A Year Ago….

Holy Moly…. 

I have a long one for you. It’s been written in chunks because that’s what life has given me right now, chunks of something, chunks that urge me to write and chunks where it’s too hard to write. So this is the messiest scramble eggs type of brunch you may ever read, with a side of a cappuccino, a mimosa, and a glass of red zinfandel with some smashed avo and billy miner. Aka, all over the effing place….in true Courtney fashion. Oh and it is super cheesy (cheesy court…and I am not sorry for it). But, I hope all is well on all of your ends…it’s May……it’s starting to feel like summer, that excitement that comes with the tulips blooming, the patios putting out the umbrellas, and the pitchers of sangria starting to be sipped. The kids are getting antsy, they know it’s almost June…aka they can fully taste SUMMER BREAK! The classrooms are sweaty, no air conditioning, the water breaks are frequent, bee stings have started and the “Ms. Fantin you can’t leave us” are in full swing. I hope life is bringing you nothing but good, and if it’s not, then look for the good in what life is giving you right now.

 Anyways, settle in. I could do a whole part 1, part 2, but like why. This at the end of the day is my online diary, because I type much faster than I write. This is my story, my documentation. So read it all, read a part, read it in sections, or do not read at all. But it’s all here, one long long longggggg story. 

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My dreams becoming a reality 

 So holy moly,

A year has passed since I was at Pearson International Airport rummaging through my suitcase because it was obviously overweight & my mom and I were trying to rearrange my backpack…. in front of everyone (so yes, those that know me I was beat red and sweating and panicking because people were watching me lol…has not changed). After the tears, hugs, and constant waves throughout the security line, I settled in with a huge glass of wine and took the biggest breath of my life. That breath was everything. I literally yoga styled it. Big deep inhale and a huge huff and puff exhale. The build up to that adventure was insane. I did not stop, I did not have a second to breathe. I literally stopped working 3 days before I left, both jobs. In the midst of parties, visa’s, apartment hunting, lining up my job, saying goodbyes, packing for various climates, for work, and everything else that comes with moving abroad, like canceling phone plans (rogers you gave me wrinkles), talking to your banks, sending off professional e-mails, thank you cards, see you soon letters, and all the ‘popping ins’. I was backing up my laptop for the first time in 5 years the night before Aus (so typical of me though right?).

Then …

 all of a sudden I was at the airport and it was actually happening. Ummmmm sorry what? After years of unconsciously prepping for this, prepping my family, friends, my jobs, myself, and the months of the build up, the parties, the wine nights, the cappuccinos, the copious amount of Keg nights with too much calamari & Billy miners (sorry not sorry), the cards, the letters, half price State and Main Wine and Dirt Pie’s….. all of a sudden I was actually alone. Just me. Me, myself and I. A suitcase, a backpack and a glass of wine. Me, myself and I. Wow. I was actually doing this. Holy crap! I pulled the trigger. I’m still amazed I did. Now, a year later I am looking back with the biggest smile on my face, an incredibly full heart, and a stuffed suitcase of memories, a refreshed outlook on life, a newfound love of life, looking back with so much nostalgia, pride, and kind of just in awe of the whole experience in itself. My heart is also really breaking looking back, yet I am super excited for what the future holds. It was such a huge decision; it took me over a year to actually book the flight after I had already been offered the job. It either takes me years to make a decision or a night….there is no in between. And in this case it took a year. Then in 8 months, in the blink of an eye, I am back.

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One big ball of excited nerves
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Saying goodbye to my home that was Melbourne 

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Now, I left a year ago on April 5th, but I am always fashionably late to the party, so it is the May long weekend and I am taking a second to reflect on this. If you read my last post, you know life has changed, I felt weird and strange about being home at first. And scared. Like now what? Then, I got my own class, I found my sparkle again, I had my very first March Break as a teacher and spent it in Sedona, Arizona. I felt good again. Then life took a very deep dive. I mean a deep, dark dive and it still is. Actually the only reason I am writing is because it’s the only thing I know how to do right now. I found my sparkle and then lost it again, and it’s still gone. You know when you see a photo of yourself and you look different, you actually look sad. I have finally experienced that, like legit looked at a photo and said omg, that girl is me and she is the farthest thing from who she really is. It was sad. I’ve seen it before through a friend, looking at their photos and how they lost their sparkle, their eyes weren’t shining like they used to. Then I saw it happen to me. Scary. But that isn’t a story for today. I promised you that when I wrote it would be genuine, for maybe the 10 of my readers, 100 or maybe just for my future kid. But it’s going to be real, it’s going to be honest and raw. I always want this place to be genuine and honest and I’ll only share if I can be that…honest and genuine. Because like I said if no one reads this, and it’s just my future child…well for one lets take that in….I’m a mom. That poor child is going to have the craziest, most ridiculous, chaotic, spiciest, loving mom ever. And definitely genuine, So I’m not okay with going into too much more detail at this moment in time. I am still processing it…maybe you can help me process it? But not yet.

 Soooo….moving abroad,

 All I can say is DO IT! GO, LEAVE, DO IT, GO GO GO! DO YOU! GO! Because when you get home not much has changed…sure the odd thing here and there, but that is the beauty of it…you come back this totally rejuvenated, inspired, fulfilled person who has grown immensely and has a whole new appreciation and outlook on life itself. And home is still home, waiting for you with open arms. And I promise you, your favourite restaurants will still be your favourite restaurants, you will love them just the same, and your friends and family will be there…so damn excited to see you. So go. What do you have to loose?

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Blurry, but…….Eyes full of tears, Hearts full of love ….so thankful for these ladies

 As I reflect on this past year and my move abroad I want to share with you some of the wildest, craziest, most incredible things that happened while I was away, what I am missing, but also how coming home changed me.

 Some weird things happened when I came back….

 When I came home and first stepped into a mall, I was overwhelmed and kind of annoyed. I was overwhelmed with the amount of options to buy a freakin rubber maid container for storage. Why the heck is there 18 brands for storage bins. I just needed some bins for all my teaching stuff. I was trying to organize. Because after living in a van, I realized I did not need so much STUFF. I was overwhelmed and left the store. It was so weird. Going to the mall, I was watching people buy the same tiny crop top in 5 different colours, buy shoes they were going to wear once, a dress shirt that looked the same as the one they had on, and for some reason it annoyed me. I wanted to shake them and say “why are you blowing 500 dollars at the mall on crap you don’t need, but think will fulfill you.” I wanted to say “ummmmm you could buy a plane ticket with that and experience so much more than a cute crop top that you’ll wear once.” So yea….the first month was hard. I went into a mall once and didn’t want to go in again. And it’s been 5 months and I have officially stepped in twice. Don’t get me wrong, I love NICE clothes. But you will not find me at a mall every weekend. Maybe once every few months. And if I like something, I try it on but do not purchase it right away. I wait. I wait about a week. And if every day I still think about those shoes or that cute dress….and I mean really think, like dream about them, then I buy. Because clearly I love it. This has saved me so much flippin money, it is not even funny. Usually, I like something but say nahhh, and I go about my week never thinking about it, therefore I did not need it nor love it. But like these shoes I got for Christmas I had wanted for 1.5 years. Yes 1.5 years. But they were $250.00. Are you kidding? Okay 150 I get, but 250, I could not bring myself to do it. I dreamed of them, I talked about them and they were in my screenshots for a year and a half. For Christmas I got them…thanks big sean for pulling through;) My point is, there is so much crap we think we need, we think will make us happy, we search for the validation that a certain amount of likes will prove our worth, our status, we buy because she has it, we want because he wants it…. but for me, I want experiences, I want memories. And if those shoes or that outfit is not adding to my experience, I am not buying it. However, some really do hehheeeh! Like some of my fondest memories include me pin pointing the night or the dinner down to the exact shoes and nail colour I was reppin. Off track as usual……. So it was hard for me to watch people with such a different mindset just blowing hundreds of dollars within an hour at a mall. No thank you. Living out of a suitcase for 8 months, moving houses and homes 8 times, living out of a van for 7 weeks, a car for 2….you really realize what is important. Yes I still love clothes, yes I will still purchase a thing here and there, but those 8 months taught me what’s really important, and how much excess stuff we have just because we think we need it. I really learned to appreciate different perspectives, different mindsets, different values and ways to live. And I learned mine is not right or wrong, and neither is those who would rather spend hundreds of dollars on nice clothes and shoes instead of plane tickets and adventures. It’s right for me, and it’s right for them. Do you. I just never expected to be as annoyed as I was when I came home and went to the mall. I had spent so much time before Aus saving up for this huge adventure, cutting out the gym, nails, clothes, dinners, cabs, drinks at the bar, etc….that I thought when I came home I would want to replenish my wardrobe. And I mean honestly, yes I did and I still do…but instead I will be found enjoying too many half price wine nights with the girls, ordering stupid amounts of calamari and billy miners at the keg, and planning my next trip…because those are adding to my experiences and memories (and I don’t cook, so no don’t tell me to make calamari at home LOL). For me it’s all about investing in experiences. Concerts with the girls, dinners out, planning epic trips, going to yoga classes, I would much rather invest my money and time on experiences with and for myself and my squad (aka the fam and friends and my kiddies). My circle.

