..."from a small town in rural NB" hehee (well, it's true).
It honestly started as a kid, I have no doubts. Mom and I would spend hours lying on our backs in the grass, sky gazing in the heat of summer afternoons. Allowing our imagination to tell us what character formations the clouds created. The occasional plane would fly over leaving a trail of 'cloud' behind it (so this is where clouds come from). "Where's it going"? Never having to leave the front lawn, we'd know where it was going, how many people and when it was coming back. ;)
My first plane trip didn't happen until my best friend's wedding during my University days. I didn't fly far ... Fredericton to Halifax (about 400 km's), but it was just enough to eliminate any fear I might have of flying. I LOVED IT. So I made that trip at least twice more (why drive 4 hours when you can fly in 45 minutes). Thanks Shannon.
Then I did some 'grown up' things. Finished my degree, accepted a permanent job, fell in love, settled down. Vacations consisted of new doors, fences, landscape projects with the occasional road trip to the nearest Province for an overnight stay, just to 'get away'. I enjoyed every second of this decade (or so). When things didn't work out in some of those aspects, it was my cousin (a travel agent) looking for a travel companion to Boston, a Justin Timberlake concert and an opportunity for five days of exploration in Beantown, that lit this desire of mine to 'go-see-do'. (Thank you Quinn).
From there, one trip led to another really. Boston, then Dominican. While in Dominican I met these wonderful gals from Newfoundland. One in particular, Stephanie, ended our week long Dominican party with an invitation to visit her in her hometown. In August that year, I showed up for that visit (like you're surprised). I was immersed in genuine hospitality, incredible good times and local traditions. And because so, since that visit some 4 years ago, I now try to take a holiday on the Rock at least once annually to visit Stephanie (my best friend) and her/my family and friends who live there.
The idea of visiting overseas entered my holiday agenda (oh dear, it was just a matter of time really), so I thought that I best pick up a part time job (giving myself a solid year to save and plan). And then a strange set of events took place... there was an opening for a job at the gas station where I used to work at while in University. Some ten years after leaving there, I was back behind the counter! Work-play-work...then Cuba, Newfoundland... more work-play-work... then Newfoundland again before jetting off to Sosua, Dominican Republic (oh the friends and the stories from this trip ... unbelievable) and before I made concrete plans on my own for my trip to Ireland in 2009, an invite to join 3 others and explore Italy, Spain, Greece and Croatia came about (thanks Lyanne). ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
It gets better. While on the cruise ship, another coincidential occurrence, our dinner table consisted of the four of us from Canada and 2 fabulous couples from Ireland (now what are the chances). Ironically, even though things hadn't worked out and I wasn't in Ireland this day/month/year, I instead made fabulous new friends of whom now I can't wait to reunite with. Then back to Newfoundland a second time that year (after sharing Fredericton's Harvest Jazz and Blues festival with my NL pals here) for Halloween. What a party! Costume upon costume for four days lol. Fun.
About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to try serving at a restaurant. After applying at a few places, a local Greek establishment took me on. Unable to give up my hours at the gas station (because I thoroughly enjoy the staff and customers there) I now work all 3 jobs (OMG). I won't say that it hasn't impacted my social life where I live but not on any large scale, I'm still fortunate enough to visit with my wonderful friends here, make road trips to spend time with the fam and dig out my dancing shoes from time to time.
In 2010, I visited Newfoundland, Boston and of all places... Costa Rica. Not kidding. A high school pal had moved there some 11 years before and made roots there. Having lost touch until the days of facebook, I learned that a couple other classmates were thinking of making the journey. Of course I wanted to go! What a reunion and what a great destination to have it in. So aside from my visits to NL, I had never travelled to live off resort or not in a hotel before, while on vacation. Kristie knew the culture, the people, the language. What an experience, one to which I will forever be grateful for. Amazing.
From the official creation year of Holiday Heidi (2007), I've lost a few good ones (RIP, I will forever miss and love you), life hasn't always been fair (it's not all the time) and I pinch myself in disbelief from time to time to make sure all the wonderful opportunities and people ARE really in my life (so lucky). I've been surrounded by good family - good friends - good times to which I am beyond grateful, and have learned to appreciate every experience for what it is and the lessons it provides me (each one with an opportunity for growth).
When it comes to travel: the more I go, the less I know (Michael Franti and the Spearheads sing in best in their song "Say Hey"). What a nice feeling. It's what I love. I physically sweat when I hear of a deal to a destination lol. I'd work a fourth job, if it meant I'd have enough money and time off to travel 6-10 weeks per year. I live for vacation countdowns. I can't wait to go make new friends and bring my old pals along with me (physically or 'in my pocket'). Having just returned from a visit to the Middle East (to visit my best friend Stephanie, crazy I know) and now making travel plans to explore my heritage while reuniting with my Irish friends from the cruise of '09, what better time to start a blog.
So if you're ready, I think I am.
"for your safety, please stay seated until the seatbelt sign as been turned off" ;)