I'm the girl who scrapes her pennies together until she has enough money in her adventure savings jar to buy a plane ticket and then just figure it out when she gets there.

I believe that travel is an incredible form of education.  There is nothing that can replace the memories, feelings, relationships and experiences that you soak in when you're in a foreign place and just have to put yourself out there.  It's become quite the addiction for me.  After my first trip backpacking and camping in Southern Africa when I was 18, I came home with this new outlook of what I was "supposed to do".  Why would I want to sit in a classroom learning about things that I wasn't even sure I wanted to learn about?  So I set a goal to fuel my new addiction: travel to 30 countries before I turned 30.  

8 years later, I've hit my goal.  Conveniently enough I've been working in the travel industry for those years which allowed me to take more adventures, work and backpack through different countries, meet new people, constantly challenge myself & take me out of my comfort zone.   

A few months ago, after returning from 3 months of travelling through Asia, I made the decision to move from Toronto to Vancouver, Canada. I had been working with an amazing travel company, Beach Travellers, and decided to take on a full time opportunity with the company out west. We're talking about comparing a concrete jungle where it just felt like everyone works with their head down and then spends their money on partying, to coming out to a place where I walk out of my house, smell fresh air and look at ocean and snow-capped mountains all day.  I genuinely wake up every morning and appreciate what I'm looking out at and the lifestyle that people live out here.  This seemed like an obvious choice for me.  I would get to discover an entirely new part of the country I live in and follow a career path that was clearly so meant for me.

Last weekend, I took a trip to Vancouver Island to check out Tofino.  The weekend was amazing.  Driving on winding roads through mountains and oceans, seeing massive trees that were some of the oldest in North America, surfing, watching out for wildlife like whales and bears, camping out in national parks and seeing so many stars and the streak of the milky general just being a tourist in my own backyard.

What I also realized from my trip to Tofino, and just getting a taste of out west in general, is that I barely knew my own country.  I've seen 29 other countries in this world, but the one country I've spent most of my life in - I've yet to barely explore.  I've taken for granted that I live in a place that offers some of the most beautiful landscapes and sights in this world. Most of all, it made me grateful and proud to call this place my home.  Seeing new cities in Canada was just as fulfilling of an experience for me.  I had to drive a few hours to see things that I thought I had to take 16 hour plane rides across continents to experience. 

You don't have to travel far from home to travel.

- Ally

Ally PintucciComment