 Ohhh….Something else also happened.

 I also experienced this really weird thing. I noticed that when on the road, the people we met wanted to know us. The real, raw us. They wanted to know who we are, what brought us on this adventure, what we valued, our hobbies, passions, hopes and dreams. They did not care what our status was, or how much we made. I struggled with this for a bit because here in Toronto, the first question I get is what do you do? And I mean that is not a bad thing. I love what I do and I am proud to say it. But to base a person off what they do and not want to know anything else seems a bit shallow to me. I feel like the people I met and the conversations we had, the connections we shared, were deep. Meanwhile, here a lot of people are just engaging in surface level conversation, rushing from place to place, looking to see what they can get out of you, what you can offer them. This is not everyone of course, but just the feelings and realizations I had when I reflected about what was so “off” about me when I first got home. Because trust me, I am so inspired and energized from drive. I love anyone who has drive, goals, ambitions and wants to be the best possible version of themselves, wants to grow, be successful and live ‘their’ best life. But there is more than just this cookie cutter version of drive. There are so many different ways to be successful, be happy and be driven. I’ve met a lot of people who have very fancy job titles and make lots of money, but ask them what they value, what inspires them, what drives them to wake up everyday, what makes them tick…..and they have zero response. You could make 300, 000 dollars…and have the shittiest heart, the worst attitude about life….yet I noticed in Toronto, I was meeting people who thought “hey, that’s okay, 300, 000 and an audi means I’ve made it.” And that just erked me. We met so many expats on the road who literally sold everything to take this leap and uproot their lives. They legit sold furniture, their cars and came over with that money, say $ 2,000. No savings, no fall back, no mom or dad to save them when the money ran out. That takes guts, determination and goals. And that is so inspiring. They followed their dreams, not society’s.

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Car life is super sexy

So moving abroad….

From sorting out papers, visas, Australian Teaching Certificates, finding a place in your favourite suburb that you can afford, setting up a bank account, transit passes, cell phones, time differences…nothing is simple, easy or familiar while transitioning abroad. But these experiences are what make the whole moving abroad thing so flipping amazing. A lot of people think it’s a walk in the park, it’s a piece of cake, a long term vacation, an escape. They could not be more wrong. It’s a daily battle that almost always leaves you questioning – is this what I really want? While crying when you see your new apartment that feels the farthest thing from home, or when you live out of a tiny car when it is freezing cold in New Zealand.

 But if it is what you really want, then all the challenges that go into moving abroad make the experience all the more rewarding and memorable. There is not a movie out there that can truly capture just how amazing it is to have that experience under your belt because, it’s one of those “you really have to be there” moments. Star gazing in the outback of Australia with 4 dollar bottles of wine. Yes. You have to be there. Sitting in one of Melbourne’s hip, local, dive cafes on your Saturday morning, sipping a flat white while people watching? Yup. Had to be there. Smashed avo brunches at Oscar Coopers on Greville Street? Another heck yes. Morning commute being along the ocean and arriving to the sweetest little community in the suburbs to teach these precious kids? Be there. Moving houses 6 times? Backpacks and suitcases on trams and subways? Be there. Sweat, tears, trip planning, paying bills, working multiple jobs to take the next trip? Come. Stand at footies games, handing out flyers because you made sick money? Do it. Jumping out of a plane? Another be there. Scuba diving & seeing nemo ….and a shark. Pinch me. Sailing the Whitsundays with Bryan Adams serenading the boat to sleep….yes please. Driving days without seeing a person, having a shower and not sure where the next gas or grocer will be? Another be there. Meeting new friends who share your love of eating and wine with you, of all different ages and walks of life, different jobs, different backgrounds, from different places, with completely different outlooks on life? Be there. Yes. Yes. Yes. Say yes. Belle’s chicken becoming your go to meal….bring it. My year of yes. Be there. When you miss key events in your families life because you are living your own dreams? The tears, the home sickness, the emptiness that overcomes you? I dare you, try it. Oh, you didn’t get paid? Your cell phone does not work? Your wallet gets stolen in another country? Be there.

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Life be like…..get outside your comfort zone 

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Moving abroad is so much more than a new country, a place to tick off of a bucket list, a new instagram photo. It changes you for the better. I promise. It really does. You become a happier, stronger version of yourself. Heck, you might even become a completely different human being, and you know what I say to that…HECK YES! You gain a completely different outlook on life, you can appreciate things you never appreciated before and yearn for things you never knew you wanted to yearn for. It’s about the experiences you have and the people you meet. For real guys……sell it, put it in storage, burn it, rent it….whatever you do though, do it. It is going to be the best decision of your life. I will forever know in my heart that Melbourne was the best decision I could have ever made.

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Bali with the bests

As I said before as Melbourne and I parted ways …..

 “We fell in love with Melbourne. The people, the culture, the endless amounts of activities, festivals, events and the brunch scene, the coffee experience, the happy hour lifestyle and the accessibility of the city itself. Melbourne has been rated the #1 most livable city in the world and it is easy to see why. This place has a lot to offer. The work life balance that is Australia is incredible. People value both their home and work lives and the work atmosphere promotes it. People are definitely not as stressed as Torontians, that is for sure. Melbourne seriously is a place where you could create a life and stay forever. Both of us had the option to stay, get sponsored and begin the process of becoming permanent residences. I mean the fact that schools have two fridges…one just for alcohol & happy hour Fridays was pretty darn tempting. But, for us we knew this was not going to be our forever home. We were ready to come home. We really felt like we did Australia right. And when I say right, I mean right our way. We experienced so much in Australia. We worked to travel and get experience. We partied the first few months while balancing a few months of staying in, having people over for cheap “in” nights to save more money for our next adventure. We explored everything in this city, inner and outer, day trips and weekend ones. We brunched the heck out of this city. Every weekend we brunched. We participated in many happy hours, I obviously soaked up the Aussie Bachelor, and we saw so much of the country. From the East to the West, to time spent in South Australia, and the incredible Outback, we fell in love with Australia. We also had the opportunity to see all of the bigger cities….Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide and every time we came back to Melbourne we both said “I am so happy we choose this spot.” The city is energy! We worked long hours, had two jobs, moved houses MANY TIMES, and that allowed us to see the entire country while making a home base out of Melbourne in only 8 months.

