By Jade Johnston
For someone that normally hates email chain letters, I just love the blogging chain memes that have been going around lately in the travel blogging world. Usually I hear about the meme, and eagerly wait for someone to nominate me to participate, like with the 7 super shots game. But with this one, I was actually nominated before I had even heard of it…. Which makes me feel pretty awesome.
I was nominated by Iain Montgomery at his blog “It’s all Michael Palin’s fault.” So without further adieu, here is my who, what, when and where of travel.
The person who is to blame for my love of travel and discovery, has definitely got to be my mother. Even though we never, ever travelled as a family, and I didn’t even leave my home province until I was 17, I still blame my mother for this.
I grew up in a home where the only books, games, and related distractions that were allowed, were ones with an educational purpose. Therefore my room was always full of atlases, encyclopedias, and national geographics. The only computer games I was allowed were also educational, and I quickly grew very fond of “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego.”
Another early childhood memory, which definitely influenced my wanderlust was when my family received a post card from a relative of ours who was doing humanitarian work somewhere in Africa. No one in my immediate family ever did much travel, so much so that we would hardly ever even make the 1.5 hour journey to the nearest city unless it was absolutely necessary. But receiving that postcard with elephants on it, awoke my curiosity about the possibilities of travel.
My first trip was to the Dominican Republic when I was 17, with a friend from university. However it wasn’t really that trip which made me want to travel long term. Back then, I hadn’t even heard of lonely planet, and didn’t see anything of the Dominican outside of the small village where I was staying.
Probably the most influential trip for me was when I moved to Denmark to study abroad. Even though I didn’t particularly enjoy my time there that much, it gave me a taste of what it was like to live abroad, and put me in the company of people who were eager to backpack around Europe on weekends and school holidays. From that point onwards, I have only returned to Canada for short visits, and for one year to save money for my New Zealand and Australia adventure.
When I finished my study abroad program in Denmark, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to go home just yet. I was also too broke to get a plane ticket home. So I decided to take advantage of the working holiday a.greement that Canada has with the UK.
I filled out all my forms. Double checked all my information. And hopped on a bus from Aarhus to Copenhagen to visit the British embassy. A few hours later I was fingerprinted and had a brand new visa in my passport. The next day I took a 30 hour bus from Copenhagen to London, and then jumped on the train to Edinburgh – my new home.
I moved to Edinburgh with no expectations, no ideas, and no knowledge of what the city had to offer. But within moments of arriving in the city, I had an overwhelming feeling of ‘being at home.’ I quickly came to love everything about the city, and soon began to feel more at home in Edinburgh than I did in my home city of Winnipeg in Canada. From that point onwards, I was addicted to travel. And not just travel – I was addicted to slow travel. I was addicted to moving to new places and trying to make a home there.
Since my experience of moving to Denmark to study, and then to the UK to work, I have lived in Costa Rica, Belgium, New Zealand, and now Australia.
Tell me about your travel inspirations! Part of the meme says that I must now nominate 5 of my blogger friends to also write about their travel inspirations… so my nominees are….