Updated: Jun 20, 2018
Let's start with a story.
When Greg and I first met I thought he didn't like me. We were 19 and in our first year of school at the University of Waterloo. I was trying to meet up with a new friend during Orientation week and in the process was introduced to him. He seemed disinterested and distracted; barely glancing my way when he said "hello" to me for the first time.
Awesome, this guy already hates me...
We ended up being in the same program, with all of the same first year classes so our paths crossed often. Our program was small and close knit, and it was inevitable that we ended up in the same friend group and eventually friends with each other, but always dating other people.
A few years later, we were both in a transitional point in our lives. I was in my last year of university and a little lost about what I wanted to do next. I had lived in the Netherlands on an international exchange and was itching to go back to Europe, but I had a pile of debt and no plan. Greg was just as lost. He didn't know if he was in the right job and was working on improving his health after years of experiencing burnout. Can you guess what brought us together?
If you've ever played squash you'll know it's not an attractive sport. You run around in a sweaty little room and there's a lot of awkward grunting. We started playing in January and by the end of February we were dating.
Ah yes, squash, the game of love.
Weird, right? Well that's us in a nutshell. Two super quirky people with a love of beer, bbq food, live music and a good laugh; always looking for a new way to be active.
After only four months of dating (and me gushing about stories from my travels) he did the most amazing thing: he told me he wanted to join me on my adventure back to Europe to see what it was like outside of North America. He looked into it and he was eligible to take a paid leave of absence... in four years.
Four years sounded like a friggin' eternity.
I was in denial about how much time it would take for me to pay off my debt. I actually needed that time to learn how to budget and be realistic with what I wanted to do with my life. To say that the last few years have been easy would be a lie. We had to budget wisely, forgo luxuries, and redefine some of our priorities.
For us, this trip is more than just a year of unemployment. It's a chance to explore new places, try things outside of our comfort zones and learn how to take better care of ourselves. We don't want to be defined simply by the work that we do and "live for the weekends". We want to learn about what makes us happy and take those lessons with us moving forward.
I'm getting deep, I know...
It turns out that life after university feels like it's accelerating. You get invested in your job, you're always planning your weekends in advance and time seems to melt away. It's astounding that this much time has already past because as I write this, we are now exactly 3 months from our departure. I'll admit, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know who I want to be with and where I want to go for the next year or so.
That's us, that's how Ont2NewAdventures was born. Two Canadians with different travel backgrounds, not quite ready to "settle down" but excited to explore and learn more about the world and ourselves, finally got together and shared their dreams.
Great story right? And really, it's only the beginning...
P.S. Greg wanted me to add, in case you were still wondering that no, he never hated me.