This post is a long time overdue! I've been meaning to write one for a while, which is a bit daft really as I imagine what I would've been saying when I originally intended to write this is would be different to what I'm planning to do now...
So I think a while back, maybe in January, I wrote that I wanted to work at a summer camp before I left... Well this plan completely fell through, which is a shame, as I really wanted to do it! I was relying on my friend Brooke (who's worked there for the past couple of years) to talk to her boss to get it sorted for me, but it was one of those things where it's really not a good idea to rely on someone else... I pestered her about it for a good month or two but eventually just gave up and moved on. Just one of these things that can't be helped I guess - sometimes there's only so much you can do!
Things have gone up from there though - I mentioned (well, screamed) in a past post about how Death Cab were going to Manchester and I was gutted because I couldn't afford the tickets for here... Well, the girls (being a certain Sophie, Kathryn & Laura) bought the ticket for me! It was possibly one of the nicest surprises ever and pretty much cemented my decision in deciding to give up bothering Brooke about summer. Before the gig tickets it was actually bothering me slightly, not knowing what to do in the summer... Originally, I was going to leave Lake Louise at the end of the ski season (early May) travel for a month, then go to work at this summer camp for two months, earn shit loads of money and come home in august a tanned, rich and happy larry. The Death Cab concert however is at the end of May, and they are only playing in Calgary & Edmonton (two cities in the province I am currently in, Alberta) which meant that if I was sticking to the summer camp plan then I would have to stick around Alberta/BC so wouldn't be able to travel all that much, which would not be good! Bit of a dilemma... but now I'm seeing Death Cab everything is sorted out. It's like they guided me :') I'm going with Jess to see them, and we're travelling nine hours each way to Edmonton to see them. No joke! We could've potentially seen them in Calgary but the venue was bigger and there was only seating tickets left, and I do not want to be sat down and far away at my dream gig. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. It's gonna be a brutal journey but worth every second, and cent, I think. I hope they play a Lack of Colour. (Oh god, almost spelt it without the u then. England please forgive me...)
SO NOW THERE'S A NEW PLAN.
(Just to interject here. I really don't like the way I write, I think it sounds kinda retarded, which is probably why I don't blog that often. That and the hostel internet just does not agree with photobucket at all, only letting me upload a photo and a half before crashing. Goddamn mountains.)
I'm staying in Lake Louise 'til the end of June. I've been made supervisor, which is really good, because for one it's not much more than the usual go about - yano, serve a few pastries, make fussy latte skim extra-hot with a shot of vanilla and two shots of english toffee with no foam half sweet with two shots of expresso but in a large cup (I wish I was kidding) - except it's gunna look proper good on my CV and means I'll probably be able to apply for equivalent positions when I'm back home despite not having done much extra work. And I get $1 extra an hour! (Big woop - not.)
The current plan is to leave Lake Louise between 20-22nd of June, then head across to Ottawa to visit CRYSTAL! I'm stoked. I'm planning to stay with Crystal for 2-3 weeks - We're going to spend Canada Day in Ottawa, which as it's the capital is obviously the best place to be. Everytime I tell people I'm spending the day there they're pretty much always in awe/super jealous. Crystal (who is French Canadian, I'm sure I've mentioned) also has an apartment in Montreal (technically her brothers, but now he's not in uni there anymore, she has free reign!) so we're gunna spend our time flitting between Ontario and Quebec. I AM SO EXCITED! It's gunna be a brutal journey though - originally I wanted to fly but couldn't find anything cheaper than $300, whereas the greyhound is $110. FOR A TWO DAY TRIP. Ah, I'll get a numb bum on a bus seat for 48 hours if it saves me 200 bucks. That is how strapped for cash I am haha!
