From the beginning...

World Travel Blog

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I can't count or date the numerous trips my immediate family has taken to the Rockies of Alberta and British Columbia to camp and hike in summers gone past. So much of who I am came from these trips in our tent trailer with or without family friends joining us.

Summer 1996 and 1998 were two really big road trips for my parents, my brother and I. '96 saw us drive to Disneyland via Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas... some of the greats. '98 was our road trip across Canada through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Sorry Newfoundland & Labrador ... and anything farther north than our starting point!

My first flight was in March of 2000. I wasn't even thirteen yet. The airline was Canada 3000 which no longer exists. I think I kept the magazine in the seatback... My mother, aunt and I flew to Vancouver to rent a car, drive across the border and shop!

My brother went with about 50 other students from his school to the British Isles in March of 2000 and while this didn't involve me in any way, it perhaps started the ball rolling on my travel bug. For I would take the same optional "class" as him, "European Studies" and travel to Spain, Portugal and Gibralatar for ten days in March 2002. I remember the trip almost being cancelled due to certain events south of the border in the previous September, but everything turned out just fine. One of my favourite teachers was our leader and I can't thank her enough for organising the guided bus-tour trip and ultimately giving me my need for travel. From this point I knew I wanted to learn Spanish and see more than English-speaking North America had to offer.

March 2003 saw my best friend of the time, her parents, my mother and I head to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexíco. Nothing special to say about this nor the all-inclusive trip I took with my parents to Puero Vallarta in 2005. A beach is a beach, and it's nice to get away from chilly spring weather, but how much do you learn about a place and really enjoy it if you are sitting by a pool and eating non-descript buffet food?

March 2004 (sorry, backtrack) was spent in California with my aunt, cousin and mother. Another American shopping trip for all the deals we could possibly handle!! May 2004 I flew for $35 round-trip, taxes included to Vancouver, BC for my first Western Canadian Youth Parliament. Didn't get to see much of the city other than the UBC campus, but it's beautiful and green and wonderful probably all year 'round.

In June 2004 my father drove to Salt Lake City, Utah while my mother finished teaching and I finished classes and then she and I flew down and met my dad in Reno. We had a little fun and drove all the way back through the beginning of July. I was home for less than a week before heading to Funabashi, Japan. Between mid-July and mid-August 2004 I spent four weeks in Japan on a homestay exchange with a member of the Lions Club partnered with my father's Lions Club. My brother did a similar trip for the same length of time in summer 2001, so I imagine that also had something to do with the fact that I got to go too. It's very cool to see a country through the eyes of locals where they're looking after you every step of the way.

In October 2004 I flew to Ottawa for Encounters with Canada, a week-long chance to learn meet other young Canadians from accross the country and get some information on post-secondary programmes in Ottawa. My week was themed "Journalism & Communications" but it also coincidentally coincided with National Science & Technology week, so we ended up spending time at the Royal Ontario Museum listening to Jay Ingram (host of the Daily Planet) and Jane Goodall (that lady that did the orangutang stuff in Africa??) talk about... things. I don't even remember now. Good times! I feel I didn't get as much out of the week as some of the other participants who didn't do much outside of highschool. I had my youth parliament of goodness so whatever.

Speaking of youth parliament, 2004 was also the first year I started attending the Saskatchewan Youth Parliament's November Tri-Provincial Mini Sessions (SYP). A good number of friends out there... The landscape may be lacking, but the people make up for it by being awesome.

Work and trying out university (paid for that on my own) kind of got in the way of further trips other than the aforementioned Mexican beach-time fun in March and a weekend road trip out to Saskatoon for SYP in November. Shortly after finishing my first year at the University of Alberta, I kind of whimsically bought a flight and tour to New Zealand for June 2006. Kiwi Experience bus was pretty good stuff for the three weeks I spent in the land of the long white cloud.

In and around this time a good friend and I agreed we would get working holidaymaker visas and move to London. Which was did seven months later in January 2007. SYP was in November again, but other than that I was conservative with the money to ensure I had more to take across the pond.

Living and working in London was one of the best experiences in my life so far. London is such a good travel hub for the rest of Europe and much of the non-North American world that I wish I had taken much more advantage of it. I did spend five days in the Netherlands with my dad (he was born there)in April and tour all over London on various occasions, in addition to whimsically again buying an eight-day tour and flight to Egypt. Mate Nathan came out in July and we did the Eurostar trip to Paris for four days, Mom was around in August for her and I to take a road trip through England up to York / Hull. Day trips throughout England through the year took me to Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Thame, and Salisbury Plain (near Stonehenge...ish) as well as a lovely 19km (12-mile) hike in Devon.

Since coming home 1 November of 2007 I can't wait to get away again. I've made loose plans for getting to China, Australia and South America. Also, my brother did a little research and found out that he and I can apply for and obtain (as he has already done) a Dutch passport. We are Dutch citizens and can vote in EU elections as well as own land in Aruba! I'll have one of those before long and plan on using it to enjoy restriction-free travel through EU countries!!

Did I mention I also made it back to Saskatoon for the fourth time for SYP? This was probably my last one. I flew to Vancouver for a week (happily on Aeroplan points, thank you!) for friendly fun-time visiting plus delicious sushi.

More to come!

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