“Not all those who wander are lost.”

I’m a contemplater, which means I often get really philosophical about life and simple realizations tend to blow my mind. I turned 24 on Saturday, and leading up to my birthday I was bombarded with feelings of awe and wonderment at life.

I had a moment of clarity while thinking about where I was a year ago and how I thought the next year of my life would look at the time. On my 23rd birthday I was living in Armstrong, BC, having just left Australia suddenly, and I had my first shift at a job that I quickly learned to hate. My “plan” was to live in Canada for three

My good friend Candice and I at Lake Louise last summer.
My good friend Candice and I at Lake Louise last summer.
I’m sure Banff is one of the most beautiful places I’ll ever see.

months while waiting for my new Australian visa to be approved then catch the first plane back to sunny Queensland. I never could’ve predicted what was in store for me, and in hindsight I’ve realized that life is truly what you make of it. I chose BC rather than move back to Ontario partially because I didn’t want to settle in too much and uproot my life and my relationships when I left Canada “in three months”. Eight months later, my current relationships deepened, I started a brand new, sure to be life long friendship, I was stunned daily by the glorious mountains surrounding me, and I discovered new passions. What started as a transition stage of life turned into a major chapter, a chapter where I learned to be more open minded, that I love to cook with alternative food, and that I’m obsessed with mountains. Most importantly, I learned to never sit still and let life pass you by. I learned to find something good about every day — whether it was going for a walk with my sister and brother in law, having a delicious coffee, reading a good book, waking up and seeing sunshine flood through the windows, or witnessing hoarfrost twinkle on the trees, there is always something good in every day. I had a regular customer at a restaurant that I worked at in Vernon, and without fail he would always say “every day is a good day, and some are better than others.” It’s those simple things that are what’s best about life.

Now I’m 24, I live in Ireland, and I have no idea where I’ll be in a year from now. It’s an exciting age, because I’m starting to figure out what kind of

Coffee time in Stockholm.
Coffee time in Stockholm.

person I want to be and what I want out of life, but I still have time to change my mind a whole lot. I could settle down at any time or I can keep globetrotting. I can party all night or I can stay home and read a book. I can wear my nose ring and still be taken seriously. I can dance like crazy or sip on wine while discussing philosophy and values. I’m finished my degree but could still get a Masters. The options or endless, and I’m so grateful.

I want to be the kind of person that follows through. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it. I said I wanted to move in October, so when I was offered a job in Dublin I did some research and applied for a visa after five days. I said I wanted to travel Europe this year, summer specifically, and I have flights booked to Edinburgh, Brussels, and Barcelona, and plans to see many more countries in the warmer months. I’ve been talking about getting a tattoo, so I went for it. I said I wanted to be settled in Dublin in a week — I did it in five days. I’ve found my favourite coffee shops. I’ve seen Irish countryside. I’ve had a pint of Guinness and different kinds of whiskey straight. I can sing along to a few token Irish tunes. I say “half three” instead of “three thirty”. I live in Ireland, and after having Australia snatched out from underneath me, I feel a sense of urgency to enjoy each day and every cultural experience. I can’t waste any time.

The world is at our finger tips and all I have to do is seize the good opportunities, have some music ready to make the soundtrack to my life, and bring a water bottle and maybe an apple or two. There are so many countries to explore, coffees to drink, songs to sing, and people to  learn from. I can’t wait. Life is thrilling and utterly unpredictable, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

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The amazing Wicklow Gap.

Coffee love in Gold Coast

Karen and I love coffee. It’s always such a joyous moment when we get coffee, so we decided to capture a little bit of that happiness on film. Yes, the emotions you will see in these pictures are real. We love coffee that much.

It all began the first time Karen and I hung out.  We got up at the early hour of 7am to travel to Coolangatta to watch the Quicksilver Surf Competition. After stumbling around half asleep, we made our way to the bus stop not knowing which bus to take and where Coolangatta was located. We asked the bus driver of the first bus we saw if we could get to the surf competition by taking that bus, and she informed us we could. We asked her what stop to get off at and she said “Twin Towns, right after New South Wales.” Not understanding her accent neither of knew she said “Twin Towns” but we did here the second part. Although this was when I first got to Australia and I didn’t know much about anything, I knew that New South Wales is a different state from Queensland.

Needless to say we were very confused and still didn’t know how we would know where to get off, and to make matters worse, I had to top up my Go Card and couldn’t find money. As I rummaged through my bag looking for cash, all of the contents of my purse crashed to the floor. My makeup compact smashed into pieces as the lady bus driver looked at us in disgust. Karen and I, still without coffee, looked at each other in slow motion and said a very unenthusiastic “oh.” After a solid four minutes from when we got on the bus we finally took our seats, leaving a trail of makeup behind us. An hour and a half later we passed a sign for New South Wales and went looking for the surf competition. We followed some guys with surf boards but were faced with a dilemma when they went in different directions. Eventually we managed to find the beach and followed a path. “So, those waves are tiny. Almost non-existent,” I said, “Maybe once we go around this corner they will be huge!” Karen replied. The waves did not get any bigger and we were informed that the competition was canceled. Everything was better as soon as we got our coffee.

Gloria Jeans, Coolangatta

This picture was taken right before we road tripped to Byron Bay. First Avenue is a cafe right in Surfers, and its coffee is really hit or miss. This wasn’t the best coffee we’ve ever had, but considering it was 9:00am, we were still thrilled just to have coffee.

First Avenue, Surfers Paradise Blvd

This coffee was from Max Brenner, which is essentially a chocolate heaven. Luba, Karen and I went out to Main Beach for a delicious steak meal which we followed up with dessert at Max Brenner. We had chocolate fondue, a huge waffle with ice cream, fruit, and chocolate drizzled all over, and a couple of decaf skinny lattes. Yes we are fully aware of the irony of drinking decaf skinny lattes after copious amounts of dessert.

Max Brenner, Main Beach

Yep, we love coffee that much.

in Gold Coast, Australia