I went on a trip that changed my life.
It’s one I’ve been planning since I was a little girl, so it’s been a long time coming. My ‘bucket list’ has always been bias towards Canada, with the vastness and open skies, interjected with mountain ranges and endless acres of trees and clear running waters captivating my rather vivid imagination.
Of course, I knew this trip was going to be amazing. It’s what I had always dreamed of and had made endless plans, with numerous notebooks covered with reminders of places to go and see. But what if it didn’t live up to my expectations? A dawning thought I had just before boarding the plane, sending a wave of anxiety, only to be rightly put in its place by an inner voice telling me this trip was destined. It was meant to be, pre-ordained and my rightful path. I did truly feel this. I wasn’t simply trying to justify taking a month off work and crossing the pond to fulfil and childhood dream. I knew it was to be a great turning point and eye-opener and I wasn’t wrong. That dawning thought really was shown who’s boss – my imagination and childhood dreams won out (thankfully, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this!)
As I mentioned, I’d been planning this trip since returning home from the one and only family holiday. My parents had been saving for years, rewarding us all with a trip of a lifetime which stayed with me (and without doubt, all of us), spurring us all to eventually retrace our steps and return to this special foreign land. I knew it was going to be incredible – of course it was, I’d make damn sure of it – but I never anticipated how this one trip – a month in British Colombia and Alberta, Canada – would actually turn my world upside down and rock me off my axis, right to my core.
Not only did I acquire an over-dependence on coffee (I was already a keen coffee drinker… but nothing like this!), I also had the unique chance to truly let go, open my mind and breathe in all the world had to offer. From the far west coast of Vancouver Island in Tofino to the depths of the Rockie Mountains and Kananaskis – at last, I understood the saying and felt ‘the world was truly MY oyster’!
My brother had already found his calling and had started a life, purely by accident, in Calgary after falling in love with Canada (and a Canadian…literally) and had spent a year travelling from coast to coast, with a three month ‘break’ from the harsh Canadian winter in Central America. We’d both been restless and adventurous souls, known for driving each other forward to try something new (or rather, something we shouldn’t do…). He’d taken off on his own and despite being sad to see my best friend and brother go, I was overwhelmingly proud to see him spread his wings and find himself. With daily updates and photos, I felt like I was travelling with him. He seemed desperate for me to join him to see what Canada has to offer for myself, almost prompting me to take that leap of faith and see what there was in store for me.
So, one rainy Friday afternoon in Devon, England, on emotionally contemplating what my purpose or path was to be and with my sister, having recently moved back home, tickets to Vancouver were booked. I sat in silence, stunned by my spontaneity. I’ve always been one that loves to plan and have at least the faintest idea of where I’m headed (part of my problem, I think). It wasn’t completely out of character, as I love a challenge and to push myself out of my comfort zone, but the fact a dream was becoming a reality was a grounding sensation.
So, having heard how the trip of a lifetime came to be, on returning (only three days ago) I’ve decided to be brave and finally put pen to paper and share my experiences. Whether it be to share my knowledge of the places I was lucky enough to visit and inspire others to go there too, or to open your eyes to the wonders of this beautiful planet we live on, I found my calling. Selfish, or selfless, I don’t know, but what I do know is, that I just have to tell you the magic that is out there, if you look for it. Breathe it in. Touch it. Feel it in your heart and soul. Live it. For life if worth living and the world is worth exploring.