I am not sure which way to go. There is not enough time to see things clearly and make pure decisions. Life just keeps going at full speed. The only way to gain perspective is to get away for a while and constructively re-evaluate everything to decide my next move.

 

Career

I want to be a professional travel writer and believe the best way of making this happen is to just get out there and see more of the world. I feel that travelling by myself will give me more focus. I got into journalism with the idea of wanting to be a travel writer. But I ended up working as a regional newspaper reporter. After almost five years in journalism, I have reached a point where it is make or break. I know a change of direction is needed. I want to start making things happen and am more determined than ever.

 

No regrets

I only have a few years left until I am 30 and do not want to be left with any regrets. There is that famous saying: “You regret what you didn’t do more than what you did do.” Before I settle down, I want to make sure that I have gone full throttle in pursuit of my dream. And if it does not work out then at least I know I tried.

 

Learn more about myself

While I am able to appear relatively confident in my job as a newspaper reporter, I am naturally an extremely shy person. I need to push myself to get out of the shell and find that the more often I take risks and do things out of my comfort zone, the easier it becomes. After time it is easy to label yourself as a certain personality type, but I believe there is always more to discover about yourself and more you are capable of if you only take that leap of faith; my leap of faith being solo travel.

 

Get out of my comfort zone

Travelling with friends or a partner is like having a comforting cushion of familiarity around you at all times. There is no need to get out of the shell and make much effort to speak to anybody else. Although it is still possible to meet people when travelling with company, it is easier when you are alone. I travelled solo for around 10 days in Sydney, Australia and naturally met more people. You seem to get invited along to more things and people are less intimidated to approach those alone.

 

Have you travelled solo? Why did you choose to solo travel?