I can’t believe it has already been 3 weeks since my arrival in London. I landed at Gatwick Airport early on the morning of October 18 where my brother had arranged a car to pick… More
My main goal in travelling to New Brunswick was to see the Bay of Fundy and the Hopewell Rocks. This had been a bucket list item for me for quite some time. After doing some research and discovering that the Hopewell Rocks are only a 3 hour drive from Halifax, I knew I had to go.
After my exhausting but amazing day in Nova Scotia, I made sure to set my alarm to wake early the next day so I would have plenty of time to make the 3 hour drive to the Bay of Fundy and be able to witness the Hopewell Rocks at low tide. There is a small window of only a few hours where one can walk on the sea floor to explore the beach around the rocks.
The day I arrived just so happened to be the day after the park officially closed for the season. Not to fret because as you will find out with some simple research on their website, visitors can still enter the park (free of charge) but you can’t park in the parking lot at the front gate. You have to either walk down the road (maybe 7 minute walk) or drive down a back road to another parking lot. The second option proved to be the better since the only thing at the front gate was the restaurant and interpretive centre which were closed.
Arriving 1 day after the park had closed meant 1 big benefit… less people. There were no large tour buses filled with people and I was able to capture some great photos with no people in them. There were points when I felt like I was the only person on the beach. Like I mentioned before there is only a short window where people can walk on the sea flood before the tides rush back in. Because the park was officially closed for the season, this meant I had to be very aware of the tide times. There was a few park staff who were on the beach removing the safety ropes who I stopped to talk to briefly who mentioned to me that the tide can come in so quickly that in certain spots on the beach, you think the tide is far away and the next minute you are trapped. Being there in the off season means no one is going to help you if that happens.
The large rock formations are 40-70 feet tall and are made of red sandstone. Walking on the sea floor it is truly amazing how large and unique these rocks really are. Carved out from millions of years of water and wind erosion, it is easy to see why it has been deemed a Natural Wonder of the World. In one area of the Bay of Fundy, where the bay meets the Saint John River, a unique phenomenon happens where the flow of the river actually reverses. This is knows as the Reversing Falls Rapids. During low tide, the river empties into the bay causing a series of rapids and whirlpools, as the tide rises in the bay, it gradually reverses the flow of the river and again rapids form peaking at high tide. Remarkable!
Wanting to witness both low and high tide (11:30AM and 5:22PM), I planned ahead and packed a lunch. The weather was quite nice that day (sunny and 14C) so I was able to find a spot on the picnic tables and relax to enjoy the views. At around 4:30PM, I made my way back down to the beach via a wooden plank walkway only to discover the water had already risen so high that it looked like a completely new area. The only place to safely watch the tides come in was at the iconic spot with the metal staircase leading to the beach. Here I could stand on the staircase and watch as the tide rushed in. Now when I say rushed in, it was almost that. Using a series of rocks as my guide, I timed how long it took for the water to move up 1 foot on the beach. 1 foot per minute was the rate I discovered. I went from standing on the beach to only being able to stand on the staircase because the water had completely covered the bottom few steps. At its highest the tides can reach a whopping 5 stories high!
This was truly an amazing experience to witness Mother Nature at her finest. I am always in awe how the Earth, without any human interaction can create such beautiful and amazing scenery.
Since I had never been to Atlantic Canada (mainly due to the high cost of flights within the country), I decided that since WestJet has the option to layover in either Toronto or Halifax on the way to London, that I would take advantage of an extra long layover (4 days) on the east coast of Canada. Touching down in Halifax, Nova Scotia at 6:30AM after a short 4 hour 22 minute red eye flight, I knew I would’t be able to check into my hotel at 8AM, so I decided to kill some time by driving out to Peggy’s Cove (1 hour drive south). Even though I was absolutely exhausted (sleeping on airplanes is not my thing, even with being the lucky one who got all 3 seats to herself), I was excited see a whole new part of Canada. Coming from Calgary, where it seems it has been winter since the start of September (yes snow and unseasonably cold), driving through the countryside of Nova Scotia was absolutely stunning. The fall colors were almost neon they were so bright. Seeing all the wonderful colors – especially while the sun rose, creating what seemed like the sky was on fire – immediately woke me up. I could not stop saying to myself how absolutely beautiful it was. There were multiple times I stopped along the winding roads to take photos of the fall foliage. At that time in the morning, with the sun creating the perfect light and the temperature warming to create a mist across the many lakes and ponds that line the roads. I was in awe.