 Our time in Melbourne and the life we created there will forever hold a very, very special place in our hearts. After all, we picked up our lives and everything we knew back home and moved across the world. We opened bank accounts, got cell phone plans, ditched our cozy cars for public transportation, had to apartment hunt, bought our own food, made new friends, created our own lifestyle routines, and explored the shit out of Melbourne and Australia. Melbourne, I will miss you. I will miss our daily train rides to Black Rock with the ocean by my side. I will miss our very expensive $4.50 flat white love affair. I will miss our obsession with smashed avo & feta. I will miss walking Chapel street at any time of the day and wondering “when the heck do people work….everyone’s always out on a patio brunching or drinking.”  I will miss the fashion…oh boy the window shopping I did on Chapel was my favourite past time.  I will miss your colourful, beautiful and invigorating Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes. I will miss tapping on and off my PTV card. I will miss my beautiful Aussie students who never understood me during a spelling test and who were so “keen” to learn about Canada. I will miss the Queen Victoria Market, in particular the mulled wine and the Soup Kitchen. I will miss your incredible Messina Gelato, and people watching at SOS over a long black (when I’m being a good girl). I will miss your $4 dollar bottles of wine (seriously though that became a problem when we were bottles in by 7 pm). I will miss your Tim Tams making me fat.  I will miss your patio lifestyle no matter the weather. I will miss your plenty of BYO restaurants, and your funky, spunky, corky, yet sophisticated nightlife.  I will miss your pop up anythings, your hidden bars, your graffiti filled streets, bustling Chapel street, and good ol’ Brunswick Street. I will miss people automatically thinking I’m rich for living in South Yarra or hip for living in Fitzroy.  I will miss the fact that you have a rooftop bar named Naked for Satan. I will miss having holidays for big sporting events (AFL and Melbourne Cup), your epic espresso martinis, going anywhere and meeting people from all over the world, all here for their own reasons. I will miss the fact that no Australian can properly say Australia and instead say “Straya.” I will miss the kids freaking out at me when I tell them to put it in the bin… “MISS THE BIN? BUT THIS ISN’T RUBBISH”… “Oops, I mean put it in the tub”. I will also miss how seriously they take their chicken parmigiana and make it a legit thing. Like they think this is the be all and end all…it is priceless. They even call it Australian Cuisine. I will miss saying “I’m so keen” to express my excitement and “heaps” to tell you how much fun I had. I will miss your beautiful train station that is Flinders. I will miss St. Kilda and it’s energy. I will miss your Market Lane coffee and your beautiful State library. I will miss my teacher ladies and our Thursday night steak nights. I will miss our first air bnb in Richmond where we stayed for 2 weeks to settle in. I will miss our month long stint in Collingwood/ Fitzroy with the girls consuming copious amounts of wine and nachos and dip over plenty of teacher talk (poor Thomas). I will miss being “homeless” and spontaneously booking a flight to South Australia. I will miss our few weeks on Greville Street in Prahran. I will miss our van life. I will miss living in three different rooms within one house #subletlife. I will miss our South Yarra home on Clara Street. I will miss hosting my friends for the weekend or days at a time. I will miss our roommates who we spent many nights sitting on the floor around the coffee table (because we did not have a kitchen table or chairs) discussing travel plans, jobs, our cultures and traditions in our upbringings and our hopes and dreams. Seriously our Irish roommate Mark and Australian Tahnee who became a couple, I will miss the heck out of you guys. You’ve seriously inspired and taught us so much. We will forever look up to the two of you. I will miss wandering Degraves Street. I will miss our Saint Lucia Sunday desserts and our favourite Belles Chicken.  I will miss so much about this beautiful city that I’ve called home for the past 8 months.

Melbourne, thank you for loving us, for giving us this amazing, energetic and vibin place to call home. To all the people we met….both locals and expats, THANK YOU! You made our time in Melbourne truly unforgettable and each and every one of you brought something to our lives and to our journey down under that will never be forgotten.

 As I promised when I left….my journey down under was everything but boring. Thank you Melbourne.”

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Oh I miss this place 

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My future

So…..I’ve been home for 6 months now. What do I miss most? I miss the brunching. I miss waking up on the weekend and trying something completely new, going somewhere completely new with zero expectations. Just so dayum happy to be alive and having the opportunity to explore a completely new country. I miss living in South Yarra so much. Beyond explainable. I have tears just typing this. That place brought out an energy in me that I did not know was possible (I mean I already am super energetic). And like, maybe if I lived in the city here in Toronto I wouldn’t miss it as much, but coming back home from that super vibin city with a dash of suburb life, to full on suburb life, is so hard. Bittersweet I guess. I miss my grade 4 class. I miss my teacher crew…. You ladies taught me so much, I miss how different we all were, yet connected. I miss all my roommates, holy do I ever miss you guys. I miss what was there. I miss van life. I miss that the most I think. Read more about what van life means to me Here. Even Traveller’s Autobarn appreciated my thoughts…..Traveller’s Autobarn.  Yes, definitely van life. The planning, the spontaneity, the unknown, the exploring, the freedom, the simplicity, the depth, the connection, the stars, the solitude, the soul searching that happened, the personal growth, the road trip songs, the sing alongs, the dances, the entertaining we did as we drove for hours on end (okay not me), I got to do so much reading, talking, sipping of wine, gazing out the window and provide some pretty wild dance moves (sorry not sorry). I miss van life more than anything. I miss pulling over on the side of a highway which was probably so sketchy, but pulling over, making chicken tacos, cracking a bottle of wine and just being so in awe of what we were experiencing. “Oh those will be the days that I am missing” (a random song I’ve heard lately….it’s Friday of the long weekend and 2 am and I am so nostalgic for my time in Aus). I don’t even listen to music unless its one song I become obsessed with and I just repeat it for 6 months until I find another one. But lately, I found this incredible spotify playlist, super indie, Volkswagon van vibe music and ohhh baby it’s emotional. Oh the van. And the car. I mean I miss that showers didn’t matter, brushing your teeth became a privilege, and finding a “servo” with coffee brought the biggest smile to my face. I miss packaged salads, reclining our seats on the side of the road and sleeping like that for 2 weeks. I miss our van so dayum much. Oh man this is so hard to write. I miss the day dreaming, the roaming, the wandering, the exploring, the sharing of such personal stories, the overheating, the bugs, the swinging the van door open and peeing in the bush hoping you would not cross paths with a snake or a spider. I miss Melbourne. I miss the planning, the anticipation, the energy, the people, the pride, the attitude. I miss a lot. But I am so dayum grateful to have experienced what I experienced. I have a suitcase of memories, a passport filled with stamps, a heart that is exploding with gratitude for my experiences down under, exploding with love, with an even hungrier wanderlust, a thirst to keep travelling and exploring this beautiful world of ours. And I have such a strong appreciation and respect for people that follow their own path, the one’s who own the f*ck out of what they want. I have these memories I will forever hold so close to my heart, a beautiful scrapbook and homemade videos to show my rugrats one day, ones that I show my family and see their eyes well up with tears. Because they are so proud. I have souvenirs that bring a smile to my face everyday, home made postcards that make me smile and giggle all at once and I have these beautiful memories and connections shared with some pretty incredible people.

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Private Picnics in South Australia

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Car life was freezing….this is 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 jackets and a big Knit on top, a pair of leggings, sweat pants and elephant pants….

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Barossa Valley

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Fraser Island 

So go. I promise you go. Go alone, go with the love of your life, go with your best friend, your soulmate, your mom, your dad, your brother. But go. No matter who you share such a life changing and enhancing experience with, it will only better you. You have nothing to loose. I promise you that much. Remember that…you have nothing to loose. Please go. And no matter who you go with, I can promise you it is going to make that relationship grow in immense ways, in ways you couldn’t even fathom. Because whether it is the love of your life, your best friend, your mom, you are out there in some pretty challenging, stressful, tiresome, scary, uncomfortable situations and then the most beautiful, life changing, pinch me moments where you just look at the other person and say “holy shit, this is our life, we are doing this, I’m so proud of us and this is the coolest shit ever”. The amount of times I said “we are so lucky, I’m so proud of us, we worked hard for this and look at our effing lives”….was actually on the daily. I am still in awe of what we did, what we accomplished and how we grew as individuals and together. No matter who your travel partner is, you see each other at your absolute worst…..maybe super skinny from no gym, or super fat from all the smashed avo and 4 dollar bottles of wine and no gym, they see you get bruises all over your body from allergic reactions, you talk super close when you haven’t seen a tooth brush in days, and they see your super hairy legs because you have not seen a razor in weeks. They see you with no makeup for months on end. They see what your like when you are hungry, tired, emotionally drained and home sick. They see you when you are flying so high, the world is your oyster and you feel like a million flippin bucks to be doing what your doing. They hear your deepest darkest secrets and fears, they hear your dreams, your goals, what’s really inside your soul, what lights you up. No matter who it is, someone you just met, someone you’ve known for years, what you experience when you travel is incomparable to anything else. I was going through videos on my phone earlier today and my god, travelling for weeks on end in this little van, you get weird, you are just you. None of the outside world bull. Like this video made me laugh and cry all at once. And if you go alone, all of this still stands true. You get right in touch with every ounce of your being, every inch of your soul, the real, raw you. Not the curated person you are at work, or with the family you hate, or the show you put on for instagram. You really find out who you are, what matters to you, what you want in life, what your willing to fight for, your hopes, dreams and you find your character. As cliché as this is, you fall in love with yourself. That much I know for sure. And you will probably fall even more in love with whoever your travel partner is….you’ve be warned. 

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Forever in my heart 
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All smiles
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Vision Board’in

I know what you’re thinking….”Yeah, but…”

Yeah but….what?

