Throwing Caution To The Wind

January of last year, a two and a half year relationship I was in ended. I hate break ups and it felt like my life was over. We were actually planning on moving to Canada and applying for the working holiday visa when the application process reopened for 2015. When the relationship ended, Canada was the last thing on my mind and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for moving abroad. I needed the support of my friends and family. To heal from the break-up I threw myself into online dating. I chatted to and met with some lovely guys.

Travel was a topic that popped up time and time again. The more we talked about travelling, the more I opened up to the idea of moving to Canada again. I even chatted to a few guys who were in stage one of the Canadian working holiday visa process. This made me feel slightly better about the decision I was trying to make. You see I was struggling with some thoughts. “What if I do meet someone and they can’t come with me? I don’t want my heart broken again. Is it fair to be looking for a relationship if I’m thinking of moving to Canada?” Can you tell I’m a worrier?

Travel is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to travel. Some want to travel long-term. Others want to travel for a year or two to get it out of their system. And then there are those of you who aren’t in a position to leave your job or take a sabbatical but still want to travel; travelling part-time is the only way to fulfill that need. So I needed to figure out the right way to travel for me.

I did end up meeting someone. I was smitten! He had travelled and I loved hearing his stories. Plus he wanted to travel more! The more I got to know him the more I realised how important family was to him. I couldn’t see him moving abroad for an extended period of time. He had some wonderful qualities so I was happy to compromise. Relationships are all about compromise, right? To make a long story short, after dating for about two months, he didn’t want to take the relationship any further.

I was disappointed but it made me reassess my priorities. It was now the beginning of August and my 30th birthday was fast approaching. Milestone birthdays always have a way of making you reflect on your life and I had been in denial for quite a while.

I wanted to travel but wasn’t willing to on my own. I couldn’t possibly travel or move abroad on my own. I’m not street smart enough. A school tour to Italy, the opportunity to perform in Germany and New York with a gospel choir I was in, a family event in London and birthday trip to Wales with my then boyfriend was the extent of my travels. I had stopped myself from travelling more because I had no one to travel with. It hit me that I would never travel anywhere if I waited for someone to travel with me. Finally being honest with myself was the catalyst and the kick up the backside I needed.

The museum I work in was due to close for the winter in November and I was starting to think about what I would do while I was off for six months. Why not go inter-railing? A month or two travelling through Europe would be heavenly! But Canada was still in my head. I was full sure I had missed out on applying for a working holiday visa to Canada for 2015, so I put that out of my head and would come back to it the following year. By a stroke of luck I chanced seeing an article on the Moving To Canada Facebook page. There were still working holiday visas available!

I thought I was seeing things and that the article was a joke. Previous years the visas had been snapped up in seconds. The only way to know for certain was to check the CIC website. Yup there were visas still available. Butterflies started forming at the thought of actually applying for a visa. Should I leave it for a few years and make small trips to different European countries to get used to travelling solo? Or should I just go for it and apply? I literally slept on it and the next morning I threw caution to the wind and I thought “just go for it, don’t stop yourself again from doing what you want.”

Roll on a few weeks to September 4th and I received an email from CIC. This was the moment of truth. Was my application successful? Would I be moving to Canada or not? Waiting for the email to open felt like forever. Could it be! Does it really say ‘application successful’? I thought I was seeing things. Shit just got real! I am going to be moving three and a half thousand miles away from everything and everyone I know and love. I am moving to a country where I don’t know anyone. Now it’s not like I haven’t moved to a place where I don’t know anyone before. However, this time I can’t hop on a bus or board a train and see my friends and family within a couple of hours.

So why Canada? Well being Irish I can live in any European country at any time but I have up until I’m 35 to be able to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada. What draws me to Canada is the scenery, the cultural and ethnic diversity, the work/life balance, the friendliness of its people and the outdoor lifestyle. So at the end of August I will be boarding a plane for my new life in Canada.

And the moral of the story is? Don’t stop yourself from travelling just because you don’t have anyone to travel with

Marteen x

Read all about how I threw caution to the wind and decided to move to Canada.