After multiple stops and countless photos, I arrived at Peggy’s Cove just before 8AM. To my delight, I was the third person to arrive (the other 2 left about 10 minutes after I arrived). I was able to capture some amazing photos as the sun shone on the landscape of massive smooth boulders and iconic white lighthouse with a red top. It didn’t seem to matter where I stood or at what angle, all my photos looked like a postcard.
After I hoped from rock to rock exploring the shore, I took a quick stroll through the surrounding village (population 35) before stopping to have breakfast at the cafe. Just as I was about to pay the bill, 6 huge tour buses pulled up and I watched the people flood out. What perfect timing I had! After sitting for a moment and eating, I realized how tired I was getting and thought it best to make my way to the hotel in Halifax.
Driving a different route back to the city, again I stopped multiple times for photos. I was not the only one. There seemed to be a small convoy of cars that would stop at all the same spots to take photos. We laughed as each one of us commented how it was going to be a long drive back when there was a gorgeous photo opp every 2 minutes.
After arriving to the hotel, I had what seemed like a quick 1 hour nap and was off to explore downtown Halifax. Arriving on a Sunday in the off-peak tourist season, downtown Halifax seemed a bit of a ghost town, but beautiful non the less. Positioned on a large hill, right on the water, there is a long boardwalk with an abundance of little shops that are in refurbished, colorful shipping containers. By this time, since I hasn’t eaten lunch, I was starting to get hungry and all I could think about was seafood. Living in landlocked Calgary, it can be hard to get good seafood at a reasonable price. So the hunt was on for a seafood dinner. After a stroll through the streets, I decided to stop at a restaurant called Shuck. The name gave it away that they would have oysters. And they did, on a happy hour special!
I filled my belly with delicious oysters, lobster, a couple glasses of local Nova Scotia white wine and a peanut butter chocolate mousse and fell into a food coma. As much as I would have loved to explore more and possibly some local pubs, I could barely walk I was so tired. That and the fact I needed to get an early start to my day to drive to New Brunswick (next province over), to see the Bay of Fundy and the Hopewell Rocks. My goal was to make it there on time to see the area at low tide and stay for the day to watch the high tide. The Bay of Fundy is known around the world for have the highest and fasted rising tides in the world. Rising an astonishing 5 stories in 6 hours!
Stay tuned for my next blog about my New Brunswick experience…
After I packed up my apartment, my intent was to spend 1 week visiting family in Edmonton and 1 week back in Calgary before flying to Halifax on my way to London. But, when the opportunity came up to make a last minute trip to Victoria to see some of my favorite people, I could not pass it up. This led me to driving the U-haul to my Dads just outside of Edmonton, unload boxes and spend just 1 night before boarding my flight to Victoria.
In the past few years I have made several trips to beautiful Vancouver Island. Living in dry, land-locked Calgary, having a wonderful escape spot like lush, humid Vancouver Island is such a treat. I really feel like it has become my second home. Victoria is a small city but is the capital of British Columbia. It’s located on the southern tip of the island and is always buzzing with tourists. Mostly from the many cruise ships that stop there. One of my favorite things to do is walk along the waterfront and stop at the many restaurants to have a glass of wine and oysters. British Columbia is well known for the world-class wines and of course an abundance of Pacific oysters. I can spend hours people watching and gazing out at the open ocean. Of course it makes it much more enjoyable when I am also spending that time with some of the amazing people I know live there. (I won’t name names to protect their privacy).
While Victoria can be a buzzing little city, once you take a short drive out of the city, it is a whole different feel. It is extremely lush and people take life a little slower. Vancouver Island is actually classified as a Temperate Rainforest and close to 25% of the world’s Temperate Rainforests are found in British Columbia. Driving along the Malahat highway is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced. The winding road is either nearly covered by massive green, mossy trees or you are able to gaze out at the rippling blue ocean. This last time the road was a bit foggy but that just added to the beauty of it all. I wanted to stop and take photos but unfortunately there is no place to pull over unless its a designated pull out area. There is something so calming about being in that type of environment. There are countless little towns off the highway but they are all tucked in the trees. Passing by you wouldn’t think it’s a whole town but only a few shops and a gas station and each town seems to be known for something. The town of Duncan is known for the Totem Poles and the town of Chemanius has the murals.
