I hesitate to share my deepest thoughts or actual crazy experiences because I was brought up to be a good girl and you don’t share those things. I’ve been blogging for more that two years now and most of my posts are travels and adventures but it’s difficult to convey the real me. Tonight, however, after half a bottle of wine, with Athena and Darren in bed, I have a few things, both positive and negative, that I want to say. Like most bottles of wine, there is a body and a lingering after taste and the dreaded wine headache to follow but it’s always worth that indescribable taste in your mouth while it’s happening. That’s this post for me. I’ve never been able to just type so freely so here goes.
Traveling has brought the entire world to my doorstep, literally. But it’s like I’m inside the house and the walls are all falling down around me, making it impossible to get to the door. I get hate mail like I’m the President and I’m just a blogger. People hate me for traveling with my daughter. People hate me for leaving her home. People hate me for traveling without my husband. People hate me for traveling with him. People hate me for traveling period, I think. I don’t know what day it is; heck, I don’t know what month it is. I have a permanent tan and I no longer pay for my vacations. My life is a vacation. I get why someone who works every single day, day in and day out, at a job they despise to put food on the table and pay for rent would be annoyed with my constant perky travel posts and my apparently perfect life but the reality is a gravely different experience.
My husband and I struggle. If you’re in a marriage that doesn’t struggle, I’d love to speak with you more. You’ve obviously figured out something that I haven’t been able to accomplish yet, but we struggle. He works at a 9-5 job, I travel for “work”, and we have balance issues that we haven’t been able to address and it’s difficult to find a middle. But I love him and I want to make it work. I wish that he, and Athena, could join me on all of our trips, but our reality isn’t there yet. I would give anything to make all of his dreams come true like he has done for me. For now, we creatively schedule his vacation time so we can enjoy family time and when I’m not on the road, I’m thinking about ways to truly enjoy our time together. It’s precious and I don’t waste it. We both try, in our own ways, to make it better, but there will always be issues that need to be addressed. I think it’s just part of marriage.
Then, my toddler daughter, who travels with me regularly, is still not potty trained, which is yet another struggle. I feel like I’m in an impossible situation with her. I want to make sure she’s potty trained. I want to travel with her. I want to be part of the potty training process. Yet, the two can’t go hand-in-hand. She’ll do amazing all week then we’ll hop on a plane and I’ll have to ask her to hold it for an extra 20 minutes because we’re taking off or landing or the seat belt sign is on and it all goes out the window. I want to be a good mother. I want to show my daughter the world. I want to teach her that we can live a life without restrictions but then flights impose restrictions on potty training and jet leg is difficult. I also struggle with leaving her home during the more extreme travels and finding the ideal balance for us as well. It’s all one big struggle.
I have brothers and sisters who still live in eastern Canada that I never see and hardly speak to anymore. They are the light of my life and you never turn your back on family, but I don’t know what has happened to us. I’ve lost them. They are mad at me for a number of reasons, one probably being that I left Canada and have no intention of moving back, and we’ve changed into completely different people.
I feel like I’m alone. I’m surrounded by people. My world keeps getting bigger but I’m lost in the crowd. I struggle with my husband, I struggle with my daughter, and I struggle with my siblings and then all I ever hear is how “lucky” I am and how great my life must be. I mean, seriously… do you really believe that anything is perfect?
This year, I’ve been able to accomplish more than I thought possible in my lifetime. I visited Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Latvia, Austria, Bonaire, Namibia, US Virgin Islands, Germany, Panama, Mexico, and St. Lucia. I fed monkeys, dove into waterfalls, flew jetpacks, hiked rainforests, jumped from buildings, and tried every new bucket list adventure that I could imagine. I should be 100% grateful for my life and never complain. But shouldn’t everyone? Isn’t there always someone out there who has it better or worse? How can I complain when I have a beautiful life, a supportive husband, a healthy, loving daughter, and a dream job? Well I am! And I have every right to complain and you have no right to continuously judge when your life has ups and downs as well.
So many readers comment that I’ve never seen a difficult day in my life. You’re rich, right? You travel around the world at your leisure and don’t worry about a thing.You don’t have a day job, do you? You’re playing and living and indulging your “bucket list” in luxury. Are you really in need of anything? These are the comments I receive on a regular basis and from people who have only read a few posts. What do you know about my life?
I went to university for 7 years and worked two jobs while I was there. I was a full time student with student loans and I worked at Statistics Canada and a call center to get by. I ate Mac & Cheese (Kraft Dinner in Canada) almost daily and I walked two miles to school and three miles to work every day, even in the severe winters of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I volunteered at an elementary school and the hospital during any other free second that I had. Life was busy but full. I managed to travel to a few countries during this time. By volunteering at camps and working in schools, I was able to see the world. There were times that I tented, slept in cars, and found the cheapest hostel possible, but I make it work. I found ways to travel and experience the world because there was too much out there not to.
I taught high school for another 8 years and worked another job on the side to pay for my experiences. I coached basketball, volleyball, and soccer so I could develop a deeper connection with the students and explore the provinces where I was working. I was the editor of the school newspaper and tutored students on the side. I worked in a remote community in Northern Canada to pay my student loans and I lived in isolation. International travel was restricted to the summers because I had over $70,000 student loan to pay. I did take the summers, though, to volunteer, teach, and work in others countries.
This is my second marriage after what seemed like a lifetime of complete and utter failure for the first. I married young and while my ex-husband is a wonderful person who deserves all the happiness in the world, we were not right for each other. We became like a plague, spreading and destroying everything in our path. After spending a decade together, we finally separated and it was at that moment that I decided living a “regular” life was not for me. Being ok with the ordinary was no longer acceptable. It was then that I realized that the more unrealistic I am with my dreams and goals, the more I’m able to achieve.
My life wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. I worked and continue to work hard for everything I have.
Then, I started blogging. It was the accumulation of all of my dreams come true. I write and write and write; I’m addicted. I’ve made it my career. If I’m not writing, I’m social networking to make it all come together. This is my job. It may not seem like work, but should anything that you plan on doing for the rest of your life?
Now, my blog is seeing enough success that I’ve been able to have some of the unbelievable experiences in exchange for media coverage. I’ve used that to help others make their dreams a reality as well. People send me there bucket lists regularly and I do everything in my power to make them a reality. You can see examples here. I organized and found a way to offer these experiences for free for my readers. One reader drove a NASCAR and hung out in the pit with the crew, another reader went skydiving, another flew a jetpack, and another went heliskiing. These are just a few examples. I struggle like everyone else yet I want all of your dreams to become a reality. I hope you want the same for me.
So, yes; my life is awesome! I’m a rock star at my job and you should be taking notes because if you don’t love your life, you could be doing something else.
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”– Eleanor Roosevelt