At the age of 23 I was packing my rusksack to set off on the adventure of my life so far.
We had a bit of an plan but, as is our favourite way to plan trips - we don't! We like to get excited about all the things we could do and have an idea of how we'll start out but after that we love to just wing it.
This is the only part of my life where I love the unknown. I am so used to plans, timelines, squeezing the most out of every day and living with my nose in my diary. I can't do it any other way. So, when we do head off on holiday it's liberating to leave the shedule behind.
This trip, however, was a little different.
Not your usual summer holiday.
We were planning to fly to Vancouver, buy a motorhome and travel for 5 months.
That was the whole plan. Perfect.
And that is what we did.
We were lucky to have 2 very kind friends in North Vancouver, not only did they let us sleep off our jetlag on their sofabed, they took us on our first adventures, gave us indredible advice and even drove us to every lovely old motorhome we saw on Craigslist. We could not have done it without them.
Within 2 weeks we had found our motorhome, cleaned her out and called her Winnie.
We hit the road, driving cross-country towards the Rockies, passing snow capped mountains and milky blue-green lakes. Usually I would have been drinking in every minute of it, staying up too late and waking up early because I wouldn't want to miss a moment.
I was savouring it, amazed by everything I saw. But a little voice in the back of my mind grew stronger the longer we travelled - you can't do this, how irresponsible of you, you're not earning anything, what's going to happen when you go home? And so many more doubts.
Not a day passed when I didn't worry. Something I'm an expert at, and often it's a great asset because I don't get complacent.
At a time when I should have been letting go and experiencing all the freedom that travel had to offer I was caught up in worry about life post-Canada.
There was no definite moment when I chose to let it all go, or one experience that helped me re-evaluate. But 2 months or so down the road I found myself FREE!
Perhaps I saw one too many bears to care anymore, or maybe it was the number of inspiring, caring people we met along the way. But somehow I let go of it all. And how liberating it was!
I have never laughed so hard.
Or dreamt so vividly of the life I would love to live.
I was very sad to leave Canada, it's left a deep impression.
And yes, I'm back to plans and lists and diaries but with perspective and refreshed passion to chase my great big dreams!
One of them might just be to get back to Canada and do it all again.