All of Vancouver Island has gorgeous lakes in addition to the surrounding ocean. There are countless hiking paths some clearly marked but the best ones are not of course. You might get a little lost as you wander through the trees and climb mountains but that’s all part of the fun and adventure. The best views are from the top of a mountain when you are completely winded from the climb.
To be honest, I was going back and forth for while on the decision to move to London or Victoria. I finally made my decision based on the fact that with me holding a Polish passport, with Brexit happening in the UK, I can still currently live and work there. Since that can all be changing very soon, I thought I should take the opportunity while I have it. Living overseas has always been a dream of mine and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. While Vancouver Island is wonderful and I know I would be very happy there, it ( and Canada) will always be there if I ever choose to come back. I am someone who truly believes you only regret the things you did not do. Seize the opportunity when they come because they may not come again.
It might sound crazy but I am going into this move with no real plan. All I know is that when I made the decision to move overseas, everything kind of fell into place, which never seems to happen to me in life. Now it does help that my brother already lives and is well established in London and I am able to stay with him for a few weeks until I find a job and get a little settled, but that a friend who also lives there was looking for a flatmate. Accommodation SORTED! The next thing I would need to do is find someone to take over my lease in my apartment in Calgary. It was getting down to the wire with only a week left in the month and I won’t lie, I was starting to worry. I really did not want to have to pay out the remaining 4 months on my lease. But I kept telling myself that it would all work out. Everything else about this decision has worked out and this will too. I started to think that if I couldn’t find someone for October 1st, that I could at least find someone for November 1st and I would only have to pay 1 months rent. But with only a few days left, someone contacted me and was looking for a place for October! Problem solved!
It’s funny when things start working out for you, you think ‘why was I fighting this for so long?’ For years I had wanted to live overseas, but when I was in Europe on vacation, I would come back to Canada for one reason or another and often think ‘why did I come back?’ I didn’t own a house or a car, I don’t have kids, my family doesn’t live in the same city as me and my job as a hairstylist at the time was transferable around the world. For some reason I always felt a little out of place in Calgary and I felt that things were always a bit of a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have some amazing people in my life but I always felt there was something else out there for me. Sounds crazy but I have even had other people tell me the same thing. So now, here I am, I made this choice to move overseas and see what happens. To be honest, I don’t know what will happen. All I know is, I have to go and find out and it feels right. Of course I am nervous, but not once have I freaked out and thought ‘I change my mind. I’m not going anymore’.
Stay tuned for my next blog about my adventures in Victoria (where I currently am) and then back to snowy Calgary before I explore the east coast of Canada for a few days…
I’ve gotten to the point where I have sold the majority of my furniture and have 1 week left in my apartment. So many days I sit and stare at all my belongings packed in boxes knowing that I won’t be able to see my valuable, sentimental items for a long time. What to bring? What to sell? What to put in storage? OVERWHELMING is an understatement.
This is not like any ordinary move. I am moving overseas with 3 suite cases and a small backpack. Can I fit my life in those bags? With all my past vacations, I pride myself as being a light packer. I have traveled around Europe for a month with just carry-on going from Greece, where it was 30 degrees to Poland, Netherlands and England where it was 10 degrees. I had to pack for all weather. But this, this is no ordinary vacation. Nor is it a vacation at all. When I’m on vacation I don’t care if I wear my clothes multiple days or about having “nice clothes” to wear for a dinner or dancing. When I pack for this move, I need to think about what kind of job I will have (no, I haven’t got a job yet), every day clothes, “comfy clothes” to wear at night while I watch Netflix, what jacket to bring for the rainy winter weather and what shoes to bring, just to name a few things.
As I have been putting stuff in my suite cases, for some reason they seem A LOT smaller than they use to be. Putting 2 pairs of pants seemed to fill the whole thing. And that is just clothes! What about toiletries? The last thing I want to do is go shopping for new facial products as soon as I get there, so I do want to bring what I have, but again, all of a sudden it seems life I have way to much. Let me be clear, I am in no way a product junkie. I stick to the basics. I don’t need 5 different face washes or 30 different night creams. But all of a sudden it seems like 1 is too much.
