What I Loved Most In 2017
It’s my favourite time of year! Time for new beginnings, new promises, and lots and lots of lists! Literally. It’s an entire holiday where you get fireworks for making a to-do list that’s rarely completed! It’s the best! Like every year, 2017 had its ups and downs. I graduated university; Trump celebrated his first year in office.
Low balls aside (sorry not sorry for that double entendre), this year was full of changes– I graduated university, I had an article published on a national platform, and I moved across the world to Australia! Going into 2017 last year, I definitely didn’t anticipate the amount of travel I did this year. And I’m so glad I was able to share it with the 30,000 of you who visited my site this year! I’m still awe-struck at how many of you read my blog in 2017. Thank you so much for coming along with me on my adventures! I can’t wait to share with you my plans for 2018!!
What I Loved Most in 2017: A Year in Review
The entirety of my holiday break back in my hometown, Edmonton, was spent scouring international news. I bought countless political magazines that focused on European relations, and even read most of my brother’s book about ISIL to better understand the dynamics of terrorist organizations.
So in case you were wondering why I started my year reading up on the atrocity that was 2016, it was in preparation for an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). I had applied for the CBC’s UK bureau research assistant position in mid-December and was offered an interview. A short chat about my experience and where I could stay in London later, I had the internship! In less than a month, I would be flying over to Europe to complete my mandatory 6-week internship for my final semester at Ryerson School of Journalism.
Somehow I managed to pack 6 weeks worth of work and casual clothes into one suitcase and sooner than I knew it I was across the pond! My boyfriend and I landed in London, where we promptly dropped off our luggage at the international student housing I would be living in, packed a small bag and hurried back to the airport. As it turned out, we missed our flight to Vienna, Austria. But we caught one the very next day to visit my cousin and his wife who had lived in the city for a few years.
We spent our week in Vienna catching up with my relatives, eating incredible gluten-free and vegan food, and exploring one of Europe’s most beautiful cities! I loved walking around the Ringstrasse and seeing where Marie-Antoinette grew up at the Schoenbrunn Palace! The city is truly straight out of a fairy tale, complete with formal balls and incredible classical music!
After our week in Vienna, my boyfriend joined me in London for a week before heading back to Toronto. I had a couple of days before starting my internship, so we explored some of London’s lesser-known neighbourhoods, some museums, markets and all of the tourist attractions. Shortly after he left, I roomed with (now) one of my best friends, and we galavanted our way through London’s theatre, art and
pub culture scene! After work, of course.
I spent the entire month of March in the UK– mainly in London, but also a day in Brighton, and another day visiting a different cousin and his wife in Cambridge. March was one of the best months in 2017 for me because I got into a great routine! From 10 am–6 pm, I was researching upcoming projects for the CBC. It was such a rewarding experience working with some of the top names in journalism, and with the generous and kind people at the bureau! Through them, I got a great look into how breaking news happens, and what to expect working in a foreign bureau.
After work, my roommate and I would go to comedy clubs and theatre performances, or I’d go out for dinner with my friend Sophie, who was finishing up school in London, or work friends. On the weekends, I spent the day exploring either a museum or a market with my roommate if we were in London. In the evening, I would go out to work drinks or out dancing with the roomie. Life was great, and I met and got to know a lot of people when I was in London!
Although it was a few months ago, I’m still planning to put together a guide to interning abroad and write more about my experience in the New Year. So stay tuned for that!
I really wasn’t ready to leave London when I did, and April was definitely the hardest month for me in 2017. When I got home to Toronto, I caught a bad cold that lasted close to two weeks. I also found out that friends I had throughout my four years at Ryerson weren’t actually my friends, which was incredibly hard to process and I found that most of April was a write-off.
But there were a couple of good things that came out of April: I was able to work with my first company as a blogger; I finally finished university after 5 years; I found a part-time job where I made some great friends over the summer months in Toronto; and I had an article published by the CBC!! (Arguably my biggest accomplishment this year!)
May & June
The next two months were truly a blur. I mostly worked, made new friends, and visited with old friends! I spent May and June recovering financially, mentally and physically. It was definitely much needed after a busy semester.
In June, I graduated from Ryerson’s School of Journalism after four years in Toronto. Where I once played tourist in a new city was now my home. And I was ecstatic to finally be done school after spending 5 years of my adult life in university!
Once my parents left Toronto, I went to Montreal to visit my brother who was there for 5 weeks as part of a university-level French course. I took two overnight buses in between my work days to squeeze this trip in before he returned to Alberta, but it was worth it! I was able to see one of my good friends from university, and I spent most of my day exploring one of my favourite Canadian cities- Montreal! My brother would be in class during part of the day, but he showed me around as much as he could. And I now have some of my all-time favourite stories from that trip thanks to his crazy roommates!