Those words will be the death of you. “Yeah, but…” WHAT. Med school, masters, good job, no vacation time, a boyfriend or parent that does not want you to go, not enough money, no travel partner, scared?

“Yeah, but…”  means you have the best intentions but you really are just too scared to do what you should do. “Yeah, but…” allows us to be cowards, while sounding logical and smart and noble. I know people who have said they were going to take time off next year and travel…that was 5 years ago. And guess what guys…I am living truth that you can do both. I travelled. I quit my job, and I left. I travelled. I came home, I got my own class and I officially got into my Masters. The yeah-but will kill your dreams. It will. It’s the same as hearing your mom say “be realistic”. That kills you right? Well when you say “yeah, but…” you are killing yourself. Be careful of the yeah but, because if there is a will, there is a way. Job, Masters, Travel, Boyfriends, The dog, The Car, The Mortgage….. your actions, outlook and perspective are what are in charge here. Drive your own bus.

This is your time to go. They say your 20’s are your selfish years. This is your time to go do whatever it is you want. If you still have a reasonable amount of control over your circumstances, GO. Do what matters to you. I doubt you want to be married, with a great job and 2 kids at 37 and say “oh my god, I never got to do what I wanted…I kept living someone else’s dream. I followed society’s rules, not mine. Peace famjam, I’m taking off for a year to do me.” I doubt anyone would want to break their family apart like that. Life won’t always be about you, but I have a strong feeling right now it kind of is? So, travel. If you want to that is. I have best friends who are not interested in living out of a backpack and hostels for a year, or could never imagine moving their whole lives across the globe and starting new. I also have friends who would meet me at the airport in an hour if I told them I had a ticket to anywhere and everywhere. If you want to travel, do it. Try it. Go wide and far, be bold, say yes, live free and live simple on the road. Travel without abandon, do not apologize for living your truth, go. Go where you want, with who you want, for however long it is you want. I promise you “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. Go out there, make mistakes, learn a new language, navigate a new neighbourhood or train station, get a job at a little cafe, work at a hostel, climb a mountain, jump out of a plane, frolick in the ocean, sip bin tangs in a hammock, just go. This is the time to seize these growth opportunities, your worldview is still being formed, go out there and experience!

When you look back on your life, you will have these moments, these pinch me, jaw dropping moments, these moments or smells, sounds, songs that bring you back to that proud, “heck yes I did” moments, and maybe the odd moment you may regret. But, I know the “heck yes” moments will be much longer than the “regret” list.

I bet these won’t be on that ‘regret’ list:

– Scuba dive the great barrier reef

– Bungee jump in Whistler

– Ski Blackcomb

– Skydive in New Zealand

– Travel around Australia in a Van with your love

–  Move to a new country

–  Hike the Cinque Terre hike of the 5 towns

– Lean on the Leaning Tower of Pisa

– Drive the Road to Hana in Maui

-Hike up to the Hollywood Sign in Cali

-Live out of an RV with your family for 6 weeks and your puppy as you travel around Canada and the States

– Play with a Kangaroo

– Work abroad

– Bliss out @ the Fairmont in Bali with your 2 best friends

(These are just a few of mine …I’ve done them all).

What will be on that latter list?

– holding back

– making excuses

– being afraid  

– not taking risks

-waiting

– listening to everyone else’s opinion

– not following your own truth

– doing what others expect you to do.

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Magic in the outback

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Precious

So I urge you to go. I urge you to taste the fullness of life. It is worth whatever investment or money or sacrifice of time required. It isn’t about being a tourist or the one everyone is envying on instagram. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of life. You’ll become compassionate. These choices we make in our youth are the choices that will define us. Travelling changes you like nothing else can. You get cultured. You can read all the books in the world, but being there is different. Go. Do it now. You are young. You will never be this young again. “You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap.” So, I urge you to go. And if you choose Aus, well let me tell you Melbourians enjoy the best coffee in the world. The city is the capital of Australia’s coffee craze, and a great cup of joe can be found on any street corner and that I seriously miss. They have plenty of nightlife and colourful wonderful moving street art….underground bars, jazz cafes, and dance clubs hidden along the laneways. Melbourne is rated the #1 Most Liveable City in the World. So yea, I miss it a lot.

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New Zealand 
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Bali 
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Brunch Lifestyle

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Be one

 

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Bathing Boxes
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Favourite van night dinners
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Yes

When you make the commitment to move abroad, take that leap, you are forced to change your way of life. Your day to day routine changes, you are forced outside of your comfort zone. You feel a deeper connection with loved ones and new friends. A “switch” goes off inside of you.

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Gets me everytime 

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What I also noticed when I moved home was my attitude about a lot of things. A lot of what people stressed out about, bothered me. And okay you know I am the biggest worry wart and stress ball and Tasmanian devil. My mind goes 100 miles a minute even when there is no need to. But it is very hard for me to stop stressing about things…things in my control and not in my control (we all know I like to be in control). Coming home was different. All of a sudden the car battles at my house about who would bring who to work had me saying “does it really matter? We’ll make it work, I’ll take you.” The ‘what for dinners’ that bombard my house, had me laughing. Like why are we stressing about what to make for our golden boy (Jordan)…he is here every night. The oh my goodness, I can’t go out tonight because I work tomorrows started to bother me. So what? You can’t come out for some drinks because you work? I started realizing we don’t HAVE to live in this wait for Friday and Saturday mentality. Like live it up when you want and how you want, doesn’t matter if it’s a rainy Tuesday or a glorious Saturday. That was something we soaked up in Melbourne. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday….it did not matter, we would go walk around the city, try new restaurants, legit restaurant hop LOL (so typical of us), go out, it did not matter that we “worked” tomorrow. People were angry that they commute in traffic, or that their friend bailed on them. They were stressed about the fact they had to do basic everyday errands. I just kind of gained this new outlook about stressing over the little things in life & especially the ones out of our control. I think travelling does that to you. Once you take a 24 hour flight, get screwed over by car rental companies, experience the fact that you don’t know where you are going to live in 2 days, and you have to move out, you don’t know anything about this city and how to get around (and I’m directionally challenged soo….), luckily I moved to an English speaking country or else I would really be screwed. But once you realize your phone plan never changed over, your money did not transfer from one account to the other, you were over charged an insane amount of money to get from mainland Bali to the Gili’s, you get stuck in a terrifying storm while casually biking around an island you know nothing about, you see the struggles of what someone else is going through, the real struggles, not #firstworldproblems…you just gain a new outlook. I came home and things that people were complaining to me about made me want to shake them. I am super empathetic and an amazing listener, so I hear a lot of problems, good, bad, whatever it is, from everyone in my life. My friends say when I go out I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘TELL ME, I CARE’….my mom has the same sign. I can literally just say hi to someone and before you know it, they’ve told me about the deep depression they are experiencing from the fact that they are stuck in a dead end job, can’t find a guy, don’t have any true friends and oh yea it can get real heavy. Too heavy for here. But, coming home I was less empathetic about the stupid stuff. Okay your car broke down, have your 5 second meltdown, then pick yourself back up and figure it out. You didn’t get that job, that’s okay, keep applying. Oh you would rather sit on your couch for 2 weeks and cry at the fact that you got laid off….I just don’t have sympathy. You got cut off by an idiot driver 3 days ago and your still angry…move on. I just realized my stress levels for the small stuff was so much smaller. After moving abroad I am able to look at things with a much wider lense, a much brighter, more “experienced” outlook, with a whole new, refreshed outlook on life, stress and ‘problems’. I am trying to take full control of my reactions to what happens to me. Whether it is my choice or not, I am trying to say…..yea that girl made your life “h***”, but I can choose how I take that energy and let it affect me. Yea, that guy cut me off, but I can choose to chase him and flip him the bird, or keep singing Girl Crush, jamming along. Oh, something came up and you can’t meet up anymore, no biggy, let’s reschedule. You didn’t get that job, have a day to let it sink in and soak it up, then learn from it, reflect, don’t be bitter. Someone disappointed you, so what….you are going to resent them forever? No. Don’t let things eat you up, that you can’t control. It’s all about your outlook, what you visualize and what you manifest. A year ago before I moved I would be so mad that Rogers charged me 150 bucks for going over on my data and I would have been livid….now, I recognize 1) that is no one’s fault but my own, and that’s something I can fix…control my data. Someone hates you for no reason, and goes out of their way to make your work and personal life so uncomfortable and unbearable that you cry every day and can’t eat…..I can’t control her outlook and hate for me, but I can control how I let her affect me. I can choose to send hate her way or love, because clearly she needs it. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I just find that I have such an appreciation for everything in life, more so than I ever have. HECK, we even have a kitchen table at home….In aus we did not. We have more than one pan here at home, in the van we did not. I can shower when I please, there…nope.

