My poor long lost blog. How I have neglected you. All my empty promises to try harder to post more have been unsuccessful and a little thing called life keeps getting in the way… However, I am currently sat on a Greyhound bus, 6 hours into a 16 hour coach journey and I couldn’t think of a better time to write a post. I’m looking forward to catching you up on what I’ve been up to including my trips to Dublin, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and maybe I’ll even get round to finishing my posts on India and Bali from last year (oops). However, if you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t follow me you can follow me @stephaniezoerogers) you will know that I am currently in Canada!
Canada has been a lot of firsts for me, my first trip as a graduate, my first trip to the mountains, my first trip with only hand luggage to a cold(er) country and most significantly, my first trip as a solo traveller. However, this trip wasn’t meant to be solo, in fact I had originally booked my flights back in January with Alice, my best friend from university. We had found amazingly cheap(ish) flights; £310 for a direct return, a price that neither of us could say no to, especially considering that our student loans were sitting pretty and untouched in our bank accounts. We later discovered that the problem with booking flights 9 months in advance means that circumstances can change pretty drastically. Once those student loans had disappeared on books, rent and food, Alice found herself lacking funds, particularly because she had booked onto a ski season in November. After a teary and long FaceTime attempting to find ways round money, it was decided that I would go to Canada solo. Gulp.
I was also short on the cash but considering this was the only ‘big’ trip I had planned for the year, I was adamant that it would work. I finally resolved my money issues by deciding to volunteer on a ranch for two weeks at the beginning of my trip. I ended up at Wild Horse Ranch, a mountain camp situated 45 minutes away from Red Deer and 20 minutes away from Rocky Mountain House. I won’t lie; I’d love to say that every minute I spent at the ranch was a dream come true and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my valuable travel time but shovelling poo was probably the highlight of my working day. Our work mainly consisted of cleaning and other mundane tasks but the un-fun work was outweighed by the riding we got to do almost everyday. Even though the work wasn’t fun, I’m glad that I went and I would probably go again because of the incredible people and horses I met. And at the end of the day, how many people can say that they worked on a ranch in Canada!?
More detailed posts to come but so far Canada has been amazing and being by myself means I’ve probably made more friends here in the past 6 weeks than my entire time at university (yeah I know I did uni wrong, I actually went there to study and who does that nowadays?!). When I list off the places I’ve visited, it doesn’t sound like I’ve really been anywhere, especially within a month, but it’s easy to forget how big Canada actually is (hello second biggest country in the world). When discussing Canada with one of the owners of the ranch he said “what I love about Canada is there are still places you can find that no one has ever been before. It’s like Star Trek!” I think this quotation evidences how vast Canada is, people have lived in Canada for 12000 years and yet there are still places to discover. Pretty nuts if you ask me. Whilst I like to think that I have travelled a fair amount, especially for my age, I don’t think anywhere has taken my breath away like the beauty of Canada has and I’m so excited to share the rest of my trip with you!