Hiking Boots or High Heels?

When I first left New Zealand in May last year, I had my mind set on starting a blog to document my travels. However the blog was sidelined as life got busy, and as more time passed I gave up on the idea. Recently though, I have been reflecting on my past year and wanted to start writing down some of my thoughts…so here goes!

I spent my time from May last year until April this year volunteering as a hiking guide for Quetzaltrekkers in Guatemala, a little bit of travel in Mexico and the U.S., working as a mountain bike guide for Colombia Bike Junkies in San Gil, Colombia and travelling in Peru. I am going to write about each of these experiences in more detail, however for this post I want to focus on how my initial short-term travel life has become my current lifestyle. Originally when I left home last year all I knew was that I was going to travel through parts Central and South America, and that I needed to be in Canada by May to start my working holiday visa.

When I first decided to volunteer as a hiking guide for Quetzaltrekkers my main goals were to give back to the local community, learn about the Guatemalan culture, and explore the outdoors, all of which I definitely managed to do. I thought it would be a temporary lifestyle, a good way to stay in one place for a few months but not something that I would do long term. However one year on and I am still working as a guide, and spending as much time as I can in the outdoors, with nothing more than the next few months planned out.

At Quetzaltrekers I was a volunteer and in Colombia I earned enough to get by but in my head Canada was the place where I was going to get a “real” job, start earning money and settle down for a bit. However eventually my love for the outdoors won and by the end of my year in Latin America I knew that having a work lifestyle that involved exploring the outdoors was, at least for the time being, the most important thing to me. That is how I found myself accepting a job in the adventure travel industry, rather than the corporate world, upon my move to Canada. I arrived in Canada in May and I am currently working as a trip leader for two week trips that start and finish in Vancouver, and go through the Rocky Mountain national parks of Canada. I get to see some amazing places and do some pretty cool activities so it is a great way to explore Canada and earn money at the same time.

People are usually very surprised to found out I studied law and worked as a corporate lawyer before I went travelling. These days I spend much more time in my exercise gear and hiking boots, and I think people find it very hard to imagine me wearing a suit and high heels. I often get asked if I’ll go back to being a lawyer one day, as if there is only one way to be a lawyer (wearing a suit, working in an office and making lots of money) which exists in a completely different world to the adventure travel industry. My answer is usually that although I don’t see myself returning to the high-heeled corporate world, I definitely would like to incorporate law into an adventure travel job one day. However for now I am happy to be in the  outdoors, and hopefully one day I will figure out how to bring law and adventure travel together.

One thing that I have learnt over the past year is don’t be afraid to do what you love and to do it as much as you can. It is not always easy, and I am definitely not saying that I have a full proof plan to always just having fun doing what you love, at the end of the day we all have to make a living for ourselves somehow. However this philosophy has helped me understand the kind of person I am and what makes me happy. Apologies for the cheese but it’s good to get right down into the deep and meaningful sometimes right?

So that’s about where by thoughts are at, more to follow, but any of your thoughts or comments would be much appreciated.

Ciao for now!

Grace

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