I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! Since I’ve posted two Liebster nominations previously (Liebster-1, Liebster-2), I’ve decided just to fulfill the question and answer aspect! I’m inspired by The Learnify, who participated in a Liebster nomination with the same approach! Thank you!
A heartfelt thank you to Avid Travel Foodie for the nomination. He writes of all things travel, food and awesomeness! If you live in Pennsylvania you’ll love his blog, as he posts reviews of local restaurants and travel spots! Definitely check out his page.
And now, to answer his thoughtful questions:
1. What’s has been your biggest challenge when you blog apart from writer’s block?
My biggest challenges with blogging have been sharing my personal, deepest feelings and the fear that others will judge my writing. I am typically very private when it comes to my writing, I used to get nervous handing in essays! I was terrified what people would truly think about my writing. I’ve definitely come a long way, and I really have the blogging community to thank for that. Everyone I’ve connected with so far has been so supportive and uplifting, it’s so encouraging!
2. What is your favorite color?
I just love turquoise and blue.
3. If I were to hand you a 1-way ticket, where would you go?
Right now I’m tempted to say Jamaica. I am really in the mood for relaxation and white sandy beaches. If you asked me tomorrow, my answer would probably be different. I want to go everywhere and anywhere!
4. If you were given $100,000, what would be the focus of your social enterprise?
I’d aim to help the people who lost so much in both Fort McMurray and Orlando.
5. What’s your biggest achievement so far?
Graduating university was huge for me. I think my trip to Vancouver was my ultimate personal achievement. It has been an experience I will never forget and I got to cross a huge experience off my bucket list!
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Writing for a living- complete independence!
7. What’s your favorite dessert that you can have after every meal for the rest of your life?
Initially I was weary about posting a second Liebster Award blog, but I love its purpose and I genuinely have fun writing and reading other bloggers posts! To those of you who don’t know, the Liebster Awards are a fun way of supporting small blogs of 200 followers or less. It has also helped me get to know my fellow bloggers, and gives others a little insight into who I am (If you care at all).
First, I’d like to thank everydaychick for the nomination. I love her page and her writing ability. She can write about absolutely anything and make it enjoyable. My favourite post is Growing Pains. Her story inspired me, teaching me to always know my worth, personally and professionally. I definitely recommend checking her out!
The updated rules for 2016 are:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
Display the award on your blog.
Write a 150-300 word post on your favorite blog. (not your own.) Explain why this blog is your favorite and link to it.
Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
Nominate 5-11 bloggers with less than 200 followers for this award.
List the rules in your post.
Inform your nominees that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link to their blogs.
Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
My favourite blogger is Behind the White Coat. She is at the blogging level I hope to achieve. She has been featured on Discover and Freshly Pressed, and for good reason. Her posts are a deep, raw look into the life of being a medical doctor. Her posts are often short but sharp. One of my favourite posts is Speak Up.
10 Random Facts About Me
I hope to make writing more than a hobby. My dream job is to work for myself and write. I just don’t know where to begin.
I like beer but it makes me sleepy.
I spend most of my days at work dreaming up what I want to post on my blog page. 90% of my thoughts don’t make the cut.
Often I miss my parents so much that I cry. They live on the other side of Canada. If I could see them right now, I’d hug them forever and tell them how much I love them.
I still only have my Learner’s Permit (G1 if you’re Ontarian like me). I’m almost 25 and I still am learning to drive. I put it off for far too long but now I am finally practicing my driving and by the end of this summer, I will have my license. It’s my mission and my goal to do this for myself.
My boyfriend and I have started growing some vegetables (yellow and green beans, chives, tomatoes). It’s a very small start as we just have a couple of planters on our patio, but it is so satisfying to watch something you created develop and grow.
I love coffee cups. I have a couple “special” coffee cups that no one can use except for me. I’m a little crazy about my coffee.
My ideal Sunday night is spent like this, writing a blog post on my couch while my doggie naps.
Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve been loving oysters. I want to go to all of the oyster bars and try every variety of oyster there is. Nom.
