“A year to travel. Wow! So where will you go? What will you do?”
I can’t tell you the exact moment I decided to take a year away from my everyday life to hit the road on a solo do-it-yourself adventure. The idea came to me in increments. But I can pinpoint what and who inspired me.
The beautiful landscape of British Columbia. Standing on the deck of a ferry as it cruised across a glistening ocean against a backdrop of mountains made me wonder if I could ever take this view and make it my daily reality, at least for the short term. I remember someone describing B.C. as a place where there is little separation between the outside and inside world. This is due to the mild climate during the winter, meaning you can explore, camp, and hike all year round.
Other adventurous women. In the past 10 years, I’ve met several adventurous women who have packed up their lives to explore the world. In Australia, I first met Sandra in a hostel in Sydney. Sandra had left her home in Spain to travel and live in the Land Down Under for a year. We were bunkmates in our four-bed dorm. In a few days, she would be leaving for Melbourne in Southern Australia and I’d be flying north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Sandra shared some tips on what to see as I made my way down the coast, and we hatched a plan to meet up when I made it to Melbourne. Five weeks later, we were together again!
Hearing other women’s stories of adventures and some of the challenges they face, such as keeping to a budget (Sandra was working in hostels for free lodging while looking for work) and dining alone (tip: sit at the bar!) has helped me plan my own year of travel with excitement and a dose of reality.
Reading Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to kids. Since Wade’s Wiggly Antlers was released in early May, I’ve leapt at the chance to read to children in schools, libraries and bookstores. I’m always amazed by how smart these young readers are and by their ability to grasp the nuances of Wade’s struggle to deal with the impending loss of his antlers, while waiting for his new ones to grow. I loved the idea of taking this opportunity to meet and read to kids in cities and communities across Western Canada. In the past month, I’ve been fortunate to visit schools and bookstores in Calgary, Alberta and Nanaimo, B.C..
I feel incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to travel and explore. Keeping these inspirations in mind will help me make the most of every day.