"Look Into Your Heart and You'll Find Love, Love, Love" - Jason Mraz

Aug 31, 2009

It's funny how when you are single you can't stand hearing about happy couples and fairytale romance. I know... trust me. For years I was the poster child for single, independent females. I put myself first and viewed relationships as an inconvenience to my travel and life plans. While my friends dated and spilled their giddy tales of falling in love, I was perfectly content with my self proclaimed Miss Independent status. I traveled the world, I partied my nights away, and I took pride in the fact that I didn't rely on anybody but myself.
The past year has been very pivotal in terms of my stance on relationships. Now, while the majority of my friends are rediscovering their single lives, I'm the one in a relationship. The tides have turned and it's now me with the stories and the never disappearing smile. I try so hard to refrain from talking about my boyfriend every minute of every day, but it's hard to contain myself sometimes... every little thing that he does convinces me that there is no girl in the world quite as lucky as me. Listen to me... I even blog about it. I hear the words coming from my mouth and I barely recognize myself. I used to roll my eyes every time that somebody mentioned how amazing their boyfriend/girlfriend was, but I finally get it. When love comes around even the most independent of people can't resist. There is nothing quite like it.

Thank You, Summer.

Summer is drawing to an end, and I must say it's been one heck of a season. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... NOTHING compares to summer in Canada. Sure, the weather didn't always cooperate, but there is something about the general atmosphere and attitude of people here in the summer... everybody makes the most of the few short months of warmth. Those countries that are warm year round, well, that's awesome... but after the misery of a long winter and the anticipation through spring, you just can't beat Canada when it comes to summer. We live each moment to the fullest, not a weekend wasted. It's been great being home this summer, but my oh so patriotic status may change in a month or 2 when the temperatures plummet.

This weekend I went camping with some of my best friends in beautiful Radium, British Columbia. Despite being only an hour across the BC/Alberta border, there is something so exciting about leaving the province. Sure, we could have stayed in Banff and things wouldn't have been much different, but just saying "I'm going to BC" makes it seem like a bigger, much more exciting trip. It was a perfect weekend, with beautiful weather.
What a way to end an amazing summer.

Fixed It!

Aug 28, 2009

A few of you have informed me that you were unable to comment on my posts since I changed the theme.
Sorry all, it's fixed now! (At least I think so... care to test it for me?)

Project 365

Aug 25, 2009

Project 365 is a photo project that I started on January 1st. Each day, I take one photo and write a caption, or in my case, a story about the photo and the day. Today is day 237, and many days I've struggled to find creativity when nothing was inspiring me. My photos are extremely random, It's been quite the challenge, but I've had a lot of fun doing this project, and I'm not stopping until December 31st!
View my photos here!


Aug 23, 2009

No matter how many times you say goodbye, it never gets easier.
My friend Jess has left for Vancouver. He has been accepted into an amazing art school, and I'm so proud of him for chasing his dreams. This move is going to be the best thing he'll ever do for himself... but I'm really going to miss him.
Good luck Jess, you'll do amazing.

Adventures in Ikea

Aug 17, 2009

I love Ikea. The odd shaped, brightly colored items have taken quite a toll on my bank account balance in the 5 years since I first moved out on my own. In typical moving to a new house fashion, I once again made the hour and a half journey headed to the giant blue and yellow store to stock up on all sorts of amazing things to decorate my pretty new residence. After dining on $1.99 pasta, Kimmy and I set out on a mission to find the perfect bookshelves. One very important thing that we hadn't considered: I drive a tiny Neon. We headed out of the store thrilled with our purchases. After jamming one shelf into my car, we stared at the other, much larger shelf on the cart. We both knew that it wouldn't fit. The box was nearly the entire length of the vehicle. However, not willing to trust our instincts, we attempted to make it fit. Picture this: 2 petite girls trying to lift a heavy box into a tiny car. People in the parking lot laughed as we struggled. Finally, I convinced a heartbroken Kimmy that we'd have to leave the shelf behind. We headed to the returns counter, embarrassed when they asked the reason for our return. I was exhausted and ready to head home. Kimmy, however, wasn't willing to give up the fight. She insisted on purchasing another, slightly smaller bookcase, despite my concern that it too would be far too large for my car. Once again, we headed to my car and once again, made a fool of ourselves. There was absolutely no way it was going to fit. By this point, it had started to rain, and we were standing in the Ikea parking lot, soaking wet with a box that weighed nearly as much as one of us. I tried to comfort Kimmy, who was clearly upset about the situation. I mean, not that we have a television, but where will we put our DVD's?? We returned to the returns line, and as luck would have it, we ended up being helped by the very same employee. Disappointed, we left the store and headed home.
Fortunately, we'd still managed to fit my much smaller shelf into the trunk of my car. Once we'd got home, we struggled to carry it into the house, where I proceeded to build my beautiful new shelf. A few days earlier, I'd struggled to put together an Ikea desk, vowing never to buy furniture from there again.... but after setting my eyes on the shelf, I couldn't resist. So there I was on the floor assembling, once again following the wordless directions provided. It seemed to be going very smoothly for an Ikea item. I was almost finished with my project, only piece left to add. Of course, that piece refused to cooperate. Annoyed, I left it the way it was. It looks like it's finished, just a bit unstable, perhaps.
I think I'm going to take a break from Ikea, for awhile.

