Tess and I lived in Vancouver together. I was taking a break from university. Tess had just finished high school.
Living in Vancouver showed me that I could be adventurous, leave on trips, come home and pick up where I left off. I learned not to live life so linearly. I learned how to appreciate and recognize the support from my family and my home base. Vancouver was life changing.
Tess was my go-to girl in Vancouver. When we weren’t working, we were exploring the city, dumpster diving, driving scooters along the ocean, having life chats, and doing back-alley beauty treatments *I waxed her armpits and made her bleed 😦
One of the most memorable times in B.C was our weeklong trip on the Juan De Fuca trail. I laughed so hard as we sang along to amazing pop music, battled exhaustion, ate contaminated food, slept in a wet tent, watched Tess trip over rocks and into rivers, made our milestones after wanting to give up, and so much more!
Last year, after a trip to Asia where Tess got her appendix removed and snapchatted her ordeal, she came to Hamilton. One week we were touring Niagara Falls and the waterfalls in Hamilton, and the next week, my life had flipped upside-down. She was my rock, and I could not imagine going through that ordeal without Tess.
Without further ado, here are some travel stories of my pal Tess!
What city do you call home?
What was a defining moment/situation that made you decide to travel/be adventurous?
I can’t really recall a defining moment or situation that made me want to travel/be adventurous. Ever since I was a little kid, my family and I would always be on different road trips. We were either heading to the mountains to visit families to ski or boat on the lake in Christina Lake, BC. I remember going as fast as I could down any mountain we set foot and traveling to different lakes all around Manitoba; searching for frogs, going fishing, swimming and sitting around a campfire telling stories and playing charades.
When I was 10 years old my sister was off to Australia with her friends for 6 months after high school. This intrigued me and I was set on traveling after school. It was in my mind, and it stuck.
Where have you been/lived?
Brandon, MB: – This is where I was born, raised, still end up always coming back to, and now currently still live.
Vancouver, BC: Katimavik. Living in East Vancouver, with a house full of 12 people from all over Canada. All the way from Happy Goose Bay, NF; to me, in Manitoba. This was my first real experience living away from home. This is also where I met one of my good friends who I will always keep in contact with, and probably even travel together, Liz. 🙂 I was newly 18 ready for change and adventure. This trip was just that. I volunteered with the YWCA, with my favourite placement being with Crab Tree Corner in the Downtown East Side. I met so many beautiful, unique, and different people. Best memory of this time was the “Juan De Fuca”!! I still tell this experience to so many people, as this really brought out a vibe inside me that I can’t really explain to many people.
First Euro Trip: When we were 20, my best friend and I explored Europe. We visited: London, Liverpool, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Pisa, Florence, Venice, San Giorgio della Richinvelda – Where I was able to meet my Dad’s side of my family for the very first time!, Venice(again), Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, and then back to London, then Canada!
Hawaii: I’ve been to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii twice. The first time, I went for 3 weeks, then, I went for a month and a half. Living at the beach, hanging out with the locals, and loving life. Sunset to sundown, finding new beaches, and mass amounts of beach volleyball.
‘Self-Finding’ trip: First it was to Europe for Christmas. London, England for Christmas to visit the Brother-in-law with my mom and sister, then Edinburgh, Scotland for the amazing New Year’s Bash – Hogmanay. After 20 awesome days in both places, it was off to Thailand for me. I had this idea in my head that I was going to visit, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, but I ended up staying the entire 2 months in Thailand. There I visited: Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan(full moon party obviously) Krabi, Ao Nang/Railay, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket (read more about this story below), back to London, then off to Ottawa, to visit friends there and in Hamilton, ON. 🙂
Canada: Countless trips out West, and to Montreal.
I do feel like I’ve lived half of my life in the mountains, so we will count that too.
Can you share a memorable/funny travel story?
There are too many to tell you.
If there is one moment that I will always remember to this day, that exact feeling I had on this day, was hiking the Juan De Fuca on the West Coast.
It was our longest and hardest day of the trail. We were all tired, had been trekking in the bush for hours, going up and down on steep terrain, wondering when we were going to see the end. We knew that this night, we would be camping on the beach, and couldn’t wait until we were able to set up shop.