As a graduation present, my boyfriend and I decided to have one last hoorah in New York City. We both knew that it would likely be our last time visiting one of our favourite cities in the world before heading onto our next adventure. This was my fourth time visiting NYC, and we didn’t have anything planned.
Funnily enough, we ran into my boyfriend’s friends and spent the week hanging out with them! From comedy shows to sightseeing our favourite landmarks and spending ample time in Central Park, it was a relaxing trip to the Big Apple. (Something I never thought I’d say!) Plus, I finally got to meet my friend Sierra, aka Passport Voyager, whom I collaborated with on a blog post earlier this year. We explored a new corner of Manhattan I had never been to before and got caught up on life! She’s one of those people who you’re instantly best friends with, and I can’t wait to see where we meet up again!
August & September
August was a bit of a whirlwind. In the four days leading up to my birthday, my boyfriend had come across a job opportunity back home in Sydney, Australia. I had never been to the Southern Hemisphere, and as this was something we had talked about most of our relationship, I began looking into visa options for Australia. The next day, I applied for a working-holiday visa, which seemed like the best option for me. My visa was approved in 2 hours, and the next day we had our apartment!
The remainder of the month I spent sorting my life into four piles: Donation, sell, send home, and bring to Australia.
The madness of August continued through September, as our lease was up on October 1st. Somehow I managed to condense my life into three boxes I sent home, and two fully-stuffed suitcases that I would bring along with me to Australia at the end of October. I said my goodbyes to my Toronto friends and my Toronto apartment, and left the city I called home for the last four years.
Before jetting off to Australia, my boyfriend and I went home to visit my family in Alberta, Canada and for a little road trip to British Columbia. We decided it would be best to do the road trip at the beginning of the month to avoid the possibility of snow through the Canadian Rockies. After a mild hitch in our plans, we began our road trip to Victoria, Comox Valley and Vancouver before returning back home to Edmonton.
Although it was a long road trip (16 hours to Victoria alone!), it was definitely a relaxing and much-needed trip. I definitely got my fill of Canadian nature and wildlife before we headed back to Edmonton for the remaining two weeks of October.
The remainder of the month in Edmonton was spent visiting family and friends in the Alberta capitol and in Calgary. Thankfully, it was around the same time as fall reading week, so I was able to see many of my friends who were still in university. I was also able to meet my cousin’s daughter who was about a month old. It’s sort of become a new tradition in my family where after Christmas dinner, you sneak off for a nap on the couch with one of the cousin’s babies. And it was nice to get a Christmas snuggle in early before tapping my heels and landing in Oz.
In November, I finally learned how to time travel. My flight took off on November 1 from Edmonton, somehow we skipped November 2nd entirely and landed in Sydney at 7 am on November 3rd! And now with an 18-hour time difference from home, I’m calling friends and family from the future, and I’m talking to the past.
All jokes aside, my boyfriend and I got settled into our new house very easily. And we spent the first two weeks of November exploring Sydney, meeting his family for the first time, and becoming acquainted with the beach life! Thankfully, I already had a friend living in Sydney and I met a number of ex-pats through him. I was also invited to a blogger event through my friend Jen, who runs Better Blogger. I’m so glad she reached out to me, as many of the people I met that night are now my friends!
At this stage, I was still looking for full-time work, but Sydney competition is tough! So instead of stressing myself out with just doing job applications, I decided to do those job applications at the beach, where I wasn’t missing out too much on the beautiful weather.
I finally found part-time work in mid-December, which was a huge stress relief. It was also the first time in three months that I actually had time to myself, and I took full advantage of it! It was the most posts I’ve ever written in a month (six posts in 30 days)! I also had the time to finally put together some projects that I’m excited to release in the New Year, which may or may not include more videos on my YouTube channel! I have an exciting announcement coming your way about that later this week, so be sure to subscribe and hit the little bell to see what I’ve been working on this month!
Apart from blogging, I also spent a lot of time with new friends and my boyfriend’s family over the holidays. We went for a hike on Christmas Eve in Bouddi National Park. And I surprised everyone (including myself) by swimming in the ocean, which I’ve never done before due to my irrational fear of everything under the sea. I even swam in the ocean again near Manly Wharf when I came back to Sydney! Looks like the tides have changed!
What were some of your highlights from 2017? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for joining me on my adventures this year!! I can’t wait to share my upcoming project with you in the next couple of weeks! Happy New Year everyone!
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