I know it will all end up fitting and all will be well. It’s just that right now, with so many things going on in my brain, it seems like the little problems have become large .
If anyone has any packing tips for moving overseas, please comment below.
As my departure date quickly approaches (who turned up the speed on time by the way?), everything is really starting to sink in and the stress level is kicked into high gear. Little things that I never imagined would matter, start to matter. Like giving up my phone number that I have had for the past 20 years. Why does that matter all of a sudden? It’s just a phone number. But somehow it feels like it has been part of my identity that I now have to leave behind.
From there the emotions start to snowball. Having dinner with a friend, which something I love to do, it now super emotional as I don’t know when I’ll see these wonderful people that have become family to me. I have realized in my life that friends come and go but now at 36 years old, I feel like I finally have wonderful people in my life who I know will be there no matter what. I want to take this moment to let everyone know how special you all are to me. I wish I had time to tell you all individually. It took me a long time to feel this comfortable with my friendships (I have been burned in the past) and it’s hard to think about not being able to see them all the time.
When I made the decision to move to London, I knew I was going to have to leave behind so many things that I cherish, but the reality of the situation is really starting to sink in. I know that I won’t regret this decision and I know that it will be a once in a life time experience. I keep telling myself it will be totally worth it when I land and the new chapter of my life can begin. In a way, I can re-invent myself and be open to new so many new opportunities. Living abroad is something that I have wanted to do that majority of my life and now that I have this chance I would be crazy to pass it up. It’s funny when I tell people that I am moving to London, many of them say how amazing it is (a couple have said that it’s crazy… but I think in a good way). So many people only dream of getting this chance. In the past when I have visited my brother in London, I haven’t wanted to come back to Calgary but for one reason or another, I always came back only to regret it. I’m not saying Calgary or Canada is a horrible place to live because it’s really not. I just knew I was being drawn overseas for some reason. Now is the time to see what that reason is…
Having my life open to the public in this way is not something that comes easy to me. My privacy is something I value. It takes me a while to be able to trust people and talk about my life. But, I am trying to embrace change. Which can be terrifying.
I think something that many people think about when they are making a big life change is what they are giving up rather that what they could be gaining. It’s all about the unknown. Going back to school at 34 years old, there were multiple times that I thought I was crazy (and sometimes still think that way) because I was going to be leaving my comfortable job and life for the unknown.
Humans are creatures of habit and routine. Most people like being in their comfort zone. And that is great for most people, but what travel has taught me is that when I have broken out of my comfort zone by landing in a new country where I don’t know the language, city or culture, I momentarily feel nervous but soon realize that I have done it… on my own. What a sense of accomplishment knowing that you conquered that fear and made memories that will last a lifetime.
I have always living in the same province in Canada my entire life. And while having traveled to over 30 countries may seem like a huge accomplishment to many, I look at people in my life who have moved across the country or half way around the world to seek out a change. I look at my brother, who in his early 20’s took the chance on a 2 year student work visa to move to London, England. Shortly after he was married to his wonderful wife and backpacking around the world. He continues to live happily married in London with their 2 children. Or my friend Laurayne, who is always tells me what a risk-taker I am and how proud she is of me for following my dreams (she’s my personal cheerleader). This girl took the chance and moved across the country and soon after started dating her now husband, once again made a big move to stunning Vancouver Island and recently bought a house and got married. These are perfect examples of being open to change. These people didn’t know what would happen when they up and moved but left their comfort zone, took the leap and went for it.
What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t like where you end up, go back, make an adjustment and move on. There is no harm in trying. I have always been someone who has thought, when I am old and grey, I won’t regret the things that I have done. I will regret the things that I didn’t do.
Get out there and go for it!
Since I have started my website, Instagram and Facebook sites, I have been asked on numerous occasions why I am doing this and what the point is. Well, I know most of you aren’t stupid and know there is money to be made in blogging. So, yes, I do hope to make money and have the ultimate freedom to travel the world and “work” from where-ever my plane lands. That is not the only reason I have started this new adventure in my life. A lot of it has to do with making a change and bettering myself and life.
