10 March 2013
I never really knew how this would feel… coming home. After 23 months of living in Canada and travelling to various places in between, it was finally time. When we had started out on the 12 April 2011 we had no idea how long we would stay away for. Our Canadian Working Visas were for 2 years but that’s the only limitation we had. It would all depend on work, money, missing home, if we got sick of each other, how we handled the winter… etc etc. We thought we’d try for a year at least.
So, almost 2 years went by. It was the adventure of a lifetime! We made it work somehow, moved cities once we were ready for something new, and always did what felt right at the time. We never really had a plan. We only started out living in Whistler because our friends Patricia and Conrad were there and helped us get started (something i’m seriously grateful for). We stayed there for 3 months. Some days were tough when we hated our jobs, or we couldn’t get a job at all. Those times were hard. But those times were balanced out by finding AWESOME jobs in Vancouver and we moved so that Rohan could work at a Uni (and we could save a little) and I eventually found work at ABC Photo (the best prolab job i’ve EVER had!). We felt settled there, working with good people, and living in a great part of East Van in our little basement home. We thought we could keep at this forever. I’d travel to Whister on weekends to snowboard with Pattie. Rohan and I would eat out a lot, explore, go to shows, take road trips, and ride our bikes… ALOT. The mountains were surrounding us. Nature took over as soon as you left the city limits. Life was good. I loved that city. We stayed for 9 months, but the travel urge called again. Rohan had been insistent on living in Montreal on the East Coast of Canada since the beginning, but it was only in the end that we moved there. We moved there in Winter. Was that a stupid idea? Maybe. Luckily my long lost second cousins were living there and helped us out for the first week while we found a home (thank you Leanne and James!). We found work in the French speaking provence (even though it was VERY basic work and minimum wage) and we lived in the best part of Montreal… the Plateau. There was a grocery store and cafes/bars on our doorstep, public transport was super easy and there was snow everywhere. EVERYWHERE! It was magical. There was always something happening, bands playing and winter festivals, even mid week in the middle of winter. It was definitely our scene. If only we had more time… our visas were nearing the end. We’d covered a lot of ground and were content with how much we’d seen in such a short time living abroad.
Our timeline went something like this…
Travel 2.5 months – Chile / Peru / Bolivia / Brazil / Colombia
Live / Work 3 months – Whistler
Travel 6 weeks – USA
Live / Work 9 months – Vancouver
Travel 2.5 months – Scotland / Italy / Greece / Turkey
Live / Work 3 months – Montreal
Travel 5 weeks – Singapore / Malaysia / Indonesia
We planned our trip home without telling anyone, and wanted to surprise our friends and family so we gave them a fake date a month later than we’d planned to arrive. Only my brother knew because we needed him to pick us up from the airport. We planned to arrive at our family home and surprise my parents on my mother’s birthday at 11pm at night! Was that mean? …and then to keep surprising friends and family over the next few days. I had photos prepared so that I could keep posting to Facebook and people would think we were still away. I turned off my location on my iPhone. We covered all bases.
There we sat on our flight home, a weird mix of excitement and sadness knowing that this chapter of our incredible journey was near the end. Who knew what would come of it and what was in store for the future. We were coming back to our loved ones, that was one thing for sure. Brisbane is our home. Home is where all the people that matter the most are, and we were about to go and and just knock on their doors.
We still can’t really believe how lucky we were to have had this opportunity. We made sacrifices and lived very basic lives in order to have this adventure together. We have this now to look back on and with it, great stories to tell.
Here’s to the memories.