Like most of my solo adventures, many of the people I meet can’t wrap their heads around why I travel solo. On my most recent trip out West, I spent 5 days in the Alberta outback with a rental car, my backpack, hiking shoes, no running water and super spotty cell reception. Stupid to some? Perhaps. Soothing for the soul? Absolutely. There’s something so special about being surrounded by nothing but your own thoughts.
A girl from my running team posted in our club Facebook group asking if anyone wanted to join her and her mom for a running relay in the Yukon that coming September. With Ironman scheduled shortly before it, I discounted myself from the adventure, secretly dreaming about how awesome it would be to go to the Yukon. Fast-forward to a few months later that girl came over for a girl’s night and before everyone left for the night, I had somehow signed up to tag along. Not that it actually took much convincing… cause let’s be real, I truly can’t turn down an adventure!
While my friends were busy packing their bathing suits for the cottage or their backpacks for their grad trip in Europe and Asia, I was busy stuffing my -7 degree tent and mittens for a colder adventure, Iceland. I’ve been trying to come up with a single word to encapsulate the experience…. beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent, stunning… all of which don’t quite do it justice.
There’s 176 hours in the month of August. Plenty of time on paper yet somehow it’s already August 28th and my “fun month” is starting to wrap up. In an ideal world after every adventure I would have glued myself to a seat and written about it. However given my lack of commitment to documenting the journey in words I’ve got plenty of images to make up for it.
To keep things interesting I’ve whittled the 1,582 pictures I’ve taken the last 30 days to a single image for each passed day. And yes for those of you who are not math wizards that works out to 52.7 pictures a day – which even I will admit is a little excessive. If that isn’t interesting enough I’m not recycling any Instagram photos and have limited my captions to 10 words or less. Cause I mean why make this way harder than it needs to be! Here we go!
The Christmas market tour is in full swing! Currently, I am spending my last night in Brugge, Belgium before continuing onwards. Tomorrow will bring with it another city, another dessert and another adventure. This marks the fifth city and 3rd country in the last 6 days. I’m so happy this bucketlist item is turning into a reality. Each city has been fantastic for its own reasons. I started with Colmar last Sunday.
I have survived a week of driving on French roads! While not as scary as Italian roads, I am quite proud of myself. With a French speaking GPS, a really unpractical car and a million roundabouts, I am still quite surprised the car was returned in its original state. Throwback to two Sundays ago, my cousin, Regi arrived in Bordeaux. It was really sweet to realize how familiar I have gotten with Bordeaux. I seem to have finally figured out all of my favourite places to hang out, take pictures and of course where you can find the best food. Reuniting with my travelling sister was also awesome, as we simply started were we left off on our last trip.
From the nude beaches of Marseille to the fairytale castles of the Lorie Valley, I’ve travelled some whopping 1,456km in the last 7 days. With great distance come great adventuring stories, starting with my very first night in Marseille, last Tuesday night. I was exploring the old port area around 6ish which meant it was already dark outside. I found out later, through friends, that you should never walk alone in that area when it is dark. However, considering it was the middle of the downtown I didn’t think much of it. I had a man, likely in his early 40’s, ask me to take his picture. Considering I was holding a DSLR camera I simply assumed he thought I was a good photographer. I continued walking around the Christmas market and then down the street in search of food.
You won’t always find someone who has the time, money or motivation to pack his or her bags and discover the world. So, pack your bags, buy the ticket and venture off on your own. This week I’ve packed my bags and am venturing through the south of France. Since Saturday, I’ve been filling my belly with crêpes and baguettes, soaking in the sunshine and discovering unfamiliar places.
To bring you up to speed, since my last post I’ve experienced living in France during a national crisis, written 3 final exams, travelled 640km and eaten at least 8 crepes. In case you have not seen my post on social media or heard from me in another capacity, I am safe and sound, despite all the unrest in France this last week. Thankfully, I have never been in a country during such a large-scale crisis. Yet, from it I’ve learned so many things. For starters, it was really heartwarming to see how many people reached out to me and checked in. Even my home university sent out 2 e-mails ensuring that everyone on exchange was safe and didn’t require help. Obviously we like to think that this is the response we would get, yet until something like this happens you will never know. The attacks hit close to home. I had 3 friends in Paris that weekend, including one watching the soccer game in the stadium. Thankfully, everyone I know personally is safe but, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had an impact.
This past weekend, I took advantage of the wonderful transportation systems and hopped over to Switzerland for the weekend. A mere 4 hours after leaving the Bordeaux airport on Saturday morning, I was at my Grandma’s house having cheese fondue. How’s that for quick travel and embracing my inner Swiss?