There’s so many hats I want to wear in my life. I want to write, I want to teach yoga, I want to have a few babies, and I want to travel the world. I hope I can squeeze it all in.
Everydaychick’s Questions for Me…
What is the one food you can’t stand? Pudding. The texture, the taste…BLEH!
When is the last time you embarrassed yourself? I embarrass myself on a daily basis, mostly because I’m not usually too aware of my surroundings. Off the top of my head: Recently my boyfriend and I were enjoying a bowl of popcorn and I absent-mindedly asked, “What is popcorn made out of?” Airhead moment.
What is your favorite genre to read? I’ve been loving Science Fiction lately, specifically anything Dystopian, or with focus on Artificial Intelligence, the development of technology and its pros and cons. I love the idea of writing Science Fiction as well, you can truly allow your imagination to run wild.
Who is your biggest blog supporter? I am very grateful to have supportive family and friends. My biggest supporter has been my sister. She reads all of my blog posts and always leaves thoughtful comments.
What age would you do over again? I would do 16 over again. I had such a happy and fun high school experience and I don’t think I really knew how lucky I was at the time. I was too self-conscious and too ungrateful for the wonderful things I had. If I could be 16 again, I would worry less and enjoy the moment more. I’m sure in 10 years I will be thinking the exact same thing about myself now.
What is your guilty pleasure? YouTube. When I have downtime, I’m usually binge-watching YouTube videos.
What is the best tv show of all time? Breaking Bad! The Office! Sex and the City! It depends on my mood.
What do you do to de-stress? Nap. Write.
What is your favorite recipe? I am not much of a cook, but my boyfriend cooks some amazing meals. Recently he did this chicken with brown sugar and God knows what else, but it was delish.
Who makes you laugh? My boyfriend, My dog Marley, my friends Julia and Kristen, to name a few.
“Most people don’t know that I _____” am an introvert. Well, I suppose more people know now that I’ve posted about it, but previous to my blogging about the topic, it wasn’t known to many. I have developed ways to overcome my introversion in many social situations, but sometimes I succumb to it whether I’d like to or not. I push myself to start conversations with colleagues even if I don’t know what to say. It’s the little things.
We arrived in Medicine Hat, Alberta early on August 24th, 2015. We continued on to Calgary and decided to drive around the city for a while since I had never been there before. Jon took me to the rugby pitch he once played at, and we explored a bit of downtown. There’s something I find so calming about driving through a city’s downtown core. I feel as though it’s the window to the city’s soul, revealing beauty and chaos intertwined.
A quick car tour of Calgary was sufficient, as our minds were focused on our next destination: Banff National Park.
Banff and Yoho National Parks
I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe our time in Banff and Yoho National Parks. Yoho is named after a Cree expression for “awe and wonder,” need I say more? The pictures I am sharing are only a glimpse into the displays of nature’s breathtaking beauty.
Once we arrived at Banff National Park and paid for our day passes, we stopped at the shops near Lake Louise to stock up on food for the evening. If you’re planning a trip to Banff, I strongly suggest packing a cooler of food before entering the Park; the prices are nearly double what they would be in a regular grocery store. Our next order of business: find somewhere to camp. While Banff isn’t lacking in campgrounds, every site we found was at its capacity for the evening. Much to my dismay, the campgrounds nearest Lake Louise were full, too. Although I dreamed of camping by the stunning Lake Louise, we continued onwards toward Yoho National Park, and upwards into the mountains.
Although you can’t see over the edge, this drive was terrifying and awe-inspiring all at once. The lanes on these Rocky Mountain-roads were so tight, and if I am not mistaken, we drove upwards for about 20 minutes. Since our entire trip was impromptu, I don’t exactly know how high up we were or how long it took us to get there. We finally pulled over when we found a walk-in campground with vacancies. This campground was definitely designed for a more seasoned camper, and it was a fascinating experience. There was no office to ask questions or pay for your campsite, no showers and little guidance. We eventually figured out the protocol after talking to the other campers. Once you’ve picked an empty campsite, you fill out a card with your information and your campsite number, put the fees in an envelope, and drop it in the designated box. This trust-based system felt very Canadian.
