So you think you know me? Well, I’m going to a shed a little light on my life from my perspective. What do I look like now from the outside? Perhaps someone who is happy, traveling, enjoying life and living their dream – and that is very true. But what happened before all of this might seem a little different than what you may expect. I guess we all have our past stories, right?
At a very early age (6) I dealt with depression, exclusion and being alone. I questioned everything, I didn’t understand why certain things were the way they were. I questioned religion – When my parents introduced me to Jesus and Santa at the same time, I knew something wasn’t right. I quickly found out Santa was not real, and therefore extremely doubted that Jesus was real. My mom still has a letter written from me about why I don’t believe in God or Religion of any kind. I found it to be a really random quality for a child to have.
I never really found my niche in school, I didn’t like sports, wasn’t a math whiz, wasn’t a nerd, I just didn’t really fit in. The only thing I can remember about my elementary school experience was that I literally couldn’t stand my life. I was always thinking suicidal thoughts and constantly begging my parents to let me change schools. I just wanted to start over, somewhere I didn’t know anyone. I changed schools from age 6 – 19 about 5 times and still wasn’t happy wherever I was. But I still held on.
When I was 17, I visited my cousin on Salt Spring Island, BC. This was a life changing moment for me. It was a 10 day trip, and by the 3rd day I was so uncomfortable I was begging to go home. She lives in a cabin, with no electricity, no running water and pretty much no normal amenities. I remember crying in the middle of the woods without toilet paper, while taking a dump. I had to wipe myself with my underwear, It was horrible. Now I love taking dumps in the woods haha! Her vibe was so at peace, the less items she had, the easier her life was. She barely had to work to sustain herself. At the time I was not impressed, but ever since I left, I always longed to go back. There is something special about living sustainably, and especially being on Salt Spring Island.
Many years later – I think the first time I was actually happy with my life was when I started bodybuilding. Around 20 years old I noticed a girl at the gym and was in awe of her body. I asked her how she got a body like that, and turns out she was a trainer. The next year I decided to do my first Bikini Competition. At this time in my life I was convinced by society/family that I should go to school, so I was enrolled for massage therapy. Juggling school and working out was great, I was determined. I felt like a Lone Ranger, because all of my time was spent on me. I wouldn’t party, I wouldn’t really hangout with anyone, I was just focused on myself. I once advertised a birthday party for myself, and since I didn’t really hangout with anyone, no one ended up coming. It was probably the worst feeling, but what did I expect, I didn’t put any time into others. I feel like my entire life is full of me trying to find like-minded people who are interested in being the best version of themselves. If I don’t find those qualities in anyone, I tend to loose interest. Maybe harsh, but I just cannot stand mindless conversations about stupid things that are full of gossip. I continued on and did my Bikini Competition, I placed 4th out of 11. I was pretty stoked! Although I enjoyed the working out side of things, I found a lot of the dieting experience unhealthy and my body was not happy about it. That’s a whole other can of worms to get into, but I definitely delved into another world with fitness and finally found some self confidence.
Having absolutely no motivation to continue on with school, I decided to drop out. I honestly cannot stand routine, or sitting in a classroom – I need to be moving around! I had no idea what to do with myself. I saw that one of my friends was living in West Canada and had some absolutely stunning photos of him with mountains. I couldn’t stop checking out his profile and wondering how I could be living that life as well. At the end of high school I wanted to be a chef, and had loads of experience. Coincidentally his kitchen out west was looking for some chef helpers, and I was so blessed!
I was on the next flight out 4 days later, you could say I was keen. I lived in Waterton for 3 months. It was the first time I’d been decently far away from my family, and It felt pretty good. I hiked, camped and made some amazing friends. Unfortunately, the 3 months ended abruptly when I just wasn’t mentally stable. I was self medicating my emotional unbalance with weed and it was not a good mix. I ended up having an insane breakdown and had to go home immediately. I was devastated. I had just had the most amazing time of my life, but couldn’t mentally handle myself and lost everything. It was the worst 3 months after getting home, extreme depression. I didn’t work, I barely left the house, I was very unhappy. After that, I managed to make it into society again. Yoga, meditation and fitness are three things that always help me get back to my happy place, and sure did help this time around.
I worked in retail for 3 years total and I sure wasn’t enjoying myself. Everyday I would plan my escape from reality, you could say I’m a textbook pisces. I’m a dreamer, I don’t want to be constrained to fit in a box. I had boyfriends who did just that, and I broke it off with them one by one because I couldn’t grow with them around. My soul wanted to expand. Silly me though, I got fooled again. “You should really go to school”, they all said. Constantly, from every direction, school, marriage, kids was always the way it was. I knew from the bottom of my soul I did not want to follow that path, but I gave it one more try. I googled a job with a high salary that was half interesting. I studied Business for one year, and dropped out – obviously.
I booked a flight to India to do my Yoga Teacher Training, praying I could find something that would actually fill my soul. It was fun/interesting and I did enjoy myself. I didn’t so much enjoy the classroom side of things, and probably fell asleep in more than a few of the classes, but I still learned a lot. Still to this day I want to do another Yoga Teacher Training to get more knowledge and teach classes as a part-time gig. I got back and still had my boring retail job. Another boring year went by and I was still planning that escape. Teaching yoga in my home town wasn’t going to do the trick, I knew I had to follow another path.
I decided to give West Canada another go. I applied to over 50 jobs, sent follow up emails, did Skype interviews and ended up getting a job in Jasper. Boom, I was ready for my getaway! I said goodbye to everyone for 6 months. In that 6 months I met so many like-minded people and went on amazing hikes. The whole experience really filled my soul, I had a blast and I saved some money! Needless to say, I had been mentally stable for a couple years at this point and made it the whole 6 months! But I didn’t want to go home to “Onteribble”. I wanted another adventure.
I met a good friend in Jasper and we both pitched in money to buy a van together in New Zealand. We got that Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand and headed over there to explore the world! She didn’t end up staying long, so It was just good old me in the van. The vanlife changed my life. I realised how cheaply I could live, and how I didn’t need to be working as much to pay off a massive mortgage, or that brand new car. If I was good I could live off of less than 150 a week. If you’ve been following my blog, you know everything from this point on. You know, road trips, adventures, photography, friends and amazingness. Life is good.
Yea, you probably noticed that 3/4 of this post was decently negative. Let’s just say, when I look back on my life, I really didn’t enjoy much of it. Only in the past 4 years has it really turned into the life I have always dreamed of. The one rule that stuck by me the whole time was “If you don’t like it, change it”. I went from wanting to be a chef, to a massage therapist, to fitness trainer, to a yoga teacher, a business woman to an extremely confused human. But I kept trying new things, because eventually one was going to make me happy. I find it funny because the things that make me the most happy are the most simple. Most people could be set if they were given a $300,000 house, a $50,000 car, $4,000+ monthly payments on bills and who knows what else. But what makes me happy is a van, a laptop, some camera equipment and the best kind of company. I own less, so I can work less and end up doing so much more in life!
My entire life took a massive spin for the better, and now I’ve got a new goal. I want to inspire anyone who may have had a similar confusing upbringing, to follow their intuition. Even if you’re just confused about what to do, travel is always the answer. You’re going to learn so much about yourself and the world wherever you end up going. Out in the world of travellers, there is no ego, there is only happiness and acceptance. I wish you to have the courage to leave the “safe” life you have to try something more empowering. Because the “safe” way of doing things is boring as hell, and most people knowingly hate their life, but continue on doing so.
Cheers to the life you dreamed of!