We were coming up the ocean and could hear it in the distance as we got closer and closer. You could say we were getting a little delirious, from maybe lack of water, not enough protein on the last pit stop, but we were determined. Our energy shot up when we knew we were so close. We also had a deadline to make it there, or else we would be stuck where we were from the tide.
We came up to the last bit of the trail in the trees, the ocean so close, the sun right there. We came out of the trees to the most beautiful sight. The ocean breeze, the sun kissing your skin, and the sound of the waves hitting the rocks. I don’t think I have seen so many pure and happy faces all at one time. This moment brought our energies up, as we were almost reborn in this moment. We celebrated that we made it, excited to trek over that shoreline to make it to camp. As we got to camp, we were too excited to even set up. We just wanted to sit there and enjoy our view. The ocean was at our finger-tips. Right there as we embraced the warmth of the sun, with that cool ocean breeze. We sat around the fire that night, telling our feelings of this day, as this was most definitely our favourite. I can still picture it. I can still feel it.
Share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling
You know that saying, “I left a piece of my heart in this place” or whatever?
Well, I left my appendix in Thailand.
It was the third last day of my trip to Thailand before I had to jet back to London. I was on the island of Phi Phi, I was just out for another night of partying and drinking out of buckets. I woke up the next morning, thinking that maybe I was just really hung over, and maybe my body was taking a toll on me. After a few hours, I decided I was going to book a hotel room all to myself after staying in hostels with people for the last month. I thought maybe since I wasn’t feeling the greatest I should get my room. Once I checked in, I was in the bathroom right away. Feeling so nauseous, but there wasn’t anything to bring up anymore. I couldn’t keep water down, Pepto-bismo pills, or even soda crackers. I knew I had to go to the clinic before I got dehydrated and passed out in my hotel room alone.
I got up the courage and strength to walk to the clinic, in so much pain in my lower abdominal I couldn’t stand up straight. After being in the clinic hooked up to an IV for fluids and antibiotics for 6 hours, the doctor and nurse told me there was a 50/50 I appendicitis. Oh great.
After another hour and a half of being there, they sent me home with some antibiotics and painkillers and told me if I still had pain in the morning, to head straight to the mainland and to the hospital.
Well, I woke up and checked out, and yes still in so much pain. After sitting outside of the hotel for a few hours waiting for my boat to arrive, I was off to Phuket (the place I never wanted to go). I went straight to the International Hospital of Phuket. I checked into the ER, had blood tests, x-ray’s, an ultrasound, and after 3 different doctors, I was told I needed to have surgery. Fuck.
Alone, in Thailand, and being told I needed to have surgery. Well, what can you do? After about 5 hours waiting for my travel insurance company to pull through for payment, my mom ended up making the down deposit. I showed at the hospital at 4:30 pm, and didn’t end up having surgery until 1:00 am.
I still remember them prepping me for surgery, having me count down in Thai, and then giving me the best drug of life. I woke up drugged up in a room, sent out some sketchy snaps to my friends joking that I had sold my organs to the black market, and called my sister.
I spent the next three days in the hospital recovering before I was discharged.
Off to the airport the next day, back to Canada to relax and visit friends.
This has been one of the best stories to tell people as they can never believe this happened to me. C’est la Vie!
What has traveling taught you about the world or your life/ or changed your perspective on something?
Travelling has really taught me a lot about myself. Of who I am, and who I strive to be.
It has also given me the most experience than a job can ever give me as well.
It’s given me a certain connection with other people. Strangers who can become life long friends.
I have had such a different outlook on life, when it comes to living in the now, and looking toward to change the future. It gives me the need to see more, to question the reasons why we do, and how we come about certain situations.
Travelling has really opened my mind even more than I than thought.
Has given me stories to tell, and memories to reminisce.
What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
Go with the flow. Follow your gut, and follow your heart.
Take an unbeaten path, and don’t be afraid to get lost.
You usually end up finding exactly what you were looking for.
Where can people learn more about your adventures?
Instagram is usually where I will post most of my favourite photos of my trips though!