That'll take me to mid-July. Then there's around three weeks that I haven't actually planned out yet... Eventually I will get round to it! I've been tossing around ideas... The main one is that I really, really want to go to Yukon. It's the province above BC and next to Alaska (I realise I talk about Canadian geography as if you all know - I can't be bothered posting a map on here, go find one yourself!) that isn't widely inhabited. Most of Canada lives within some small hundred number of km of the US border, because the further up you get the more wild the terrain gets. I get mixed reactions when I tell people that I want to go to Yukon - a lot of people give me a funny look and don't understand why I want to go there. Apparently there's a lot of wilderness, but that's actually what I'm looking for... In an ideal world I want to kayak between the two main cities, Dawson City and Whitehorse, but it's like 700km and I don't think I'm quite ready for that yet haha XD. However in July there is the 'longest canoe and kayak marathon in the world... 3-5 days in the midnight sun' that I would like to see, preferably join in on but somehow I have a feeling that some pre-training might be involved. I'm hoping to travel Yukon with my good friend Mick, a rather sporadic Canadian boy from Ontario that work(ed - he's since quit his job) at the 'rival cafe' in the Lake Louise village. It's good because not a lot of Yukon has cell signal and, knowing my luck, probably has a high population of bears so it'll be good not to travel alone - not to mention Mick is a bit of a free spirit so I'll probably end up getting convinced into doing many a crazy thing that I wouldn't've of even considered had I been alone! There's also the worlds longest bathtub race in August, taking place between the same two cities. Yes, bathtub race. I shit you not. This is something we are considering entering, however I have a sneaky feeling that seeing as the race is 700km long they're not using your average B&Q bathtub. Hmmm, we'll see. I am SO excited about the Yukon though. It's a bit like Alaska in the sense that the people are slightly wierd and wonderful/backward. One of my managers, Suzanne, travelled there for three weeks when she was younger and said that she had more stories to tell from those three weeks then two months elsewhere. It's gunna be an adventure!
So that brings me to August. As I fly home from Vancouver at the end of August (although I haven't actually changed my flight yet, it's currently still sat on June 24th) I'm going to stay out west. The intention is to spend 4 weeks on Vancouver island, in a place called Tofino, which is a renowned surfer town. It's a bit like Lake Louise in the sense that it's a small town and the main focus is on something active (Lake Louise - snowboarding/skiing, Tofino - surfing). I'd like to try surfing, although my main interest is to kayak - apparently the sea kayaking around Vancouver Island is amazing. I'm hoping to volunteer at the HI hostel there, but I'm not sure if they offer that oppurtunity - the oppurtunity being, you volunteer housekeeping with them for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, and they give you free bed. It would really help with my (lack of) money situation! My housemate Jacqui is volunteering at the HI in Victoria (the main city on Vancouver Island) so fingers crossed Tofino offers the same thing! She found the oppurtunity through something called 'woofing', (pronounced woo-fing, not wuff-ing, like the dog!) which is basically the concept of working not for money, but for bed and/or food. It's a website company that the travel company that sent her to Canada gave her automatic membership to, so I need to look into becoming a member to... There are loads of different kinds of woofing, for example, many people work on farms. It's definitely something I'm going to look into, incase this volunteering doesn't work out, as I'm not gunna be able to support myself accomodation wise for two whole months. (I'll get more onto this later...) I think I'll also spend a couple of days in Vancouver before I leave, because I didn't really get a chance to see the city when I first arrived due to being in a permanent state of stress.
So there you have it! It probably doesn't sound as exciting as I think it's gunna be. I suppose I haven't really gone in depth into what I'm planning to do - but as long as the hostels I stay at have wifi you'll see that as it comes! I'm looking into lots of other stuff, for example 'ridesharing'. Canada is fricking huge (obvious) and so getting round is an experience in itself - the main way I'll travel will probably be Greyhound bus but there's also hitchhiking, or the argueably more safe ridesharing, which is a website where people bascially post the journey they're making and when, hoping people will join them to pitch in for gas/be a second driver. I don't drive so can't help with the latter, but I really like the idea anyway! Being here has made me a lot more up for trying new things and meeting all kinds of people (sure my dad appreciates this too, haha..).