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One of my favourite days

Just go. You will be so dayum proud of yourself for taking the leap you’ve always wanted to take, the jump that is so efffing scary, but you took it. What’s the worst that can happen?? You go and hate it? So what, you come home. After all you have nothing to prove. I kept telling my family, I am doing this for me. This is all for me. I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. I want this and I’m taking the leap. A one way ticket with no expectations. If I get there and end up changing my plans and instead of living, working and travelling Australia, I choose to just travel for a month, then that’s what I do. If I get there and love it, then maybe I renew my visa, maybe I get sponsored. But it is on my terms. Whatever you do, make it for you, not for instagram followers, not because your best friend is doing it or your boyfriend wants it, not because your mom thinks it’s a good idea. This is about you. After all, this is your time. All I know is that experience, those 8 months of living abroad changed me for the better, gave me a whole new outlook on life, brought incredible people into my life who I am so so grateful for, provided me with the opportunity to fall even more in love with cappuccinos & smashed avo’s, it gave me my very own van life reality from a vision that I thought may only be a dream. It brought me so much closer to my travelling partner, it gave me the opportunity to slow down, to swallow how incredible life is and it gave me this new found confidence, like heck yes I can do it and I did it. You will be proud of yourself, no matter how it works out. 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, 30 years, you will be so proud of yourself for having no regrets. You tried it and that is something no one can take away from you. You won’t be stuck with the “what if’s”…

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The cutest penguins (you can’t see)

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One of our 8 homes
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My favourite home 
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Pink everything please 
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Crazy
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Pee break 
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So….SAY YES
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So lucky

So I leave you with this…..

“If you wait until your ready, you will be waiting for the rest of your life.”

“Yes I was afraid. You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. But my fear of failure never approached my fear of ‘what if’ What if I never tried at all?”

I always was that student that wrote the 12 page essay when asked for 5….so if you’re still here, thank you. I apologize for the disaster that is my brain, it is completely scrambled right now, like I said scrambled eggs, with a side of smashed avo, a billy miner, a mimosa in one hand, a cappuccino in the other and a glass of red in front, waiting for its turn in the rotation LOL!

Until next time,

Coming at you extra cheesy, a little less sparkly (I’m working on it), but as always…. Real,

 Court xoxo

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Where I’ve Been

Where I’ve Been

Beautifuls, 

Wow it has been TOOOOO long. I apologize. Three months. Life got weird, like really weird, life got crazy. But I’m back! This is a long one, so grab a glass of wine & unwind….after all it is Thursday and The Catch is on, soooo you deserve a glass of vino or cappuccino OR SOMETHING! Ohhhh….and I wrote this last week hoping to post it on the weekend, but crazy has a way of finding itself to me. So it’s Thursday and I’m coming in hot.

A lot of people have been asking me…. “Are you going to keep writing? Now that you are back will you continue to write?” To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure. I was somewhere in the middle. Yes, I want to keep writing, but about what? Who even wants to read what I’m writing? But over the last few months I’ve realized….who cares? Who cares if no one reads my blog anymore now that I’m back, who cares what people think about it or my intentions with it, who even cares if everyone has a blog these days. Do me, right? I love to write and I feel like if one person even reads this blog, and one person leaves thinking “this girl is nuts”, “holy crap, I feel so inspired”, “I want to try that, I’m going to try that”, “I’m moving to Australia in a few months and this random chick made me so excited for van life, 4 dollar bottles of wine, brunching and flat whites” or if someone leaves with the feelings of “I feel happy or motivated or intrigued”…. then my job is done. So yes, I will keep writing. How often? I do not know. About what? I do not know. But, I do know that this is my therapy, one of my favourite past times and has kind of become like my own online dairy. I have my own journal, but I’ve also realized that I am a much faster typer than printer, so this is my story. I choose how it goes. I am sitting in the backseat of a car driving through the long, beautiful, serene highways of Arizona. I did something I hadn’t done in a few weeks. I opened my blog page. Not only did I open it, but I started reading each and every post that I had written. I can’t help but feel so much nostalgia, happiness, pride, excitement and sadness all once. Only 11 months ago I left everything I knew, I resigned from the library, I took a leave of absence from the school boards, I packed up my extremely comfortable and nice lifestyle in Toronto, and said ‘see you soon’ to everything and everyone I knew. I had no return ticket, I could have been back in a month or two, a year or three, I had no idea what to expect. I mean in my heart I kind of knew I was coming home for Christmas, because I could never miss a Fantin Henry Christmas Fiascle, but I kept a very open mind throughout the entire process. 8 months later, I was home.

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The day I booked my one way flight….#giddy

 Anyways….where have I been. What have I been up to? Well in typical Chaos Courtney fashion…..it has been a wild ride…obviously. It’s never boring. When I got home and all my food demands were met, read more on that here , I met up with plenty of friends for hundreds of coffee dates, went for one too many wine nights, shared story after story, memory after memory, photo after photo. Even acquaintances, or people who had never met me but knew of me from a friend, reached out and sent encouraging and motivational messages saying they had followed along with my journey and it inspired them to book a trip, or to keep pushing through their current job to get that promotion….they asked to catch up over cappuccinos or wine because lets get real, is there any other way I’m sitting & talking without either in hand? Now, before I got home everyone told me….get ready. I said for what? “For the deep sadness that will overcome you.” Oh yea, I know I’ll miss this life, who I am in this moment, what I’ve experienced and accomplished, things no one will ever know that I went through to get to where I had gone and so forth. I knew those memories and those obstacles would be mine forever, hold a very special place in my heart and help shape the person I am and that I am okay knowing that not everyone will ever understand or know what I did to get to this point. But me get sad? Yes, of course I’ll be sad for a few weeks. “No, no” they said…..its deep and its weird and it immobilizes you. No, no, not me, I am always super energetic, bubbly and optimistic, I won’t be THAT sad. Well boy was I proven wrong. They were right. After the hustle and bustle that comes from the first few weeks of being home, it just hits you like a ton of bricks….and it is HARD. I got back on Thursday, November 24th. I was back at work supplying on that Monday. Everyone said take a few weeks to settle in, see people, adjust to the time difference and just soak up the experience, the crazy adventure I had just been on. Deep down, they knew that was not going to happen. I still saw everyone in the evenings, I battled through the jet lag (which luckily did not hit me too too hard), went to work everyday and indulged in all the pre Christmas festivities. Because obviously I am obsessed with all things Christmas, so I ate it all up. After Christmas and the famous Fantin Henry disaster that is Christmas day and involves way too much dancing and Joan (LOL) came New Years….a cozy weekend up north filled with good champagne, loved ones, snowman and sparklers…..OBVI. But then it came. The month of December was a whirlwind of happiness, sharing story after story, going through photos and videos of this insane adventure I had just embarked on, but deep down something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I did not feel like myself. My friends and family often ask me if my energy is natural or if I am on some sort of caffeine pill…or something else. NOOOOO! I am ohhhh natural baby. But, I felt so off and so I started reflecting. You come home from this insane adventure, an adventure I had mentally been preparing for since high school. My Pinterest board was over flowing with ideas & when people asked what university I was going too, I knew I wanted to be in the Concurrent Program, I knew I was going to fast track it by taking 9 courses at a time, and I knew that if I got into my first choice University, I could continue working 2 jobs to save for the adventure that would await me. I didn’t know it was going to be Australia, see here how I chose from a variety of opportunities, but I knew I was going to somehow combine my two passions together….to teach and to travel. Fast forward 4 years of working and studying, having my major goal at the end of it, and mentally and then physically preparing for my departure. The parties, the farewells, the tears, the hugs, the sparklers, the gifts, the outings, the letters, the cards….