66 comments

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  1. Sophestry

    I’ve travelled with friends and solo and I’d say solo is better for longer periods of time whereas going with your friends is great for shorter holidays. Remember when you travel solo, especially if you stay in shared accommodation, you will meet and talk to people. You may not make friends for life, but unless you don’t want to and actively avoid it you will meet people, so you won’t be too lonely. When your planning your day alone you can do literally whatever you want, and spend your time exactly how you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      There are definitely pros to travelling solo and I know I’ll make friends. When you do something for the very first time it’s always daunting ☺

      Like

      • Theresa Gorman

        Hi Marteen. I have booked flights for a 2 week trip to Toronto at the end of June. I was meant to stay with friends but it may end up a solo trip now. So nervous. Never been but I’ve also applied for the working visa too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marteen Lane

        It is nerve wrecking going on your own but it gives you so much confidence. Oh were you invited to apply? Fingers crossed!

        Like

    • Marteen Lane

      I’ve always travelled in groups too but it was on a school tour or when I was in a choir. So that was easy. I sort of travelled solo last year for the first time. I went to London on my own but met with family. It’s silly to stop myself from travelling if I don’t have anyone to travel with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nycgingeronthego

    I’ve done some solo travel and I am anxiously trying to find a travel buddy for some beach vacations. I’ll bop around Europe alone for a few days of my 10 day trip this summer, but I am comforted knowing I have friends around to share some meals and excursions with. Once in awhile a solo trip is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Yeah it isn’t always easy finding a travel buddy. It’s good to know that you have some friends you can meet up with on your travels. I hope you enjoy your trip to Europe ☺

      Like

  3. annanowak11

    For the last year I have been traveling mostly with my boyfriend. I’ve noticed that we do not meet as many people as when I travel solo. We do not join as many groups, we tend to stay just two of us. I love sharing all the moments with him, but at times I miss broader experience of traveling and meeting people.
    http://www.postcardsfromtheworld.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura @ Grassroots Nomad

    I love solo travel, although I’ve realised I enjoy it a bit less the older I get. I have travelled to about 15 or 20 countries on my own and loved the freedom that it gives you. I’m working in Guatemala on my own now but sometimes things are tough. Looking forward to travelling with my partner again in about 4 months time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Marteen Lane

        How exciting! There are quite a few of us bloggers moving to Canada 😊 I hope the move will go smoothly for you both.

        Like

  5. Aparna

    I have never traveled solo – always with friends, and now with my husband. It is one of my travel goals for 2016 to do some solo travel though – even if it’s just a short weekend getaway! Looking forward to following along on your Canada adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Good for you Aparna! That’s what I did last year. I travelled to and from London on my own. I never flew on my own before. But stayed with family and spent a day on my own around London just to ease myself into solo travel. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t travelled solo 😊

      Like

  6. Patricia

    I have traveled solo, in a couple and with a group. Group traveling was the hardest because there always seems to be one dominant personality seems to make the trip all about what they want to see/do. I’ve loved traveling alone and with a partner. I moved to a different state (NY to California) without knowing anyone, so I figured traveling alone would be no big deal. It can be very therapeutic, and I find I do it when I need to refocus and rejuvenate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Haha yeah I’ve experienced that in groups. While I’m nervous I am looking forward to experiencing the pros of solo travel 😊

      Like

  7. Meg Runs the World

    Going on a solo trip is very high on my list of goals for the next year! I think it would be an entirely different kind of trip, especially when it comes to meeting fellow travelers and lcoals. I’m extremely shy, so traveling with my boyfriend or a friend has been a crutch that keeps me from having to start conversations with new people.

    I enjoyed reading your perspective on solo travel, and I’m excited to follow along with your adventures in Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Good for you Meg! The only chance I got to travel was on a school tour to Italy when I was 17; when the choir I was in was invited to perform in Germany and in NYC and to Wales with an ex for my birthday. So I never travelled solo.