Even though I'm excited, I haven't actually got round to organising a lot of this yet, mainly because I'm furiously in denial about the amount of money I have. Currently I have around $800 in my account, which would be great, except I owe my dad $850. So really, I have -$50. It's just ironic because I buy less now than I ever have before - I just have to pay my own rent and my own food (which is ridiculously expensive) and until March I was having to pay my ski pass off. I have four paydays left before I leave (and one after I leave) so I'm hoping to pay my dad of immediately next payday and then just not eat for two months, ha. What's pretty good is that when I finish at Laggan's, I get a bonus of $1 an hour for every hour I've worked since I've been here, so that'll be between $900-$1000, and, if all goes well, I'll get the security deposit back on my house, which is $300. (If I don't get it back the shit will hit the fan as my house was filthy when I got there - the cupboards smelt of garbage and the bath was black). I can't help but feel worried - isn't it just so wrong that the only thing that's holding me back from doing everything I'd like to is money? So frustrating. I know full well already that however much money I have won't enough - but at the same time, isn't that always the case? I know I won't be able to kayak as much as I like. I know I'm going to be coming with barely any money and then heading straight to uni, in London, of all places. I'm trying my best to be chill about it though, because I've had bugger all money for the past four months of my life and they've been some of the best! I suppose it's just easier here because there's a lot I don't have to pay for that I would back home - e.g. I live with all my friends whereas back home they're all spread out, I live in the mountains so they're plenty to do that doesn't require money (well, snowboarding did at the beginning but doesn't now!) and I live in a town with seven shops and nothing else so there's not a right lot to spend your money on! I will be fine, I tell myself. It will work out.
And as for after Canada? Well, the rest of my life... Apparently friends back home have money on whether I'm actually going to come home or not, or if I do, whether I'll go to university. I can say now, I am definitely coming home. (Actually, although I'm 99% sure, I shouldn't promise anything. Mick's cycling to Mexico in September...) Getting into UCL was so difficult, and I worked so, so hard throughout College that it seems like a waste to not even go and see what it's like. The problem was I worked myself so hard during College - never again will I do that to myself. So if I feel the same soul-crushing pressures and stress that I felt during college, I will be out of there, unashamed with my head high. You don't realise how much progress it is for me to be able to say that - previously, education was all the mattered to me. I would not fail. So if I got to UCL and hate it, and I leave, it's not failure anymore. Some people might see it that way - I don't. Those people? They can fuck off.
I have so many ideas though that it's almost tempting to forgo Uni altogether. I WANT TO TRAVEL EVERYWHERE!!!! for a start. (Well, not everywhere. Sorry North Korea...) Next summer, I want to do Europe. Originally I wanted to do the Eurorail ticket thing, but I've decided I'd rather cycle it, and idea which Sophie laughed shamelessly at me for, followed by 'ok, I'll take a really slow train, you can cycle beside it, and whilst I'm sat in my comfy chair I'll occasionally throw food at you'. I have the most encouraging friends. I am being serious! I love cycling. Absolutely love it. They say a car gives you so much freedom, but I am never gonna be able to afford one/afford to learn to drive one for a good few years, I don't think. So why not get a bike? Yea you might get rained on and a permanently sore arse, but you get ripped as fuck, and get to appreciate your surroundings more. I am fed up of crappy buses. When I come home I want to get a bike (yes dad I don't know quite how I'll afford this yet but I'll get to that when it comes) and join the lyrca wearing/cycle club at Uni and just become brutal and cycle Europe. Er, yea. Not like, intensely cycle everyday for ten hours - you know, the kind of trip where the intention is to cycle - just cycle between where I intend to travel. Dream big, you know?
My dream for a long time has been to do East Asia - you know, China, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, that lot... But I'm gonna leave that for a couple of years 'til I'm a more seasoned traveller. Or maybe I'll voltuneer in one of those countries to begin with. Maybe I'll do a TEFL course. Maybe I'll drop out of Architecture to study Japanese and go and live there. Maybe I'll do another working holiday in Australia or New Zealand. Maybe I'll do camp america and end up in jail for strangling children. Maybe I'll marry a Canadian and stay here. Maybe I'll pursue snowboarding and travel between the hemispheres, living in a permanent winter. Maybe I'll go live in France for a year after Uni. (Actually, I'm planning to do this, for real!) Maybe I'll cycle across every continent. Maybe I'll swim the channel. Maybe I'll decide to make more bags and pillows and open up my own shop. Maybe I'll run a cafe somewhere, with decor inspired by my adventures. Maybe I'll decide to study math instead and win a Nobel Prize. Maybe I'll fall in love. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll travel forever. The only limitation, I have come to realise, is yourself.
And then I chundered everywherrrrrrrrrrre.