Life is What You Make It

Aug 13, 2009

Call me crazy. I won't disagree.
As I cram my brain with all things insurance, it has once again dawned on me that I'm a hypocrite. I'm that girl that constantly encourages people to do what makes them happy. Chase your dreams, don't settle for less than you are capable of. Perhaps I should practice what I preach.
Don't get me wrong, my job is a great opportunity. The potential for advancement is great, the salary is the best I've ever made, and all in all, it's a great company. This is an amazing opportunity, for somebody else. Signing the employment agreement felt like entering a marriage with somebody I wasn't in love with. While I'm sure the beginning of my career will be alright, I know that eventually the resentment and desire to be truly happy will end in a devastating divorce.
The problem is, I know what I'm truly passionate about in life, and it's not insurance. In my opinion, a career in the travel and aviation industry is my "calling". It doesn't even matter if I'm the one going on vacation. Last night, as Ryan sat awaiting departure on a plane bound for Victoria, I texted him the inflight announcements that I know off by heart. I felt the same excitement I feel when it's me boarding that beautiful Boeing, despite being at home with no travel plans in the near future. I've answered countless emails in response to my travel blogs, and written pages of travel tips. With that said, today I've submitted job applications to numerous travel agencies and I'm keeping a steady watch on airlines for signs of hiring resuming. All between studying for my insurance exam.

(I took this photo in Port Denarau, Fiji. Combined with my newly discovered love for photography, I think a travel career could be amazingly amazing.)

UPDATE: Within an hour of submitting my application, I've been contacted and have a telephone interview with a travel agency in town.

I Don't Miss School.

After months of working in an insurance office doing absolutely nothing aside from answering and directing phone calls, I'm finally set to take the exam required to obtain my license next week. The only issue? I'm going to fail. Okay, I know what you are thinking.... "with an attitude like that, yes!". But I'm just being realistic. I haven't studied. I can't study. I don't know what it is. I'm convinced that I've got undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. I open the book, read a page, and get distracted by far more interesting things to do. I'm going to make an honest effort to learn everything I need to know by next Wednesday, but at the same time, this weekend I move into a new house and the distraction of unpacking will be hard to fight. Perhaps if it was more like school... a classroom setting, or even an online course. But no, I have a huge book that I'm expected to memorize and hope for the best. A book about insurance. I can't read that stuff, I need interesting stories, real literature. Oh goodness, I'm going to fail.

Those Were the Days...

Aug 11, 2009

I'm missing my nomadic travel lifestyle. It seems that I get emails on a daily basis from people reading my travel blog, begging for travel tips and any useful information to make their journey that much more efficient and enjoyable. That was me, 2 years ago. I feel honored that not only do they read my blog, but that they seek advice from me on the subject I'm most passionate about.
Traveling is amazing. In my life, it's second only to my friends and family. If I died tomorrow, I'd die happy with the knowledge that I've experienced more in my 23 years than many people will in an entire lifetime. I work hard to travel, I dream of travel... I live to travel.
My life consists of two phases:
  1. Saving for future travel.
  2. Traveling.

I'm currently in phase 1, working to save my dollars to plan my next escape. It's going to take awhile, but I'll get those passport stamps!

Things That Make Me Smile

Aug 8, 2009

Sitting at home alone on a Saturday night, I often get a little lonely. Sure, it was my choice to opt out of the party and bar scene. I could be out having a drunken good time, but that's really not my choice of activities now that I've matured from the 18 year old party girl that I once was. It was another one of those lame Saturday nights, wondering why nobody was returning my text messages, ready to convince myself that nobody loves me, when Ryan sent me a text message reading "I wish you were in my arms". Aww! It's funny how a few simple words can turn your mood around so fast. Suddenly I was all smiles.
Sorry to disgust you with my giddy girly happiness. I understand your irritation, I used to hate people like me too.
I've never been like this before, and I think that I'm more than entitled to my share of happy relationship chatter.

Always on the Move

In the course of my life, I've lived in more houses than I can count. I'm not exaggerating by much... it's been well over 30. Born to a teenage mom, we moved at least twice a year... as many young adults do. By the time I was 11, I'd already attended 5 different schools. When my brothers were born, we were forced to upsize, packing our boxes a few more times. We tried out the country lifestyle, which led to moving closer to the city. Still in the country, we moved to a small town, only to relocate to the city later that year. Finally, my parents decided to build a home that we'd stay in for years to come. While waiting for it's completion, we moved to a temporary home. When the house was completed, we moved in, happy to be finished with our nomadic lifestyle. Later that year, my parents got a divorce, forcing us to move, yet again. 3 houses later, we settled in a place that I called home for an entire 2 years before heading off to college. In the year that I lived in my dorm, my mother obtained her real estate license. Selling homes opened her eyes to all of the houses available, and she moved, again. I came home from college and lived with my her before finding my own place. I stayed there, quite content for nearly 2 years. Then there was Australia. I can't even count how many places I must have called home while I was a backpacker. I lived in hostels, share houses, staff accomodations, and with family members. When I finally returned to Canada, I moved back in with my family, where I've been since. Next weekend, I get the keys to my new house!

