As I’m sharing travel tips and suggestions of places to go and things to see, it is also important to tell you a bit more about my own travel and experiences. However, before I tell you specific stories of trips I took, I though I should start by telling you a bit about my travel journey in général. A journey that brought me into 21 countries, in all continents, in the last 9 years.
Growing up, I didn’t get to travel much. I lived in Quebec city with my family and on summers we went on vacations to Shediac (New Brunswick, Canada) or Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada). Nothing too exotic (although, at the time I found the sea, its hermit crabs and Jelly Fish pretty exotic). On one summer we went to Niagara Falls. I also went to New York with school and to Boston with my dad on my last year of High School. I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I just didn’t know quit yet how much addicted to it I would become.
During my last year of High school, I signed up with a Christian organization to go on a mission/humanitarian trip to Greece with a group of 20 young people. So in the summer 2008, I took the plane for the first time to go spend 5 weeks in Porto Astro, a Christian camp on a island north of Athens. I had a blast. I spent the summer doing manual work on the camp. We lived in a tent all summer (10 girls sharing two tents is something, believe me!). It was totally taking me out of my comfort zone but I was also aware of the incredible opportunity it was for me to be there. The daily view of the sea and the mountains, the bathing in the Mediterranean (showers were for campers only), that day we spent sailing… all amazing times that are still really clear in my memories. That trip ended with a little more than a week in Corinth and Athens, both cities rich in history (especially history related to Bible stories, which was really interesting to me). The view of the Pantheon from the rooftop where we were sleeping (because of course, we were sleeping outside on a roof top for a week) was just breath taking. After this trip, I knew I had to travel again… and I did.
The following summer, as I just spent a year in a Bible school in Sherbrooke, I had the opportunity to go on a short missions trip to Schefferville and Kawawachikamach (North of Quebec). In the 2 weeks I spent there we got to bond with a lot of the natives, organizing activities at the school and community center. I was “only” a 12h train ride away from Sept-Îles (another 7h car ride away from where I’m from). I was still in Quebec. But the culture was really different and it intrigued me in such a way that I began to discover a passion for anthropology.
The summer after that (2010), I decided to go back on a trip with the same organization that took me to Greece, this time to go to Slovakia. Once again, that trip consisted of manual working for a Christian camp in the small town of Modra. I particularly appreciated our weekends off from the work and discovering Modra and its people. At the end of this trip, we went to see Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia). We also got to see Prague (although our time there was really short) and we went a few days in Hungary as well, in a Bible school. As we had a 30h lay over in England, we ended our trip with a super full day of sight seeing in London. The whole thing ended up with a missing flight that led to a missing connecting flight, leading to worries and a really long time without sleeping/showering but eh, it’s all worth it for a great story to tell, isn’t it? On this trip, I loved discovering many countries and was fascinated by the different cultures I encountered. I knew I had to come back to Europe…
And I did, in September 2011, as I enrolled in a one year Bible school in Hungary (the one we had visited). This was a big step. Leaving home for a whole year (I did come back for Christmas, though). It turned out to be one of the most amazing years of my life so far. The school was in the small village of Toalmas. There was a castle on campus (because… Europe.) where we were eating our meals and doing the laundry (yep, I did laundry in a castle for a year. How great is that?!). Toalmas was around 1h from Budapest by public transportation but I was going there twice a week so I had the chance to see it again and again. It became one of my favourite cities in the world and one that I will always consider like home, in a way. I miss it. And I’m excited to tell you about all that happens to me there in future posts on more specific travel stories.
As much I loved Toalmas and Budapest, Hungary couldn’t keep me into place. I spent the year traveling and visited 9 countries in total… i even ended up in Africa! However, we’ll have to keep this part of the story for the second part of my Travel Journey. Keep posted for the rest, because, believe me, this is only the beginning of a most exciting travel journey!
If you want to learn more about any of the places I wrote about in My Travel Journey, let me know in the comments and I’ll write an article about it!