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Pascale – I have my plan A, now what’s my plan B?

Post number 4 from kickaction.ca’s HERstory blogging carnival! I met Pascale a few years ago, when we were both training for a CIDA internship. My internship in Mali was a bit hit and miss, but I think that her time in Bolivia was great!

1. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?

I have my plan A, now what’s my plan B?

2. Where are you from? How has where you’re from shaped your life?
Saint-Alfred, en Beauce, Québec
3. Where do you live? How has where you live shaped your life?
Right now, I live in Québec city, but it’s temporary. I’m here for an internship. I’ve lived half my life in the countryside, which has made me quiet, introverted and close to nature. The other half of my life, I have spend moving every 8 moths or so. During my studies, I spent all my summers away from Quénec. My trips have made me more confident  and less ‘by the book’ than I would have been otherwise. South America, especially, taught me that stress does not make you happy. Also, the friendships that I developed with people that I have met throughout my travels have taught me to accept myself for who I am, and to be comfortable with myself.
4. What is your greatest achievement?
I’m proud of being financially independent from my parents, and to have been since university. It has given me a lot more freedom.
5. What is your greatest regret? Or what is your greatest fear?
I try not to have any regrets. When I make a decision, it is normally very thought out and I make sure to look at the good parts of it, without thinking about what I’m missing out on. However, I would have love to have been more of an extrovert. In high school, I was more reserved, and watched my friends do things without me. But that’s int the past, and I don’t want to look back with regret.
I’m scared of everything! I’m scared of being loney, of being useless, of putting myself out there, of becoming dependant on someone, of being rejected, etc. There is always a little something holding me back.

6. What would you tell a young girl who is struggling with something like her identity, bullying, not fitting in, etc.?
I would tell her to be strong. I know that it’s not easy, but she has to hold on. There are beautiful things in her future. She should find someone she trusts and talk to them. This person will be there for them and might be able to make things appear less scary. Don’t put pressure on youtself to be perfect – those who don’t accept her as she is do not deserve her time. She must be patient and gentle with herself. It takes time to find who you are, and she might need some time to explore that.

She does not deserve this bullying, and it is not her fault. I want her to remember that people who are different are usually the most interesting, those who have the best stories to tell and who are not scared to go off the beaten path. At the end of the day, these people have a strength that other don’t. She has more to offer than she’ll ever know. Her situation is not permanent, and she is not alone in this struggle.

7. What’s next?

I want to finish my masters, take a bike trip in the meantime, and find a job as I’m finishing school. Ideally, I would love to find a one or two year contract in another country. A husband and children are definitely something I want, but I’m not there yet. After all – what are the odds of meeting someone who will want to travel with me? Once my need to move around is under control, everything should fall it to place, or so my mum says! Hah!

I am enjoying the fact that I don’t have any real responsibilities or dependents, and I am using this time to explore all the opportunities that I have. Everything will happen in due time.


Wheresalex… been?




Turnipseed travel has just posted a link about Hilary Clinton, showing a picture of her in every country that she’s visited while in her role as secretary of state. Which got me thinking: if I can’t be travelling right now (Well, I went to Regina recently. But I don’t think that counts.), I can at least think about all the awesome adventures that I’ve had.

The other day, I was at dinner with friends, and there was a sort of name dropping happening, only they weren’t talking about people, they were talking about countries that they’ve been to. I don’t know if I’m the same – sometimes, I feel awkward mentioning that I’ve been places. I don’t want to sound braggy, or annoying. But not today! Today, I’m going to do exactly what Hillz did – I’m going to post a picture of myself in each country that I’ve visited. Because this is my blog, and if I can’t get braggy on here, where can I?!

**Note: to my past self, you, and your potential future children:

1. Smile more in your photos. Until I was about 17, I looked grumpy in most pictures. I want to reach back and slap my 11-year-old self. 

2. Make sure you take pictures of yourself. Selfies, or ask a stranger (make a friend!) I’m usually the one taking pictures, which means that I’m rarely in them.



To pack or not to pack? Part 1 : A trip down memory lane

Seven years ago (Seven! Where has the time gone!) I spent 3 months backpacking around Peru, Bolivia, Coast Rica, and Nicaragua. Everything I owned, I carried in my 36 litre backpack.


The goal of this was twofold – obviously, I needed to be able to carry everything around with me from hostel to hostel. But the main thing, which I never would have thought about before being there, was to avoid having to put my backpack under the bus when going from city to city. This way, I didn’t have to worry about getting my bag stolen at any of the stops (scheduled and unscheduled – being stopped by the army, who wants to see all of your belongings, is not uncommon). I also didn’t have to worry about having my bag peed on by animals also kept under the bus (Trust me. This happened to a friend of mine.) Every time we took the bus, my bag came along with me. I would put it on the floor in front of my seat, and curl up with my feet on top of it

So, how was this possible? Here’s what was in my bag :

1. I had no ‘beauty’ supplies. In my backpack, I carried a plastic bag that contained a toothbrush and toothpaste, a bar of soap which I used on my hair and body, one stick of deodorant, one bottle of sunscreen, a disposable razor, and my contact lens solution and a couple of pairs of contacts. I could replace all of these things (except for the contacts), in any village. I had dreads back then, so I didn’t use any hair products, and I never wore makeup.

2. Clothing wise, I had one pair of jeans, one skirt, three tank tops, three t-shirts, one pair of hiking shoes, one pair of converse, one pair of flip-flops, one zippy sweater, and one long-sleeved t-shirt. I had a bikini and a sarong, which I used both as a beach cover-up, a skirt and a towel.  Accessories? Not really – I had two scarves, which I wore on my head when it got really sunny. The one luxury that I afforded myself was two weeks worth of underwear and socks. I’m no stranger to washing clothes in the sink, but I prefer to avoid it.

3. I also always carried, in the top zippy bit of my backpack, juggling and poi balls. It was always the best way to meet people.


And that’s it.

As well as my backpack, I carried a large cross-body purse, that I could wear while wearing the backpack. (Which you can see in this photo. This trip happened with my buddy Marina, on my right. See her small backpack, and purse? That’s all she travelled with, for three months.)Image

This bag contained my journal, my point and shoot camera, my wallet, a book and my passport. I think that this was made easier because I feel like this trip happened before technology really did. There was no facebook, no smart phones. Now, when I pack, I have one or two laptops, two cellphones, my kindle, charging cables for all of those, and my DSLR. Ugh.

This post happened because I’m in the middle of packing for a business trip, and blogging is more fun than packing. I’m also trying to figure out if I can fit everything I need for a three week business trip in my carry-on. Obviously, the setting is a bit different – I’m going to be having meetings, and I’m travelling in Canada in the middle of winter. Still, I’m up for the challenge, which I’ll document in the next post. My buddy Vanessa at turnipseedtravel has a great post about this (and so many other great posts!), and I’m going to try and follow her advice. 

This post also reminds me that it was easy, and much less stressful, to travel for so little. I’m hoping to go on holiday in September, and to put that backpack back to work. And to go back to no technology.