I am fast approaching my one year anniversary in Canada, I seriously cannot believe how quick time is going right now. Yesterday marked 10 months in Vancouver, say what?! It was about time to reflect and document what I would have told my former self.
Last June I wrote this post, half freaking out and half riddled with excitement. I had done all my research and still didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. Although I have no regrets, I wish I was told a few things that would have helped me prepare.
I would have told myself to chill out at the airport. I was hysterically crying the whole time. I couldn’t control myself. Goodbyes are hard but with the likes of FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook you don’t even get chance to miss anyone.
I would have told myself to worry less. I remember the whole process of trying to find somewhere to live. Yes it was stressful but we found somewhere eventually. I wish I took that time to do trips and see more of British Columbia before I got settled.
I would have told myself to save more money. I guess you can never have enough money, unless you’re a millionaire (however even then I’m sure you can go through it). I got my job within the first two weeks of being in Canada. I kind of needed a job but I wish I spent the first few weeks being a tourist.
I would have planned my final meal in the UK. I didn’t even think about what food I would miss the most. My last meal was a breakfast at Wetherspoons in the airport. I wish I filled my belly with a decent fish and chips and/or a Sunday roast (with my Auntie Sally’s Yorkshire puddings).
I would have told myself to make more of an effort. Some of my weekends last summer were wasted. Right now I don’t mind wasting a day on the sofa, watching back to back episodes on Netflix as it rains all the bloody time. Summer is full of blue skies and sunshine (I hope), so I plan to take full advantage of any time not spent at work.
I would have told myself not to compare currencies. Still to this day I think of the dollar price tag in pounds, this makes everything seem more expensive. However I will tell you, food in Vancouver is pricey. Cheese is a luxury these days.
I would have bought a car, a very cheap car. A car gives you so much freedom and that is certainly one thing I miss having. Vancouver is close to lots of amazing places and although public transport is fairly good here, it only goes so far. On the other hand I have heard from car owners that car insurance is extortionate here.
I would have bought a bike sooner. I bought a bike in October last year, just before it rained non-stop for 6 months (and counting). Vancouver is an extremely bike friendly place and I would recommend anyone to buy a bike as soon as they land. I’m still in awe of what I see on my bike ride to work. I also save nearly $5 a day and I avoid the suffering of riding the peasant wagon (aka bus).
I would have told myself not to expect so much. I’m a big dreamer, I want to do everything and see everything. I thought I would have been able to do more and see more but unfortunately I have bills to pay. I could have found somewhere cheaper or a better paid job but honestly I’m happy where I am. I didn’t want to live in a dump and my bike rental job is fun and I’ve met people from all around the world. I would recommend organizing a trip or doing something out of the ordinary at least once a month. Otherwise you do settle into a routine of eat, work, sleep which I could be doing in the UK.
I would have told myself to eat less pizza. Just kidding, I love pizza.
Last but not least I would tell all of you to enjoy everyday of your working holiday experience. You could be road-tripping across Canada, picking fruit on a farm in Australia or renting bikes to Mexican tourists like me (we don’t just serve Mexicans), just enjoy it. Don’t take it seriously, take risks and don’t regret a thing.
I have more to say on this matter and want to share my tips on accommodation hunting, working holidays, budgeting and much more. Come back soon.