All of a sudden this life changing experience came….

and then it came to an end, and I was back home in my comfortable bed with my cute string lights, my scratch map staring into my face, cuddling my family, enjoying plenty of wine, laughs and some tears 😉

If you know my family, you know we are like super duper close. So leaving them was the hardest thing I had to do. When I was offered a full time position and permanent residency in Australia, they decided if I said yes they would sell our house, live 6 months in Melbourne to be with me and spend 6 months at the cottage to be with my brother. You guessed it….I turned it down. Anyways…I’m off track like usual. And I write like I talk…a huge fast run on sentence.

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Home for the holidays

 I felt like I couldn’t write because something was not adding up and it kind of knocked me off my feet. I wanted my own class. As everyone told me…why would you ever turn down a class in Australia to come back and supply here…you’ll never get an LTO or permanent. And of course they had to be right….but whatever, supplying was awesome too. But what I realized was before Australia when I was supplying it was the perfect gig because once I graduated, I spent 6 months supplying, but when that bell rang at 3:30 pm, I was running out the door to get to my next job at the library which took me to 9pm. It was perfect. It was actually the greatest gig…..I was making great money, doing extra online courses on my lunch hour or after work, I was able to take time off to meet my girls in Whistler, celebrate my parents anniversary in Hawaii and spend late nights drinking wine & planning my adventure to Australia. Like the gig was perfect. So why when I came back and started supplying again did I feel so unfilled? Well….in those 8 months, I grew, I had a grade 4 class and now wanted something different. Supply teaching is an amazing gig, you gain incredible experience, have a great home life and some people seriously make a profession out of being a supply teacher. But, you are the new person every day. Every day you walk in….you sign in, you don’t know where the bathroom is, the staff room, you don’t know the routines, the students etc….you sit at the lunch table and some days have amazing people to chat with and other days people want nothing to do with the supply teachers. And all of that was okay a year ago…..because I had my own little community at the library. I had my regular patrons, my schedule, my shift, my staff…that was my family. I was there for 7 years. Now that I was back, that was missing. Wait…I only work till 3:30 pm….no, that is not the life for me at this particular stage of my life. People would say, “why do you feel the need to do more or get another job? Coming home at 4 pm would be a dream.” “I don’t feel the need to, but I want to. And that is not my dream. I want a work community, I want to experience and explore as much as I can at this age and make money to live the life I want for myself in the future. I want to indulge in everything I can right now”. When I finally pinpointed what was missing for that month, I felt soooooo relieved. Thank god for the support system around me…it was a weird time. Knowing what it was, what I was missing, and what I was ready for was a huge relief. After having a taste of my own class in Melbourne….and boy do I miss those kiddos so much….I knew I was ready to move on from supplying, but felt stuck because we all know what the job market here is like.

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Whistler dreaming
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Aus

After everyday of supplying, I came home and applied to every single position possible…qualified or unqualified. I tried. I sent them off, with no expectations. The only expectation was to not hear back, but hey that’s okay. At least I am trying and my name keeps popping up. If you never try, you’ll never know.

 

 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…if the door doesn’t open, it’s not for you….the stars will always find a way to align, and what’s meant to be will always be. What you want, what you envision will manifest over time. I wanted and envisioned Australia for a long long time and slowly it manifested. Numerous people told me if I left, I would screw up my chances of ever getting my own class here in Ontario…..everyone’s got an opinion, and everyone thinks they know what’s best for you better than you. I am so so glad I did not listen to any of those individuals. I definitely can thank and appreciate their concern for me and my career, but I am glad I did what I knew was right in my heart. Between Christmas and New Years I got an email from one of the many applications I had sent off. WAIT, WHAT??? An interview??? No, not me. Fast forward a week and I was being interviewed on the Monday, found out on the Tuesday and started my very own class on the Thursday. TALK ABOUT A WHIRLWIND. A week before that I was hosting a girls Christmas glam night and it was 3 am, we were watching Christmas movies and had way too many glasses of wine, but we got in to these deep life chats. I said “I’m just ready for my own class. I want the relationships, I want the whirlwind of planning, marking, coaching, starting clubs, of the social drama, family problems, I want to leave feeling happy, sad, inspired, frustrated and everything you feel and take on as a teacher.” It’s all out of passion and love for the kids and what we do. Don’t get me wrong, when I was supplying I was able to inspire and leave inspired by the kids…but having my own class…it is a whole new level.

 

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Fantin Henry Christmas ’16

I like to kind of give each year a vibe or some sort of umbrella title or focus. I feel like 2016 was my Selfish Year. I could say 2016 was the Year of Travel or the Year of Yes, but I honestly feel like travel will be embedded throughout my entire life, it is in my bones, my heart and soul, and I feel like the Year of Yes is kind of like one of my favourite life mottos…  “Say yes”. I’m captioning 2017 as the Year of the Career for me. That is kind of like my umbrella and focus of the year. Of course everything intertwines and everything is always growing and improving. But this year I had no idea I would ever see any sign of my own class…not in Ontario at least. I thought I had to go abroad again…which I WAS NOT OPPOSED TO! And now that I have my own class people say….well what about travelling? Well folks…..nothing is ever permanent, so yes another move is probably in my future, my summers will be spent teaching ESL abroad, and I will continue to chase my dreams of travelling and teaching. But, right now, where I am….I never expected, or at least most of me did not expect it, but a tiny part of me knew that what I envisioned, the way I planned out and carefully constructed a strategy would bring the stars into alignment. And here we are….stars aligned. People say “oh you obviously knew someone”, “congratulations, what was your connection, who do you know?” And my answer is no one. It bothers me when they ask again….   “no no you obviously got in somehow, you are so young, I know teachers 6 years out and they don’t have an LTO, you obviously know someone here”. No, I don’t. And it really freakin bothers me that this world assumes that you have to know someone to get what it is you want. A lot of the time it is but not always. No….hard work gets you what you want. Sweat, tears, all nighters, goal setting, strategy, determination, networking, experience, a genuine, kind heart and passion, positivity, an incredible work ethic and vision gets you what you want.

Last years birthday 2 months before Aus:

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I got to spend last years birthday walking the same halls I walked for 10 years, but as a teacher #OLA

This years birthday three months after Aus:

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This years birthday I took a break from report cards for a night and channelled my inner Leo
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2016, I’m really going to miss you
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Cozy cottage weekends

Some things in life are luck yes, but a lot of it is hard work. If there is anthing I can tell you….it is DO YOU. Opinions are like butts, everyone has one. You can chose door A, people will still think you are making a wrong choice. Okay choose door B….nope still not okay. You can’t please everyone, and living a life trying to please everyone is no life to live in my opinion. Everyone has something to say, but you need to create your own life and do what it is you want. So often in our society we are told to graduate high school, go to university, get a decent paying job and take a vacation a year..one week to Mexico or Punta Cana, your choice. But who said that has to be your life. Again do you. Work hard and be kind. The world is your oyster. Create the life you envision. Not the life your parents tell you to have, or the one your friend might have or the life we are “supposed” to have. Be honest with yourself and follow your dreams. Do not settle.

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Sometimes it’s all we need

You have to put everything into perspective…and this took me awhile to understand. A lot of people’s opinions on my decisions were fantastic, amazing, supportive, inspiring and motivating. Others, weren’t. But you have to remember their mindset comes from their own insecurities, fears, upbringing, from what they’ve been taught is normal, is okay, what is safe and so forth. So don’t take everything to heart right away…put everything into perspective, dig deep, look into yourself and make your own decisions. If I listened to my mom who was terrified of me moving aboard…..because yes she is my mom, but also because she was never a big traveller until she met my dad, and because she thought I would loose any chance of having my own class here…so if I listened to her fears, her voice of insecurity and love, I would not have embarked on the craziest journey. A good goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. They say always go with the choice that scares you the most…that’s where the growth happens. So I hope you do that. Take the plunge, take the risk, do you. Who cares how old you are. Society creates this… “oh your 19…you can’t do this yet. Oh your 23, yes now is the time to travel. Oh your forty with kids, no you can’t change careers…too risky. Oh don’t travel until your house is paid off, kids are graduated and your retired”. None of these are right or wrong…..but they are either right or wrong FOR YOU. There is no one size fits all formula.