Throughout my entire life I have always felt like I was doing things to make other people happy. Yes it’s always good to give but not to the point where you are not making yourself a priority. When I have been in relationships, I find myself putting so much into that relationship and not feeling like it was reciprocated. That’s a draining feeling. Why was I not loving myself as much as I was loving that other person? Not only in relationships but I always felt like something was missing… Like there was something better out there for me. Now it’s my turn! I remember saying as a very young child “you can’t be happy with someone else until you are happy with yourself first”. I think I was a pretty wise kid. But I didn’t take my own advice.
Maybe it’s something that comes with age, where you finally don’t care as much about what other people think. Whatever it is, I am embracing it. I am working on something that makes me happy. When I was young, I used to write in a journal and even write short stories for fun. Who knew that eventually I could write not only for fun because it’s something I love to talk and write about. But the potential to make good money at it too!
Big things are happening! Stay tuned!
This seems to be something that is an on-going task some days. It seems like it is so easy to think about the negative than positive. As I have mentioned before, I am in no way commenting from a medical point of view but on my own experiences. I am fully aware that many people suffer from clinic depression and my heart goes out to them. I can only begin the struggles they experience.
My experiences stem from several heartbreaks, terrible jobs and general life pressures that tend to get people down. Some times it doesn’t take much for a few of these things to feel all consuming over life. I have experienced spending days on end, feeling sorry for myself in bed while in one of these slumps. When I am stressed in any way, I tend to not eat (some stress eat, while others completely lose their appetite) and this leads me to feel weak and fatigued, leading me to not want to do anything even more. The vicious cycle. Of course there are times when I though the pain would never end – such as when I had to make the heartbreaking decision to put down my precious kitty when she was suffering from stomach cancer (I’m crying just thinking about it now).
The question is: How do we get ourselves out of these terrible times and switch those negative thoughts to positive? During the toughest of times I tell myself that it is OK to stay in bed and cry or scream or whatever you need to do to let the hurt out. But after a few days, I have had to force myself out of bed and start with little things, such as taking a shower. Doesn’t sound like much but it’s a start. I find it’s important to not overwhelm yourself when making a change. Start small. Instead of saying “I’m going to start going to the gym 5 days a week” maybe start by stretching in front of the TV at night, as I do. This helps me to take my mind off the stresses of the day and lets the blood flow to other parts of my body.
One thing that always drives me nuts is when people tell me “just don’t think about it” or “just think positive thoughts”. Easier said than done! This may be the worse advice ever (at least to me). I tend to be someone who cannot hold my feelings in. And why should I? When you are feeling down, it is so much easier to think about the negative than positive- misery loves company. But, like I said, start small. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Go for a short walk to the park or along a river or pond (the ducks always make me smile). Write a message to yourself on your mirror that makes your smile. Start following inspirational quotes on your social media. Something will hit home for you at home point and help you to change your thoughts, if only for a moment. Every second counts!
If you have any methods of shifting your thoughts, I would love to hear them.
This past weekend I was fortunate be to be a part of my good friends wedding as a bridesmaid. The wedding was in a remote area on northern Vancouver Island. No TVs in the rooms, zero cell service and very little access to WIFI. Now, if anyone reading this has ever been a part of a wedding party, you know how busy the day can be. But, that was only 1 day. The rest of the weekend, we were free to go hiking, zip lining, paddle board, kayak or canoe and most of all spend time with people who many times we do not have time to see because of getting caught up in the every day busy lifestyle. So many times in life we don’t take the time to spent times with friends, family or even yourself. Through my travels I have learned the importance of watching a beautiful sunset or enjoying a cold beer with a old friend. It’s those moments that you take with you and reminisce about years later, not the hours I spent at work or staring at a screen by myself.
Over the course of the weekend, I kept overhearing people say how nice it was not be on their phones and take in the simple things like gazing at the stars. We often take for granted the simple things that nature has given us and forget how beautiful the world can be. I noticed people having actual conversations over dinner or sitting in the sun on the patio. We laughed when we realized we were having an “old fashion” debate about a topic when we couldn’t simply Google the answer… I’m not sure if we ever came to a conclusion on who was right.
Ever since I was young, I have always loved being outside and enjoying little things like watching the changing colours of a sunset over the ripples of a lake or ocean. It is weekends like these that make me realize the importance of disconnecting from technology and getting back to nature and myself.