Part 1: How this all came to be
I’ve always loved travelling, since I was a little girl I swear I’ve had the “travel bug”. Obviously, the love and need for travelling doesn’t come from anywhere. My family travelled quite a bit, from skiing in the Rocky Mountains to escaping the Canadian winters for a Caribbean vacation or road tripping to Florida annually, traveling was always a huge priority. I think the adventure that really did it for me was the summer between 5th and 6th grade, when my parents decided that we were embarking on a 6-week road trip…in an RV. It was always my dads dream to travel the West Coast of the U.S and Canada in an RV, so when the stars aligned, my dad jumped on the opportunity to make this dream a reality. When July rolled around we packed up our newly purchased RV, loaded up the dog and we were off. Those 6 weeks will always hold a very special place in my heart. The memories and experiences that came from that adventure really sparked my obsession with travel and experiencing everything the world has to offer. A little overview of where our adventure took us: Ontario-> Illinois-> Iowa-> Nebraska-> Wyoming-> Utah-> Nevada -> California-> Oregon-> Washington-> British Columbia-> Alberta-> Saskatchewan-> Manitoba->Ontario. 9 States, 5 Provinces, 9024 kilometers, 43 days, countless lookouts, too many cities, thousands of laughs. Waking up each morning, my mom would jump in the passenger seat with the biggest map I have ever seen (and by map I mean a real map, this was well before Google Maps and smartphones, so mapping your route took a little more work than just typing in your destination from your current location LOLz). My dad would jump into the drivers seat with his coffee, ready for a big day of driving. This adventure was a big change from our normal routine, which consisted of soccer practices, hockey try outs, baton competitions, summer BBQs and meant leaving our cottage for the summer, which is where we basically spend our summers (and still do). It amazes me that my parents took this leap of faith….well I think my dad pretty much shoved my mom in the RV against her own will. She loves her home, her routine, and enjoys taking trips…but 6 weeks in an RV with the entire family and basically still having to do her normal home routine on the move…yup not her ideal vacation. I could go on forever about this trip but my point is, my love of travelling and exploring is in my bones.
After my University graduation, the Fantin’s embarked on a 14 day “Taste of Italy” trip, as my dad would title it and then fast forward 7 months and we were in Hawaii celebrating 25 years of marriage for my parents! A couple of girls trips out West, a road trip with my boyfriend out East, I can confidently say I have seen a lot of my country and I am so proud to call Canada home.
In high school, the hot topic of conversations consisted of where to go to university, what to study, what careers do we want, will it provide the lifestyle we want, etc. These conversations repeated themselves in one way or another at least weekly. I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I could talk and I knew I wanted to travel at a very young age. These were my main goals. Everything I did, every job I had and every all nighter I pulled was to accomplish these two goals. So, I opted out of the residence experience at university and lived at home, trying to balance the university experience with the “well now what do I realistically want to do after university”? I worked 2-3 jobs throughout university, and fast tracked two degrees. I swear one of my favourite pastimes and escapes from the go go go of working while studying was researching trips, adventures and creating these plans that I knew one day I would tackle. Of course, I enjoyed my 4 years of university fun….sometimes a little too much and spent many weekends driving to my friends Universities to party. If you are reading this and are currently in university or going to, embrace it and enjoy. Time flies.
In my final year of University, I was well aware of the job market for teachers in Ontario. I knew it was very unlikely to get a job right away and heck, I wasn’t even ready for my own classroom anyways. I attended the International Teaching Fair and ta da HERE WE ARE! Well…it wasn’t that easy. I was overwhelmed with offers! From having my own class in either Dubai or parts of Europe, teaching anywhere I pleased throughout England and even in the Northern Territories of Canada, the options were overwhelming, but one stuck out like a sore thumb… Australia, The Land Down Under. I was blown away….finally, my two goals were going to become a reality. I was graduating in a few months, becoming a teacher and was able to combine both my goals…travel and teach! After some discussion and reflection, I knew teaching in Australia was what was meant for me at this point in my life. Having the flexibility that comes with supply teaching was critical, as I would be able to earn money, gain valuable experience and travel at my leisure. Sounded pretty amazing and exactly what I was looking for. Considering I finished university and my bachelor of education a year earlier then my peers, I knew I wanted to take this year that “would have been my final year of university” to travel, before starting my career back home. My intended date of departure on this Australian adventure was August 2015. I bet you already guessed that that didn’t happen, because well, as life has its way of providing you with opportunities when they are meant to be, I was selected to work with multiple school boards at home in Ontario. I was thrilled, shocked, scared and unsure all at once. I was so happy and excited, yet couldn’t help but think…what about Australia? “I’m not ready to give up that dream.”
Part 2 coming soon,