As many know, I just returned home from a year of work (in Jasper, AB and Vancouver, BC) and a summer of travelling Europe (France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). I also ended by summer with a family vacation to Hawaii. The last 16 months of work and travel was perfect.
Working away from home taught me a lot about responsibility, money, and being independent. I learned what type of people I work best with and what type of leader I want to work for and aspire to be. I easily came to love the people I worked alongside – cherishing many as inspiration, mentors, and friends. I also grew to love the West Coast of Canada, falling in love with the lakes and mountains in Jasper and the balance of city and nature in Vancouver.
And of course, travelling Europe was such a joy it’s hard to put into words how incredible of an experience it was. I’ve never smiled so much doing such simple things like riding a train or eating cheese!! Being in Europe for the first time was far from a culture-shock, but more of a ‘how can I take as much of this in and absorb all the culture and language’.
I made the choice to travel alone and in so many ways it was a multitude of blessings in disguise. Truly, it helped my confidence and made me realized a lot of things about myself – how I like to travel, where I want to travel, who I want to travel with, and even possibly what I want to do with my life (…stay tuned). But all these things I wouldn’t have realized if I wasn’t doing it on my own.
It was challenging traveling solo and to deny myself of the fact would be silly. It was hard to figure out maps – I’m terrible at navigating and anyone who knows me, knows that you’re probably better off without a map than with me in charge of directions. But I can proudly say I’ve slightly improved this skill.
And people ask me, “but didn’t it get lonely?”. Of course it did, sometimes it was hard being alone but those moment quickly passed as I met incredible and interesting people. I’m also slightly more introverted than extroverted, so as much as I enjoyed socializing I really cherished time in solitude.
So what’s next? Well I’m a student again!! The purpose of my time away from school was a to complete a one year work placement, which I accomplished, so now I’m back at the University of Guelph to complete my degree. If feels strange being a student again after working “in the real world”, but it’s comfortingly familiar to be back on campus.
I feel like I have this wonderful opportunity to relive the first two years at school but this time build from my everything I’ve learned (like don’t eat all the donuts on campus because you will actually gain ‘freshman 15’ but do take the time to enjoy extracurriculars on campus because you will meet lifelong friends).
I can’t tell you I’m excited to study for finals again or drag myself to Monday morning lectures, but I am excited to make my time in school more meaningful. I feel blessed and full of joy starting school again! Here’s to new adventures!