      I have wonderful friends but they don’t have that same desire to travel or it’s not the right time. Last year I had enough, I booked myself a flight to London to meet with family and had a ball! It was my first time flying by myself 😊

      I understand what you mean as I’m quite shy too, which is strange to say as I’m a tour guide. Having other people with you on a trip does in a way stop you from starting conversations with others. Awww thank you 😊

      Like

  8. Stella @ Travelerette

    I only travel solo! I feel like I get much more out of a destination when I am on my own. When I’m with someone else, I concentrate much less on the museums and other sights because I’m more concentrated on the other person. Also I eat a lot more when I travel alone because I am trying to review as many places as possible. I’d be embarrassed for someone else to see how much I eat when I travel alone. 🙂

    Also, don’t worry because Canada is a great country for solo travel. Canadians are so friendly!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Saibh

    Great post. I want to go to Canada, badly. I have considered traveling alone and the more I think of it the more I think I can/will do it. Just 5 more years till that visas up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Thanks Saibh! 😊 I’ll fit you into my suitcase 😝 😂 Do it if that’s what you want, never hold yourself back like I did 😊 There are other visas for skilled workers and the age is past 35 but it depends if your skill is in demand. It was so cool to meet you on Sunday and the birthday bash! 😊

      Like

  10. Anne

    I’ve never travelled solo because I fear loneliness. I think it is wonderful that you stepped out and travelled solo. I’ve heard that the first step is the hardest, which is understandable because I can’t bring myself to hold myself to travelling solo. I would love to visit Canada too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      That’s understandable Anne, I do too to be honest but I’ve held myself back for far too long. I don’t know what to expect when I get over there but it’s going to be a great big adventure 😊

      Like

  11. Restless Heart

    That’s fantastic, good for you making that decision, I definitely held back from doing things or made plans based on being in a relationship before that I’ve regretted after when it became clear that that person wasn’t willing to do as much for me. Even though it broke my heart I also remember being relieved when things ended and I thought, ‘well now I can do this …’ I’ve kind of since devoted this year to do all the things I want to do. If you can be sure to visit Banff, Alberta and Newfoundland. I’ve been all over Canada and those are my favourite, most highly recommended spots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Awww thank you 😊 I never thought that I would have been that girl but I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Awww that’s tough when they’re not willing to put in the same effort. Good for you on taking this year to do all things you want to 🙌🏻 Thank you for the tips 😊 I’ve seen pics of Banff National Park and oh my gosh it’s just breathtaking!

      Like

  12. yogawinetravel

    I love your story. I was in a similar situation that acted as a wake up call, and decided that I was going to go learn how to surf in Sri Lanka and travel there by myself. Guess what? Met a lovely man. 1.5 years later and still happily wanderlusting around the world together 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. suzannahsylvian

    Ah, I totally understand where you’re coming from. Solo travel is difficult, but you really can’t put your dreams on hold for others. Luckily for me now, my boyfriend is ready to go freelance and when I graduate, we’re going to travel the world together. You will find someone who shares your passions and dreams, perhaps even on a solo trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. La Vida Sunshine

    This is so exciting for you! I would say, your journey to Canada isn’t really traveling solo, it’s more like a great big life adventure bc you’ll be living there. I’m American and had traveled lots with girlfriends while in my 20’s within the U.S. I was intentional about saving all those once in a lifetime trips with my husband. There’s nothing like experiencing the world with the man I love. Whatever happens for you, never stop traveling and enjoy your life! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Isabella

    Love this a lot, good luck in Canada! Amazingly beautiful country, very progressive and the people and culture are very cool. Solo travel is one of the best things to do, it can really help you find yourself and your future. Best wishes to you on all of your adventures. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Everyone who has done solo travel has said that you’re never really alone unless you want to be 😊 I do think living in a country gives you more of a chance of immerse yourself in every aspect of that country. I hope you do too 😊 And thank you for following me 😊

      Like

  16. ExtraAdventure

    We don’t bite, unless you ask nicely! I’m sure you’ll have a whole slew of Canadian friends in no time. You’re coming near the end of the tourist season, and just in time for the rain. Work on your craft beer-drinking muscles and I’ll see you at the pub.

    Liked by 1 person

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