Lost count yet? I sure did, about 15 years ago!

This blog is serving to distract me from packing up my room.

When I Was Your Age...

Aug 6, 2009

What is it with old people jumping to the assumption that people they've just met are interested in their entire medical history? I'm sympathetic to the fact that many seniors endure a lot of pain in simple daily tasks, but honestly, HONESTLY... and I mean this in the nicest way possible... I do not need or want to know about your hernia operation, poor eyesight, chronic back pain, or high blood pressure. Working in this office we have a fair amount of aging clients come in on a daily basis, usually complaining about their insurance rates. I've heard vivid, often disturbing stories from old men and women about strokes, diabetes, heart problems, numerous hospital visits and how they are going to die soon. Now how am I supposed to respond to that? "Oh, man that sucks!" Call me incompassionate, but I just don't think it's necessary to enlighten me on your life on constant suffering. Tell me I'm young, tell me that I'll live a great life and die happy. I wish for all seniors that old age didn't involve pain and suffering, but I can't change that, and it makes for awkward, uncomfortable conversation. Stop making me depressed already!


Sometimes you just can't help but to smile.
I've got everything a girl could wish for.
Photo credit - My super talented boyfriend, Ryan!

Camping Trip # 3!

Aug 4, 2009

Another long weekend has come and gone. August has arrived and the end of summer is approaching much faster than I'm willing to accept. That said, I'd rank 2009 pretty high in my list of "Best Summers Ever" and we still have a month left.

This weekend was another epic 3 days. On Saturday morning Ryan and I packed up the Neon and set out on a camping adventure. We took a slight detour, stopping at a camera store in Calgary. Having just purchased a new camera body, Ryan was in search of a perfect lens. He tested out several of them, convincing me to pose for photos despite my obvious disinterest. Oh, the life of a photographer's girlfriend. We spent 2 hours in that store before I finally persuaded him to spend only $1000 as opposed to the $3000 that he was ready to charge to his credit card. I do love cameras, and I having a growing interest in photography, but 2 hours was a bit excessive. I was hungry. He reluctantly left the store and it was onwards to Peter's Drive In, where we dined on amazing burgers and a chocolate-strawberry milkshake. Finally, we started heading west towards the Rocky Mountains.
I was born and raised here in Alberta, only a short drive from the mountains. Despite this fact, it never fails to amaze me when I first catch a glimpse of the giant rocky peaks. We drove down the beautiful winding roads, stopping around what seemed to be every corner to get out of the car and take photos. We were so preoccupied with our cameras that we forgot to stop for gas in Canmore, and were faced with a nearly empty tank and 70 km to our destination. Luckily we were able to find a small gas station in the middle of nowhere, with an old fashioned gas pump and ridiculously overpriced fuel. It was expensive, but it beats being stuck on the side of the Trans Canada highway on a long weekend. It was 10 pm when we finally made it to the campsite. We set up our tent, ate some dinner, and snuggled up inside warm sleeping bags.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and cooked bacon and eggs over the fire.... a change from my regular marhmallows and hot dogs. Perhaps I should go camping with Ryan more often! Sunday also marked the day that we'd been dating for 2 months. 2 entire months, and we still like eachother?! This for me is a huge accomplishment. We were kissy and cuddly and all sorts of romantic couple on a romantic mountain getaway sort of stuff. I'm so used to being single that displays of affection normally make me roll my eyes or mutter sarcastic comments... but I'm finding that even commitment-o-phobics such as myself can have trouble resisting romance once in awhile. This boy sure has a strange effect on me. We ventured to the Columbia Icefields where I was mesmorized at the sight of a huge glacier on a hot summer day. The one issue that I have with camping is the lack of showering. I'm okay with not wearing makeup, but being in the dirty, dusty mountains and not being to rinse off is a bit hard for me to deal with. My hair was greasy, my clothes were dirty, and I was wearing no makeup... but that didn't stop Ryan from taking far too many close up photos of me. Oh well, it just goes to show that he still likes me even when I'm at my worst.

That evening we stood under the moonlight as he taught me a bit about long exposure and night time photography. I was fascinated and want to try more. For one particular shot, he had me hold down his shutter button as he walked far away, lantern in hand. There I was, all alone in the pitch black as he walked away with the only source of light. I started convincing myself that I could hear a bear in the trees behind me, and stood in fear until he finally returned. The photo turned out great, but that was the last of that. I headed back to the tent, out of sight from the bears that I was sure were out to get me.

When we woke up, Monday had arrived and it was time to pack up and head back home. More photos, more food, and we finally hit the road. It was such a perfect weekend, and I'm such a happy camper (get it, camper? Okay... not funny) these days.