Once we got settled in, we began exploring the area. I am forever grateful that we stumbled upon this particular campground, because it was right next to the glacier waterfall, Takkakaw Falls.
The sound of the falls washed away every thought, every worry, every struggle leading up to that point of our trip. The beauty of the icy-blue glacier stream was unparalleled by anything I had ever seen. Every doubt I had about moving across the country without a plan or a clue as to what was next on the horizon vanished at this moment. When you are surrounded by natural beauty of this scope, everything in life is put into perspective. These mountains have been here for millions of years. They preceded and will succeed my existence. It is truly a humbling experience that can hardly be put into words, and must be experienced to be understood.
Back to reality… It was getting cold as the day turned to evening, and we needed to build a fire. Simple enough task, right? Wrong. All of the kindling we were able to find was damp, and we were struggling to get this fire started for around an hour before a kind family next to us gave us some dry firewood. We continued to struggle because we needed some dry kindling to start the fire. Yet another family came by and provided us with some kindling. We were so amateur compared to the seasoned campers that surrounded us, but their generosity and neighbourly attitude saved us from having a cold, dark evening.
Once our fire was burning, we were joined by a fellow wandering soul. I don’t remember his name, but I will never forget his energy. He was on his own, and had been driving through the Rockies on his motorcycle for the summer, stopping to camp at various sites along the way. His story inspired me. He had found contentment and clarity in simplicity. He didn’t have a regular 9-5 lifestyle, and he wasn’t dragging around a plethora of useless stuff. It was him, his bike and the road. He did, however, share some delicious pastries with us in exchange for us sharing our fire with him. He was the true embodiment of that saying, those who wander are not lost.
As night fell, so did the temperature. I forgot to mention earlier that we decided not to pack sleeping bags, thinking a couple of blankets would suffice. I woke up in the middle of the night, my body completely stiff as we only had a blanket between us, the tent and the ground, and I was freezing. Poor Marley was even shivering, which brought me to tears. The temperature must have been around 0°C or below. Jon in his brilliance decided to put the warmer blanket underneath us to create a warmer barrier between the cold, hard ground. we also brought Marley under the blanket and sandwiched him between us for more warmth. We made it through the night, but it was tough. Lesson learned: Do NOT sacrifice sleeping bags when camping in the mountains.
Final Destination: Vancouver
Although we wanted to stay in the National Parks and continue camping for a few days, we were too ill-prepared to survive sleeping in those conditions. We had one more stop before our final destination: Lake Louise.
Before you comment on my outfit, let me explain. When we woke up that morning I was still freezing, and it was still cold outside. There was no way I was changing out of my pajamas. I was tired, bones still chilled, but euphoric nonetheless. Lake Louise’s beautiful blue and calm water with its mountainous backdrop was so incredibly picturesque it didn’t even seem real.
There’s nothing more that is needed to be said about Lake Louise. If you ever have the chance to experience it, I urge you to. You won’t regret it.
The final stretch of our trip is when reality set in once more. This is it. Once we arrive, the vacation ends and we have to figure out our lives again. Although I was scared, I still didn’t have a single regret. The absolute worst case scenario was that it doesn’t work out and we go back home. Even if that were the case, I still wouldn’t have regretted this trip. In this case, it wasn’t the destination, but the journey that was the most defining part.
The drive to Vancouver was eight hours of driving through the mountains. My jaw was dropped in awe for its entirety.
Arriving in Vancouver was a huge feat. Although our trip had been shortened to half the time of our original plan of 10 days, it felt so good to reach our destination.
As we approached Vancouver, I booked a hotel room for the evening at the Holiday Inn Express in Richmond, BC using Hotwire, a website for getting last minute cheap hotel rates (special thanks to my sister, Kaitlin for recommending this site!). We got a room for around $67/night, which is unheard of in the Vancouver area. Much like our night in Thunder Bay, were thrilled to finally have a bed to sleep in and a shower to use. I think Marley was the most excited of the three of us.
