This weeks dose of travel inspiration is from Vanessa Chiasson over at TurnipseedTravel.com. She is a freelance writer in Ottawa and shares great travel advice on how to get the absolute most for your hard earned dollars – where to save, when to splurge, and how to make every moment count.
By Vanessa Chiasson
What inspires me to travel? Now, it’s many reasons – the chance to meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds, the opportunity to see amazing natural wonders, feeling free and relaxed. But when I was younger, I was motivated to travel for another reason or, should I say, another person.
My great aunt, Edna, was an incredible person. Born to humble circumstances in rural Canada, she never let limited means stop her from living life to the fullest. She was plucky and determined and, when World War II broke out, she signed up to serve overseas, eventually being stationed in Apeldoorn, Holland. Despite the dangers of the war swirling all around her, she thrived in her position, enjoying this unthought-of opportunity to see the world and form firm friendships with her female colleagues.
Returning to Canada after the war, she settled into a family routine but still didn’t settle down. She lived in Boston, she traveled frequently throughout the United States, and, when she eventually moved back to Canada, she continued to live a feisty, active, community-minded life. She was an inspiration to me and I admired how she never let life’s common obstacles get in the way of living a full and exciting life.
With her spunk and determination in mind, when I was in university, I set off to explore Europe, starting in Holland in honor of her. My first hours traveling alone were terrifying! I arrived at Amsterdam’s Central Station in the afternoon and sprinted through the city like a mob of gangsters were on my heels! It took me hours to work up the courage to leave my hostel dorm room, and even more to go back out into the city. Amsterdam, of course, is a beautiful, safe, clean city. I even included it on my list of top destinations for a female solo traveler. But in those first few hours, it could have been Baghdad or Kabul judging by how edgy and frightened I was.
A few years after that fateful trip to Europe, my great aunt passed away. I myself had fallen out of the habit of travel, focusing on other goals and financial commitments. It took the serious medical diagnosis of someone else I knew through work to make me think of my great aunt again, and reflect on just how fragile life can be. Edna certainly knew that and lived her life with passion and verve. It was time for me to do the same!
It seemed the universe was on my side. I had a week’s vacation coming up and, coincidentally, a friend presented me with a gift of airline buddy passes. It was time to travel again! My husband and I went as far as those passes would take us and spent a perfect week in Hawaii. Within 10 minutes of stepping off the plane and into the Oahu open-air airport, we looked at each other and said “We’re doing this again!” We said then and there we’d be back in 2012 to visit Maui and we stuck to it, even adding on a week on the Big Island.
My great aunt never made it to Hawaii, but I know she would have loved it- the beautiful scenery, the gentle spirit of the islanders would have really appealed to her. We’ll be back to Hawaii again in 2014 – hopefully to the island of Kauai, and I know we’ll make every moment count!
What (or who) has inspired you to travel?
(If you would like to share a guest post on your travel inspirations, please contact us.)
About the Guest Blogger: Vanessa Chiasson is TurnipseedTravel – an ocean loving Maritimer now settled as a freelance writer in Ottawa. Her diverse travels include Paris, where she ran a marathon, the coffee farms of Hawaii, and the national parks of Malawi. Next up? A round-the-world trip with nine stops, including Turkey, Myanmar, and Australia. TurnipseedTravel.com is passionate about great value -getting the absolute most for your hard earned dollars and days off. Our value travel philosophy tells you where to save, when to splurge, and how to make every moment count.
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