 So here we are….I’m on my first official March Break as a teacher and for me that is huge. I am not one of those “oh I think I’ll be a teacher now….what else could I do?”…I envisioned this since I could walk. So I am indulging, swallowing and reflecting each and every aspect of this “first official” March Break as a teacher. I’m doing what I love to do every single day. I spend hours planning and marking and when anyone asks how my day was…they know a 2 hour conversation is going to begin. Crack the wine;) The good, the bad, the ugly, I love all aspects of this job. I am not only a teacher to these kids, I am a mom for some, a coach for others, a motivational speaker, a nurse, a doctor, a therapist, a safe haven, a dad, an actress, a life coach, a learner, a listener for all and so much more. I come home every night knowing how lucky I am, because I am one of the very few that is in love with their job, who smiles and sings the whole time to and from work. I arrive when it’s still dark out and pull out when it’s dark. The first car in and the last one out. And the times where it is nasty and ugly and you take home all the problems of the workpace and the crap happening in your kids own lives, I smile knowing that the reason I am so upset, or am crying, or frustrated or sad is because I love what I do, I love my kids and I want to be the best possible teacher ever.

Okay we have almost arrived at Antelope Canyon…..WHICH I AM FREAKING OUT ABOUT because I have wanted to go here for SOOOO LONG. It’s 3 hours from Sedona….but I will fill you in on our Arizona adventure soon.

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Sedona

 

Until then….I hope you enjoyed copious amount of Zifindal in one hand and a cappuccino in the other….& thank you for following along. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the laughs and the tears, the rollercoaster of life. If I only have one reader and that’s my future kid…well this is for you. I don’t know what I’m going to write or how often, but when I do and what I say, I promise it will be real. It will be genuine. And probably positive, because life is too short to be anything but a positive penny.

Soooo for now I am enjoying feeling like myself again, enjoying that spark that was kind of dull for awhile, and enjoying the challenge of being the best possible teacher I can be every day. 

I wouldn’t change any of this, where I am or what I’m doing for the world. No regrets. I hope you can say the same too. And if you can’t, I hope you find the strength and the courage to change that.

OHHHH and I’ve been waking up at 5 am a ball of energy….so I just watched Nick propose to Vanessa. I mean I hope he doesn’t screw it up…she is a keeper (or so I think…maybe because she is a teacher I have a soft spot for her….).

***Like I said, I wrote this last week***

I’m back from March Break and right back into the full swing of everything 31 kids bring and their beautiful, crazy, hilarious, active, different lives. 

Happy Thursday beautifuls….keep smiling.

Cheers,

Court xoxo

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New Zealand’s South Island

New Zealand- South Island

Beautifuls,

 New Zealand has been on my bucket list for a long, long time. I mean….full of natural beauty. The rolling valleys, snow covered mountains, blue lakes, amazing beaches, and jaw dropping sunsets. Be warned…New Zealand will steal your heart.

 If you followed along on snap chat than it is no news to you that we did the entire country in 2 weeks, in a car. YUP, a car & two weeks. The country is much smaller than Australia, so this was totally doable for us. Now let me tell you, travelling in a car is not for the faint of heart. You got to be dedicated, flexible, and legit adapt a very EASY, BREEZY, attitude. You got to be as cool as a cucumber. But more on that later.

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 I fell in love with New Zealand’s South Island. It was incredible. Now I have done A LOT of travelling, but what was so cool was watching Thomas’s reaction to this part of the country. He loves mountains but has never been out West in Canada, so this was all new for him. Watching him gawk, his jaw drop, his smile, his desire to want to climb each and every peak he layed eyes on, was incredible. A kid on Christmas morning…literally. The South Island is the thrill seekers play ground, the adventure capital of the world. Scenic mountain ranges and lakeside views….I mean can it get any better? We hiked, we climbed, we explored, we jumped out of a plane, we drove and we drove….days on end. We enjoyed packaged salads from the grocery store, we embraced the whole no shower for two weeks thing….yea I know….y’all are puking and mouthing a silent “WTF…TWO WEEKS”. Yup, no joke. Two weeks, in a car, no shower, no camping, no tent, no cooking our own food. Nope. Instead it was grocery runs for anything “healthy” that didn’t need to be cooked or prepared. The car was not a station wagon where there was a bed in the back, but instead we legit slept in our seats. Yup, reclined our chairs and tried to sleep. Oh and earthquakes…yes the earthquakes…good times. New Zealand in November was far from warm, we could see our breath while we slept and usually we woke up every two hours because we were frozen, so we would turn the car on, blast the heat for 20 minutes, I would say something along the lines of “this is insane, I can’t do this anymore, I’m frozen” (usually more vulgar and far from kind) and repeat that cycle every few hours. Then we would wake up, noses frozen and feel like a warrior…. “are we really doing this?” “CAN I GET A H*LL YEA”. Boy this trip was an adventure. You all know I love Van Life and that was an adventure….my favourite kind. But car life? Holy that was next level. No bed, no kitchen, no shower, brushing our teeth on the side of the road somewhere, trying to charge my laptop at a coffee shop so we could potentially watch a movie, being on airplane mode, therefore rarely knowing the directions, using maps, asking locals. It was such a raw, natural experience. Like next level. Some nights we would pull over around 9 pm using our handy dandy offline app called Wiki Maps that would tell us where we could sleep for free. Pull over, recline our seats, bundle up for the night, eat our packaged salad, snag a few sips of wine from the bottle (classy right), watch a DVD until my laptop died, and tried to sleep. Other nights we wouldn’t pull over till about 2 am. But it was pure magic. One of those once in a lifetime experiences. Like when I’m 80 the grandkids will be in awe of how effing fiesty their grandma is. I also regularly said the line “oh, if anyone ever calls me a princess, I will enlighten them on the whole #carlife experience”. You were warned…..

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New Zealand is dreamy 

 Okay, now you’ve got a little background of our adventure in a car…seriously try it. Go, go, go!!! Here is our list of must do’s when on the South Island.

Continue reading “New Zealand’s South Island”

Chickitas do Bali

Chickitas do Bali

 Hi beautifuls,

Lets get real here for a second, travelling with your girlfriends is one of the coolest experiences one can ever have. I mean exploring new places, sipping rose by the pool, ordering too many espresso martinis, meeting the “most” interesting characters, and indulging in one too many bin tangs….it doesn’t get much better. Bali has always been a place I’ve dreamed about and when I knew I was coming to Australia, I knew Bali had to happen. Between van life, living in 6 different homes in 5 months, more van life, trip planning, working, experiencing all of Melbourne and just life itself, I was not sure if there was going to be time to do Bali right. But when my girlfriend from back home who now lives in Whistler suggested we meet up in Bali since we hadn’t seen each other in 7 months, the wheels started turning EVEN MORE. She suggested it would be a perfect meet up point considering she no longer lives in Toronto. Like how could I pass that opportunity up! I knew Bali was going to be a dream…..I mean a dream becoming a reality. It was definitely a chaotic time! From planning van life on the West Coast, to travelling with no service, to coming home for literally 5 days and flying back out to Bali, it was chaos, but oh my goodness, it was amazing and so so worth it. Anticipation is one of the most delicious feelings. It really is. The excitement that comes with looking forward to something is an incredible feeling and we thrive on it, we eat it up, we wait, we countdown, we predict, we plan and we run on that anticipation. The adventure, the excitement, the reunion, the unknown. I was so excited. I was meeting up with one of my best friends from home & then I got even luckier finding out one of my other best friends was coming too! We’ve travelled to Banff & Whistler together but never this far! We knew it was going to be epic. And epic it was indeed. Bali was the most incredible girls trip & I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful destination to meet up, reconnect and let loose with my best friends than in Bali. We spent 10 days soaking up the lifestyle, scenery and experiences of Bali with the perfect balance of luxury, glampacking, backpacking and “roughing” it.

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Seminyak Beach

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Bliss

I’ve decided to give you a personalized “Chickitas do Bali” list of our favourite cafes, tours, places to stay, beach clubs, sunset bars & tips based on where we stayed and what we learned from the locals. Bali is a beautiful, charming, cultured, very special place. I hope this list helps you get inspired and plan your very own “Chickitas do Bali” aka a girls trip, or a solo trip or romantic getaway. Bali has it all. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it here.  Continue reading “Chickitas do Bali”

Demands

Demands

GUYS,

As you might know, we are currently in New Zealand and arrive home today! EEEEKKKK CUE THE TEARS, CUE THE SPARKLERS, PROSECCO, SHIRAZ, PALE PINK RVS, CUE THE OI OI OI, THE FEAST, THE INSTAGRAMS, THE HUGS. I’ll put it simply. We can’t wait. We just completed a 25 km hike through Abel Tasman (South Island) and spent an hour of that hike discussing the food we are going to consume when we get home. “What are you craving most?” And then a list followed and a deep, passionate, mouth watering conversation about food evolved. 

