Pretty much the entirety of my adult life has been spent in university. I tended the University of Lethbridge for four years. In 2009 I did a month long road trip (including a cruise and Disney World) of the Eastern United States. In 2010 I participated in International Student Volunteers (ISV) where I did conservation work in Ecuador. I earned by Bachelor of Arts in History in 2012. Four months later I moved to Surbiton Surrey in the UK to do my Masters at Kingston University in Heritage (Contemporary Practice). During my year there I did a fair amount of travelling around England. In hindsight, I realize I wasted a lot of time on mundane things rather than taking full advantage of the opportunity I had to travel. I went to Berlin for a week for a study trip with some classmates and professor which wasn’t actually till I’d been in the UK for 8 months so really a rather delayed visit to the continent. A month later my mom came to visit and we did a scenic tour through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, (a pit stop in Italy) and France. Most of the summer was spent researching and writing my dissertation, however, I did get a brief visit from a friend I went to ULeth with and we did a spot light tour of the UK including my only visits to wales, Ireland, and Scotland (see what I mean wasted opportunities).
The real excitement came as a consequence of that trip with my friend. We had not even made it to the second stop when we devised the plan for after my degree. Most of my international classmates were planning to rent apartments for the remainder of their visas and attempt to find a job (a nearly impossible task given all the requirements and lack of opportunities in our fields). I weighed my options: spend countless dollars renting/living hoping to find a job, or head back to Canada. I didn’t really like either option so I decided to take what money I had left. And backpack till it ran out. I left London the day I handed in my dissertation and travelled through 27 cities in 19 countries. Two months later and an amazing adventure later I headed home. For what I thought was going to be a temporary visit, recuperate the funds and head out on a new adventure presumably something along the lines of starting a career. Boy did that not happen.
I currently work at my local gun store, which is in no way related to my actual field of study nor can I in any way construe it to look relevant on my resume. I grew up shooting there and am an active member of one of the clubs at the range and coach the junior shooters program. While it is an enjoyable job and my coworkers are rather entertaining it is ultimately a dead end job. In the past year (ish) since I came home, I have accomplished very little. I bought my first car (which I will now have to sell), attended Fan Expo in Toronto, went to my friend’s wedding, and travelled to Disney world were two of my friends got engaged. At my work Christmas party, my boss’s wife made reference to attending a dealer show (NEXT YEAR) which made me realize: If I don’t do something I really will end up in the exact same place next year. While I don’t mean offence to my current employer or coworkers but wow did I not like the idea of spending another year achieving nothing and essentially wasting time till something comes along. So for short term action, I enrolled a couple classes at my local university. So I now attend two classes each week (history and art history). While I do not intend to complete a degree (although I do have a random spattering of courses accumulated over years as transfer credits) I do enjoy the classes.
To get a job in my field in the UK is like doing acrobatics through rings on fire (no simple hoop jumping here). So I have conceded that a career is not in my immediate future. But for now, I am entirely ok with that. You see, I have realized that once I get a job it will most likely become a career soon followed by a house and million other reasons why I can’t just take off and travel. A thought which doesn’t settle well with me. Given that I have nothing tying me down (no house no career) what reason do I have not to travel? None. Thus began the saving of funds. Despite it being surprisingly cheap to travel (once you get to Europe) I still intend to have as much money as humanly (ok girly, because let’s face it we tend to spend a lot of money kind of unnecessarily) possible. Currently, the only thing holding me back is fear. Not of moving, or travelling, rather my boss, while I very nice man, is rather intimidating and I’m not sure how to broach the subject, other than “so I’m leaving” which let’s face it is rather tactless unless you intend to entirely burn that bridge. I originally thought of moving at the end of June but because of obligations as a coach, I realize it would be better to leave mid to end of summer. Over the past year, I have convinced the club to reintroduce the competitions for the juniors and attend the provincial games (which we regularly did when I was a junior). In order to do so they will need to train during the summer, something I should stay and help with. But ultimately it gives me more time to save money (despite causing delay).
In the past few months I have been researching the ‘working holiday visa,’ this won’t be the first time I have moved so far from home but it will still be a new experience. And this time I thought I would actively (probably wishful thinking) document the whole thing. Hope you enjoy the ride. I first came across this type of visa while researching working visas for the UK (which is where I actually want to end up). For now, I am perfectly content with the notion of embarking on working holiday visas all around the world. While it does sound rather fanciful and at times a bit ridiculous; what’s to stop anyone from doing it? Given that you are expected to work while in the country, money is not a major obstacle as it would be for conventional Round the world trips.
While working holiday visas can be applied for individually there are organisations which will assist in your visas applications, help you find living and working arrangements, help you with taxes and provide assistance throughout your stay (or so it’s advertised). The Canadian government has acknowledged two companies: SWAP, and Go International. While I have lived in the UK before, it is rather appealing to have that extra bit of help, especially with taxes (let’s face it I have no clue how to do them in Canada let alone internationally).
- pick a program and register
- tell my boss I’ll be leaving
- Decide when to go and commit.