January of last year, a two and a half year relationship I was in ended. I hate break ups and it felt like my life was over. We were actually planning on moving to Canada and applying for the working holiday visa when the application process reopened for 2015. When the relationship ended, Canada was the last thing on my mind and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for moving abroad. I needed the support of my friends and family. To heal from the break-up I threw myself into online dating. I chatted to and met with some lovely guys.
Travel was a topic that popped up time and time again. The more we talked about travelling, the more I opened up to the idea of moving to Canada again. I even chatted to a few guys who were in stage one of the Canadian working holiday visa process. This made me feel slightly better about the decision I was trying to make. You see I was struggling with some thoughts, “What if I do meet someone and they can’t come with me? I don’t want my heart broken again. Is it fair to be looking for a relationship if I’m thinking of moving to Canada?”
Travel is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to travel. Some want to travel long-term. Others want to travel for a year or two to get it out of their system. And then there are those of you who aren’t in a position to leave your job or take a sabbatical but still want to travel; travelling part-time is the only way to fulfill that need. So I needed to figure out the right way to travel for me.
I did end up meeting someone. I was smitten! He had travelled and I loved hearing his stories. Plus he wanted to travel more! The more I got to know him the more I realised how important family was to him. I couldn’t see him moving abroad for an extended period of time. He had some wonderful qualities so I was happy to compromise. Relationships are all about compromise, right? To make a long story short, after dating for about two months, he didn’t want to take the relationship any further.
I was disappointed but it made me reassess my priorities. It was now the beginning of August and my 30th birthday was fast approaching. Milestone birthdays always have a way of making you reflect on your life and I had been in denial for quite a while.
I wanted to travel but wasn’t willing to on my own. I couldn’t possibly travel or move abroad on my own. I’m not street smart enough. A school tour to Italy, the opportunity to perform in Germany and New York with a gospel choir I was in, a family event in London, and birthday trip to Wales with my then boyfriend was the extent of my travels. I had stopped myself from travelling more because I had no one to travel with. It hit me that I would never travel anywhere if I waited for someone to travel with me. Finally being honest with myself was the catalyst and the kick up the backside I needed.
The museum I work in was due to close for the winter in November and I was starting to think about what I would do while I was off for six months. Why not go inter-railing? A month or two travelling through Europe would be heavenly! But Canada was still in my head. I was full sure I had missed out on applying for a working holiday visa to Canada for 2015, so I put that out of my head and would come back to it the following year. By a stroke of luck I chanced seeing an article on the Moving To Canada Facebook page. There were still working holiday visas available!
I thought I was seeing things and that the article was a joke. Previous years the visas had been snapped up in seconds. The only way to know for certain was to check the CIC website. Yup there were visas still available. Butterflies started forming at the thought of actually applying for a visa. Should I leave it for a few years and make small trips to different European countries to get used to travelling solo? Or should I just go for it and apply? I literally slept on it and the next morning I threw caution to the wind and I thought, “just go for it, don’t stop yourself again from doing what you want.”
Roll on a few weeks to September 4th and I received an email from CIC. This was the moment of truth. Was my application successful? Would I be moving to Canada or not? Waiting for the email to open felt like forever. Could it be! Does it really say ‘application successful’? I thought I was seeing things. Shit just got real! I am going to be moving three and a half thousand miles away from everything and everyone I know and love. I am moving to a country where I don’t know anyone. Now it’s not like I haven’t moved to a place where I don’t know anyone before. However, this time I can’t hop on a bus or board a train and see my friends and family within a couple of hours.
So why Canada? Well being Irish I can live in any European country at any time but I have up until I’m 35 to be able to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada. What draws me to Canada is the scenery, the cultural and ethnic diversity, the work/life balance, the friendliness of its people and the outdoor lifestyle. So at the end of August I will be boarding a plane for my new life in Canada.
And the moral of the story is? Don’t stop yourself from travelling just because you don’t have anyone to travel with.