If you know us, you know we are the biggest foodies out there. Individually we can consume A LOT OF FOOD, and have always loved food. Put us together, make us a couple and oh god it is scary. Our live revolves around food, we bond over it and mend fights with the simple sentence “alright what are you feeling?…nope not legit feeling, feeling in terms of eating. My girlfirends called their time in Melbourne, the food tour….and oh heck it was. So yes we are huge foodies and consume a lot of food! I know I don’t cook but hey I can still be a foodie right? 

 Anyways, what are we most excited for when we get home?

My first demand on a very long list is a Tim Hortons Ice Cap and sprinkle donut (sorry gluten allergy but this is a nonnegotiable). 8 months too long. How Canadian of us?

Continue reading “Demands”

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye to our beloved Chapel Street home

Time has flown guys,

In the blink of an eye, our 8 month adventure down under has come to an end. Leaving Melbourne is incredibly bittersweet. We had been planning to leave our beloved Chapel Street home and our amazing 3 roommates at the end of November and taking off to New Zealand before getting home in time for Christmas. We got back from our West Coast trip with those intentions still in mind, but fast forward a few weeks and those intentions quickly changed. When you travel things change FAST. And I mean like super fast. One day you might have a job here, and the next you are quitting and starting somewhere new. One day you live with these people and the next you’ve moved in with those ones. Things change really fast, and people who don’t travel might not understand that and we can’t blame them. I came home from Bali with my girlfriends in tow and after a few glasses of wine, discussing our plans with the girls, Thomas and I looked at each other and said “I think I’m ready.”  Actually “I know I’m ready.”  Just like that, we both knew we were ready. And with that we started researching flights, travel plans and sitting on and swallowing the idea. 7 days later, flights were booked for 5 days after that, and we were closing and wrapping our little Melbourne life up in just 5 days. Now, those two weeks were crazy! We were trying to be the best tour guides and hosts for our friends visiting from Canada, with a full agenda of things to do,  all while trying to pack away everything we had created in Melbourne. Although I felt terrible for being a chaotic mess and an emotional wreck organizing everything with my girlfriends in town, having them there was a huge blessing. It also worked out beautifully because as we did the touristy site seeing things, we also got to take them to our favourite cafes, brunch spots, restaurants etc. What turned out to be a visit for them, was a wrap up for us, a c’est la vie. Taking them to all of our spots for their first time, turned out to be the last time for us. My girlfriends left Thursday morning, Thursday night we had a little going away party and Friday we were at the airport heading to New Zealand. ABSOLUTE MAYEM!

Continue reading “Saying Goodbye”

Our West Coast Roadtrip

Our West Coast Road Trip

Hello, Hello!

How is it November already? Time is literally flying, and I can’t believe it’s November already. It’s 3:55 am here….I am a ball of energy, stressing about everything that needs to get done this week, and A LOT IS HAPPENING. Some of you know I was just in Bali experiencing the most epic girls trip, then got to bring my two best friends back to Melbourne with me to experience the little life we have created here. Life has been crazy (more on that later) in every amazing way possible though. 

We’ve put together a little video of Our West Coast Road Trip around Australia (Outback included) to give you a better idea of the beauty this country offers and the adventure and happiness that van life can bring you. Seriously, WA you nailed it in every way possible.

I hope you enjoy our little recap & have a few eye rolls, giggles, head nods as you see Thomas’s reenactment of my dance moves and ‘WHATS’ as you sit back with a glass of Shiraz and watch our chaotic adventures down under.  And I hope it inspires you to do something a little crazy, to take that plunge that’s always in the back of your mind. Also, don’t mind my crappy technology skills..I’m a work in progress. 

Just click the link below! If it doesn’t load properly or is blurry, try using google chrome opposed to safari & let me know if it doesn’t work so I can fix it!!

 Our West Coast Road Trip 

Cheers,

Court xoxo

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What Van Life Means to Us

What Van Life Means to Us

 Van Life is so special. There is so much romance built up around van life and it’s all so freakin right! I don’t know how to describe it without being so so cheesy, but then again some of my friends actually call me cheesy court. There is just something so refreshing, liberating, freeing and exciting about van life. Everything we need is in this van, got our fridge, our vino, our bed, some books, a journal, a good playlist and each other. You go days without service and it’s okay. It’s honestly more than okay. It’s really nice. You get back to the roots. Instead of scrolling through Instagram while your eating or being a passenger (which we never really did, but sometimes can be guilty of), you are people watching, you are enjoying and tasting the food, you are in the moment, looking out the window taking it all in, talking, communicating and engaging with each other. It’s weird because when you have no service, you have no choice, you can’t be on your phone….it doesn’t take any self-control or discipline because there are no other options. At first it’s really weird. “OMG we haven’t had service for 3 hours, our moms are going to be worried and what the heck is happening in the social world”. Three hours turned into three days and it was sooooooo nice. I particularly love it because it’s really made me more aware of how much time I spend on my phone. Anyways besides the whole disconnecting thing…. you don’t know when you’ll find gas next, let alone a grocery store. As I write this, we haven’t seen a grocery store or any form of one in the last 600 km, instead we’ve seen “servos” aka gas stations, which offer some potato chips and meat pies….yumm;) You cook in the van, sleep in the van, laugh, argue, plan, debate and decide in the van. The van is your home, your house on wheels and it’s honestly so fun. We can decide where to go and when to go. If we don’t like it we change it. It is hands down one of the most adventurous ways to travel.

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Sunsets in the outback from our van

 

Continue reading “What Van Life Means to Us”

Thanksgiving Already?

Thanksgiving Already?

   I LOVE Thanksgiving. Like absolutely adore it. It’s my second favourite holiday besides Christmas….obviously. Being away for Thanksgiving issss weird. I love autumn!! The cool crisp air, the pumpkins, raspberry and ruburb pies, homemade soups, Sunday family roasts and yummy squash, movie nights, long, cool walks, watching the leaves change colour, carving pumpkins, the potential to still enjoy patio weather, the warm fire nights creeping in and bringing out all the knits, uggs and beanies. Thanksgiving is such a homey, happy feel. I mean… blankets, books, cool cottage weekends, baileys and coffee on the deck, warm cider, mulled wine…I’m in. It definitely creates some nostalgia of university when everyone would come home for the long weekend and reunite in our little town at either the local bar or someone’s house on the Friday night of Thanksgiving. Throw in a little Friendsgiving, and family celebrations, you have a food and fun filled, thankful weekend. I love having everyone together and I love hosting Friendsgiving. Originally I was planning on being home in October just in time for Thanksgiving, but as life goes, that changed. So, it is a little strange not being in the Oaks for Thanksgiving. Okay more than a little. 

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My second favourite holiday 
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Friendsgiving

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Already?”

Thomas & Court’s Van Life Part 2

Thomas & Court’s Van Life Part 2

Taking the East Coast One Dominos at a time

Hi beautifuls,

Part 2 of Thomas & Court’s Van Life coming atcha. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1…it was pretty epic. Yes we continued to eat $6.00 value pizzas from Dominos all the way down the East Coast, and yes the clothes continued to get tighhhhhtt.  

Once we left the magic of the Whitsundays we made our way down to the Sunshine Coast. Our first stop was Noosa. Noosa was adorable. It’s a mix of luxury, upscale boutiques and restaurants, with a splash of that laidback surf and beach town vibe. Whether you are there looking to eat and shop at the most expensive places, or looking to camp, hike, enjoy the farmers market, laze on the beach and enjoy some beer, this is your place. Noosa is a popular holiday destination with locals and internationals. Hastings street is where you’ll find the boutiques, beach access, cafes, restaurants and basically all the “happening” things. We stayed at a camp site on the water and it was beautiful. Our few days there included cafes, hiking the National Park Coastal Track and feeling the vibes. The Coastal Track at Noosa Heads is a must do if your in this area. There are several secluded beaches in the national park such as Tea Tree Bay, Winch Cove and Granite Bay that are stunning swimming spots. And you can’t miss the spectacular scenery at the Boiling Point and Hells Gates lookout. Noosa really reminded me of a mini Florida vacation, and I couldn’t help but continuously think “my family would love this spot”. Noosa is not to be missed. Sea, sand and sunshine best describe this beautiful beachy town.

Continue reading “Thomas & Court’s Van Life Part 2”