2005 - a recap

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
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Sunday, January 1, 2006

This is a copy of an email I sent to friends and family on New Year's Day, but I thought I'd post it here as well!

2005 for me can best be described as a roller coaster. I started off the year by making the agonizing decision to move back "home" to Calgary after 3 years in Vancouver. Saying goodbye to my mom, my friends and colleagues was, as the Brits so aptly say, gutting. It was also hard to leave the great weather and scenery, especially my balcony view of English Bay! But life is full of choices, and so to be closer to other family and friends, I packed up and headed east.

When I moved I took a transfer with my job, and unfortunately things did not work out well. 3 months later, neither the company nor I were sad to see me leave! It was disappointing that it happened under tense terms, after having learned so much and enjoyed my time with them in Vancouver. Little did I know at that moment the path I was being led down! I decided to take some time off and evaluate my next step. After 9 years of retail management, I thought it might be time for a change.

In the midst of all this uncertainty, I realized that for the first time ever, I had nothing tying me to one place. We had decided to sell our house, I was unemployed, had a place to store my stuff, not in a relationship, basically free as a bird! The possibilities were truly endless, a prospect that was both frightening and exhilarating. With the love, support and encouragement of my friends & family, I decided to spend a year travelling around Europe. This was a dream I had for many years, and thought may never come true. Partly because I didn't think I'd ever have the time or money, and partly because I didn't think I would have the courage to go off on my own. The last few years have made me so much more independent though, and I really felt it was time.

I left for London on Sept.7th. Our house sold merely days before, after many trials and tribulations with our tenant. Suffice it to say Tyler and I both learned a LOT from the experience (which included a stressful court appearance), and managed to stay friends through it all! The lessons were definitely worth the stress though, but I know I can speak for us both when I say we are very glad to be done with it.

As for the trip, it has been exhilarating, exciting, inspiring, scary, tiring and demanding all at the same time. And I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything! There are many pros and cons to travelling on your own, especially as a woman; I've experienced them all! I would recommend everyone try it at least once, even if you know yourself well, you will still discover new things. So far I have travelled through Greece, Turkey, Berlin, Italy and Nice. There are many great memories, and I find it difficult to pick a favourite. Most would include stunning scenery (such as Pammukale, Cappadocia, the Vatican, Cinque Terre) but the best come from the people I have met along the way! Plans for the new year include Egypt, France and Spain, and then who knows? It is truly an incredible feeling to wake up each morning and think, where should I go today? And know I can go anywhere, do anything I choose. Complete freedom.

Amazingly, tomorrow will mark 8 months that I haven't worked! For someone who used to regularly work late and take things home, I've managed to let go and fill my days quite easily. While I honestly don't miss that job, I am starting to get antsy for some routine. So part-time employment may be in my near future!

The best part of the last year has been the incredible people I am surrounded by. From those I have met on this trip, to the friends and family that continue to support the decisions I make and love me regardless, time and again. It's never easy to make the big decisions and head off on your own, when it would be so much easier to stay home where you are surrounded by those you love. But that wouldn't really be living, would it?

I'm not into resolutions, but as I look to the coming year I hope to continue to learn from the past, live in the moment, and love myself and those around me. I hope you do the same. All the best,
Jacqui
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