The past five weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. I left my life in Korea, said goodbye to close friends, reunited with my boyfriend after six months, visited three new countries, reunited with a close friend from college, and had countless new experiences.
I’m so overwhelmed with the experiences I have been privileged enough to enjoy over the past month, and there is no possible way I could have go into detail about each of them – if I did, we’d be here all day. So, for my grandparents, and aunts and uncles who are probably getting antsy without an update, here are some of my favourite moments from the past five weeks.
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
I had never considered going to the Olympics, and I certainly never thought that I’d ever visit the Olympics in Korea. What’s more, I never thought my favourite band from Ontario, would arrive at the Olympics at the same time as me, and perform not one, but two surprise shows. I was even more stoked when the Arkells dedicated our song to Jay and I during their set – turns out, dreams do come true. Oh, and seeing Canada’s men’s hockey team win bronze was also pretty dope.
I made plans to take my Open Water Scuba Diving certification without batting an eyelash. I love the water. I love to swim. What could go wrong? Scuba diving ended up challenging me in ways I had never imagined. I was terrified and anxious at the start. I was determined to enjoy myself diving. One month, and thirteen dives later – I couldn’t be more stoked I stuck with it.
Being a REAL LIFE Couple
After six months of long distance, just getting to hang out with Jay and be a normal couple was the absolute best. I couldn’t have asked for someone better to share so many experiences with – silly selfies, diving, overeating, and even traveler’s diarrhea – it was a truly bonding experience.
Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have offered me an insane amount of delicious food. The mix of cultures throughout these countries has allowed me to indulge in everything from Indian cuisine, to Chinese, Japanese, Malay and Thai. I also can’t forget about all the tasty vegan restaurants I’ve found myself at.
Singapore gets it’s own category, because I have so much appreciation for this country. Progressive and forward thinking – Singapore is clean, accessible, and beautiful. Two days weren’t enough to appreciate this unique country.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
I spent endless hours trying to find an ethical sanctuary in Thailand, and Phuket Elephant Sanctuary was perfect. Hands off, and all about the elephants. Observing these magnificent creatures was a humbling experience.
Rock Climbing in Railay
Since I started climbing indoors a few years ago, I have been terrified to get outdoors due to my fear of heights. The opportunity to climb in one of the climbing hot spots of the world pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me out on some real rocks. I surprisingly didn’t lose my cool 20 metres up a rock face, and it was a pretty incredible experience.
Khao San Road
A casual stroll to check out a local tourist street in Bangkok turned into countless hours of dancing in the street with new friends. Unforgettable.
This has been the longest I have ever been unemployed, and it’s given me a lot of time to learn new things, about myself and my surroundings. It’s been a period of growth and change. I’m slowly learning what I really appreciate and enjoy doing with my time – such as yoga and cooking – things that are challenging to maintain while living a travel lifestyle.
I am also slowly learning how to be a more ethical and mindful traveler. The longer I stay on the road, the more aware I become of issues faced all around the globe. Whether it’s the visibility of feminist issues as I get harassed anytime I walk down the street, or the exploitation of animals everywhere I turn, to the harsh reality while scuba diving that our environment is in tremendous danger – my travels have been eye opening in many ways.
I have been traveling with others for the past five weeks, and as of today, I start the last four weeks of travel on my own. I have only a few short days in Bangkok until I embark on a three week solo adventure in Myanmar. I am looking forward to the challenge of exploring a country with minimal tourist infrastructures in place. Stepping into a land with poor internet and a lack of Starbucks and McDonald’s is sure to be both shocking and a great learning experience.