Lessons learned from traveling for a year


Now that I’m home, everyone asks me one of two questions: where was your favourite place or what did you learn?


It’s too hard to pick just one city but my favourite place to be is always on the water so anywhere near water wins my heart.


As for what I learned, here are a few random thoughts:

(Note: the idea for this blog and many of the tips came from Anastasia Chapman, our fearless program leader – thanks Momma Stasia!  xo)


There’s nothing like a four-hour ferry ride to make new friends

Figure out the currency conversion before checking into a spa for the weekend

Always pack snacks


Make friends with someone who has access to the airport lounge 

Castle walls are slippery in the rain

Keep an extra deodorant stick in your backpack


A nap is always a good idea

Check the level of the tide before you go cliff jumping

Always hang on in the back of an open-air Jeep – you never know when you might fly over a sand dune


When eating street food, choose the stall with the longest queue

Renting a beach umbrella is a smart idea

The best way to catch an early flight is to stay up all night


Flushing toilet paper is an overlooked luxury

If stray dogs can figure out the metro system, so can you

Back up all your photos


Treasure the friends who offer a hand, wait for you and walk slowly up the mountain

You can never get rid of sand in a backpack

Pretending to take a photo is a great way to check out guys


Don’t run a half marathon when you aren’t in shape

Eat outside every chance you get

Google Maps is one of the best inventions ever


A glass of port beneath a castle, in a Jeep, with friends always tastes better

It’s okay to sleep in a sandy bed, it means you had a great day

Catch a sunrise or sunset every day – it’s always worth it


Starting a campfire requires newspaper and a lighter

Find the balance between enjoying the moment and capturing the moment

Stray dogs may bite you


All you need is a jar of peanut butter

The best secrets are found down narrow, cobblestone streets

If the place is called “Hot Mess”, it’s likely you’ll be one too


Food poisoning is a surprise cleanse you didn’t know you needed

It’s cold at the top of mountains

Uber is amazing – use it, love it


Always keep a few coins and tissue in your pocket (you never know when you need a bathroom)

The best way to see a city is by bike

Buy tickets in advance for something you really want to see


Workspaces provide free tea

Make sure your train ticket seat faces forward

Don’t be afraid of getting lost – that’s usually when you find the best places


Learn to take two-minute showers in Europe

Midnight bike rides through the city make you feel alive

Always pack a swimsuit


A smile will take you a long way in any language

Say yes often!





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Showing 5 comments
  • Vic Nykiforuk

    Glad you are home safe after a year of travelling. Such an adventure. We loved every moment as we travelled with you. Thanks for allowing Joy and I to tag along. Your blog-Well done again Michelle. Some great lessons learned..
    I don’t know what you have in mind for the future but we wish you the very best. You are such a bright young lady take advantage of what life’s doors open for you. You will be successful wherever that may lead
    Thanks again. God bless

    • Michelle

      Thank you so much! I’m excited for the next chapter to unfold. xo

  • Krista Hargrave

    Welcome home sweetheart. We are so proud of you. Your life lessons are wise and valuable. We could make a daily bucket list from them. Thanks for this blog. I hope you continue it, as I’m sure you will plan plenty of Canadian adventures to share. We thank God for bringing you home safely through earthquakes, white water rafting ,hot air ballooning, wild horse riding ,small plane tilting, mountain climbing, food poisoning and many other challenges. After a rest… let the adventures begin.
    love you, Mom xoxo

  • Lynne Holmes

    Hi Michelle. Welcome home ! I loved the blog. You’re amazing, Call me when things have settled down for you and we can get together. xox

    • Michelle

      Awwwhhh, thanks Lynne – sounds good! xo

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