Any of you who have read my blog before will know that over eighteen months ago I left the UK to come to Canada on a working holiday visa. What you might also have noticed from my posts is that I’ve been having a fantastic time exploring the Great White North. However, all good things must come to an end and with my visa concluding in November my partner Matt and I have been forced into thinking about what to do next. In fact, I’ve had many a stranger at work ask me what I am going to do when my visa ends. What I want to say is this…
When we arrived in Canada we knew we wanted to explore the entire country which has made applying for permanent residency an unlikely option. One of the easiest ways to gain residency on the back of a working holiday visa is to gain one year’s work experience (in a designated job role) while in Canada. However, Matt and I wanted to make the most of our adventure. We could stay in one place and work full time at home, this was our chance to explore and see a much of Canada as possible. So, pretty early on we decided residency was not an option for us, much to my Mum’s relief!
Our next option would be to continue with our travels while we are still eligible for working holiday visas. Australia and New Zealand have similar visas available for British citizens between the ages of 18-30 (Australia) and 35 (New Zealand). The lure of continuing our adventure is super strong, and why wouldn’t it be, we’ve had a fantastic two years. Furthermore, if I could put of being a real adult for another year or two why wouldn’t I???
Well, reality hits. Canada can be one of the most expensive countries to live in. Whilst gas prices are cheaper than the UK many other daily items are not. Even though we have avoided incurring any major accommodation costs by house sitting (check out the pros and cons of house sitting here), we have also been travelling on the philosophy of ‘Well, I’m never going to get the chance to do this again!’ which can soon add up in cost! A little bit of saving before we head of to the other side of the world is needed.
House sitting has given us amazing freedom and been kind to the purse
Saving the pennies is not the only reason we will be returning home in November. Not only do I need to stock up on proper chocolate, jaffa cakes and quality curry but it’s about time I had a good catch up with friends and family. I have yet to hold my niece who was born in December and my nephew has grown into a little man over the past year, it will be great to be more than just a face on the phone to them.
So excited to see friends and family!
Overall, that is little bit too much information to say to a stranger over a cash desk when there is a huge line up. I usually respond with ‘My Mum would kill me if I stayed!’, making it a little light-hearted however true it is! But so many are curious as to why I wouldn’t want to stay. Many more are surprised to hear that I don’t intend to stay beyond the two years. This got me wondering, why is it so strange to want to go home? A couple of reasons have come to my attention.
More often than not people move to a new country for a better life. Whether due to your home country being an unsafe environment, lacking in opportunity or you’re trying to recover from a bad break-up, the reasons for moving are never ending. But for me I was not travelling to run away from a life I no longer wanted. I am lucky to come from a country which is safe, has free health care and education readily available (if not a little expensive these days!) I’m also in a loving relationship and I am close with my family. While it may be hard for some people to understand, for me it was just pure adventure that pulled me to Canada.
Read more about the reasons I travel and my wanderlust here.
The other reason is that Canada is a great country. I completely understand why you would want to live in the beautiful Great White North. From coast to coast it is stunning, gorgeous coastal views to enormous mountain ranges and all brimming with wildlife.
However, as the saying goes ‘There is no place like home’. This is something travelling has taught me if nothing else. Even when you go to a destination that speaks the same language there are still so many differences.
In fact, I am super excited to return home and explore the UK as a tourist. People will often ask about my hometown and what life is like in the UK. I find myself getting super enthusiastic when giving people advice and suggestions for future trips. My top tip has been to not skip Wales! Many Canadians, or at least the ones I have spoken to, tell me that they are going to London, Scotland and Ireland. But in my opinion, they have missed the best one out and I can’t wait to go hiking in the Valleys and Mountains of Wales next summer.
The UK has so much to offer I can’t wait to be a tourist at home!
But mostly, I am travelling to experience different things. I have been extremely fortunate to have travelled as much as I have. And in a rather cliche-d manner it has changed my perspective and outlook on life. You soon realise after living out of a suitcase that possessions are less important. Taking the time to enjoy your surroundings and the people you share it with become paramount as work takes a back seat in the name of adventure.
Have you ever lived in another country? Did you return home or move permanently? Let me know in the comments section I’d love to hear your experiences!