returning to canada
seven months and 10,500 kilometres of cycling through northern canada to alaska, through eastern russia, monoglia and china. working a crazy winter season in japan. completing my yoga teacher training course, traveling around india, and helping to manage an ecolodge in bali. now, after fifteen months of traveling I am back in canada. writing about returning home may be a bit of a long time coming. being back had initially filled me with such a mix of emotions and state of mind. sometimes wonderful, other times confusing. some days feeling complete joy and other times questioning my decision to return home entirely.
when brandon and I left canada last year there was never any intended date of a return, however sometime in early june while working in bali I decided to book a plane ticket home. I hummed and hawed over what to do after working at the ecolodge and felt that maybe it was a good time to head back to canada for a little while. right up until booking the ticket and even while being back I struggled with what exactly it was I should do.
a part of me felt a bit of burn out, ready to reconnect with family and friends, wishing to be back in the great canadian nature, and find comfort in the familiarities of home. however, at the same time, another part of me felt that there was so much more to explore in asia and it would be silly to pass up the opportunity to continue traveling where these places were geographically so much more accessible.
speaking with full honesty, as the past fifteen months of travel and moving around became my entire life I questioned if returning to canada was, in a sense, giving up. here I had created a life of full-time travel that brought me so much joy and as I continued to share these experiences with so many I wonder if coming home would mean giving up on adventure, excitement, and a life of meaning and fulfilment?
as soon as I became aware of these daunting thoughts, I took some time to slow down and understand they were just ridiculous stories made up in my head. I needed to do what felt right for me and even if I wasn't sure what exactly that was at the time, coming back to canada was calling at me in some way or another. besides, one thing I need to continually remind myself is that no one ever has things totally figured out. so during this time, listening to my intuition and understanding that things would work out as they were meant to be was all I needed.
while this next season may not be filled with stories of bears eating our tent in kamchatka, dancing the streets of india, living among the locals in indonesia, biking through mongolia, or powder days in japan, it will be a time of reflection, reconnection, new adventures in canada, diving more fully into my holistic nutrition studies and time to take care of myself, while also understanding that we have the power to make the MOST of all of our days, regardless of where in the world we vacate.
returning to canada in early august I spent some time visiting with friends and family in calgary and my hometown of lacombe. I felt so much joy surprising my high school best friend and dear little oma, squeezing my big brother, and having a girls weekend to reconnect. however, during this first week at home I was also jetlag as ever, feeling confused, overwhelmed and tired. right before flying home, I had tentatively planned to visit the west coast and wanted so badly to string a bunch of micro adventure together, but I also wanted nothing more than to sleep and cocoon into a small ball in a blanket fort and not come out for a month (hello post-travel burnout). thankfully, my desire to keep moving and enjoy the last bit of summer took over and I headed out west to british columbia.
even if I didn't recognize it's importance in the beginning, filling my august with local adventures, meaningful connections with my closest friends, and new opportunities in canada was exactly what I needed. my time on the west coast was spent bouncing from place to place and I couldn't be more grateful for each of these experiences. driving out west with my parents we spent the first week together visiting my auntie and traveling between vancouver and washington. from there, I headed to vancouver island to spend some much needed time with one of my best friends, holly. leaving filled to the brim with gratitude from our time together, I headed back to the mainland to help guide an adventure retreat with the trail running company Run Like a Girl in squamish. hiking, climbing, white water rafting, stand-up paddle boarding and mountain biking, the weekend was chalked full of adventure and connection with wonderful women and new friends. I haven't spoke much of this yet, but I am also incredibly excited to be working and guiding for more of their adventure retreats this coming season. so more adventures to come!
after wrapping up the retreat and heading back to vancouver, I met up with two of my close friends, kaylee and joel, from university to return to the island and embark on an epic little bikepacking expedition. exploring new terrain and discovering unreal dirt trails, I was so happy to get back on the saddle while reliving fond bike travel memories and also creating new ones.
finishing the bike tour, we headed back to victoria for a few more days to meet up with with more friends. spending the following days back with holly and richard and connecting with my other best friend becky who had moved to the island only days before, meant for a huge 'love fest' of connection, endless smiles and laughing, meaningful chats and simply enjoying being in each others company. this time spent with some of my greatest friends all together couldn't have been more necessary for my own health, well-being, and sanity after returning home.
I truly feel so incredibly blessed by these past fifteen months of travel and the little additional month of adventures in british columbia. this time has taken me through some of the craziest experiences, indescribable memories and opportunities, some of my greatest challenges and heartache, new friendships and many lessons learnt… all which have continued to shape who I am today and who I am strive to be. I understand that whatever is coming my way next is happening for a reason. there are beautiful adventures ahead and more mountains to be climbed, which can only lead to more memories, growth, understanding, and greater connection to both myself and others.
so let’s go!