Once we settled in at the hotel, and ordered a celebratory pizza (my favourite), we began apartment hunting on Craigslist. One ad stood out among the rest, and had only been posted a few hours previously. It was a small modern suite in our price range, and the best part was: it was dog friendly. We made an appointment to view the suite the next day, with very high hopes.
We can thank Marley for winning the hearts of the landlords, because after meeting with us three, they agreed to have us sign a lease on the suite, and they even let us move in the following day! Some may call it luck, but I call it fate. Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Jobs followed hastily and with ease. Although I miss my family and friends greatly, the transition into this new life has been surprisingly natural. Maybe it’s because we are two wandering souls hungry for adventure, maybe it’s because we forged the path ourselves. With sharing my story I hope to inspire anyone who may be on the verge of taking a leap of faith, whether it’s deciding to take a big trip, or making a big life-changing decision in general. Thank you for following my journey with me, I hope to have many more journeys and share them with my fellow bloggers and readers.
I will be writing a Part 5 of this series, it will be my final reflection piece on this trip. It will include more details about the signs preceding the trip that should have stopped us from going at all, what I would have done differently and more.
I was nominated for a Liebster Award! To be honest, I didn’t know what it even was until I was nominated. After some research I’ve found out that the Liebster Awards are a fun way to support and promote bloggers of 200 followers or less!
Is there a chance you regret never having taken in life? What was it?
I like to say that I have no regrets, but I do wish I had gotten more involved in university. Carleton University in Ottawa had a student newspaper called The Charlaton, and I wish I had believed in myself enough at the time to submit some writing of my own.
Name three non-material items in life that you just couldn’t live without.
Wow this is a tough question. I’d have to say 1. My Labradoodle, Marley. He is my saviour when I feel any kind of upset. 2. Writing. I hate to state the obvious but, writing. 3. Sleep. I love a good nap.
What’s your secret talent?
It’s a not-so-secret talent to those who know me, but it’s something I haven’t shared on my blog yet. I grew up playing a lot of ice hockey!
Is there anything in life you’re afraid of? What is it and why?
I fear ending up discontent with life. I don’t want to wake up one day wondering how I got there, why I didn’t go after my dreams, and feeling wholly unhappy with how my life turned out. I always want to be true to myself.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten whilst traveling?
I thought I wouldn’t have an answer to this, BUT ALAS, I’ve racked my brain and come up with one: When I was a baby (maybe 2 years old) I was on vacation in the Bahamas with my parents, and I swallowed a penny. My dad had to fish it out of my throat, poor guy.
Have you ever been in a scary situation whilst on the road? How did you get out of it?
In my latest blog post The Road to Vancouver: Part 3 I discuss how we almost got hit head on by an 18-wheeler. We got out of it with sheer luck and fate.
What’s your dream destination and why?
The world is my dream destination. I want to explore everywhere and everything. I feel as though I wouldn’t be able to answer this question until I see everything there is to see. But my next destination will be Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. A place I’ve always dreamed of visiting is Italy.
If you could have a secret power, what would it be?
I’d have to choose flying. I live across the country from my family and friends and I’d love to be able to fly home anytime I wanted to tell them how much I love them. Also, I’d fly all over the world!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
When I’m having a night in by myself, I love to watch Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw has the dream life, writing in New York City and always wearing beautiful shoes. I want to be the Canadian version of her, except I usually just wear Vans.
Who do you have a, “life crush”, on, i.e is there anybody out there doing amazing, inspiring things that you’d like to get to know better?
MalalaYousafzai! Her fight for female equality is so inspiring it gives me chills. She is so outspoken and honest, I wish I had a role model like her when I was growing up.
What do you do to shake up your routine when you get bored?
Quite literally move across the country. I’d like to say I was kidding about this one, but I’m not. Travel is my answer to boredom.
11 Random Facts About Me:
This section appears to be optional, but I thought I might as well:
I am an introvert
I have an LG G4 phone (R.I.P Iphone)
I bite my nails (I know it’s gross)
I only recently became more confident in sharing my writing online
Pizza is my life
My boyfriend and I have a Labradoodle named Marley
I ache to travel more
I dislike drinking
I love yoga
I am not religious but I love the study of religion