I decided to personalise my Google+ ‘About’ section and talk about what it was like for me to grow up in the country…and how that influenced my pursuit of an international lifestyle.

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Everything you want is on the other side of fear. JFDI.

I grew up in the country, the daughter of two Canadian farm kids whose parents immigrated from Europe (England/Holland and Hungary/Ukraine). My parents built the house I grew up in. My dad worked on the oil rigs of Northern Canada for some of my life. My mother grew beautiful gardens and, with my father, raised my sister and me. 

I grew up with puppies, a cat and memories of my dad on his tractor and my mother canning goods. I skated on the local pond in winter. Driving across the prairie in a van, just the four of us listening to country music for nine hours, was the best. This is before I went off country music, and it was before mobile phones and iPads. It was the era of books, and I read voraciously. I loved survival stories about making it to abandoned cabins in severe winter snowstorms, coming-of-age tales about my kindred spirit Laura Engels Wilder, adventure mysteries solved by Nancy Drew and, later, tales about climbers dying in a bid for Everest. My favourite book in university was The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. Literature provided me with what songwriter Tracy Chapman dubbed as my ‘windows to the world’. 

Looking back, I finished high school with not one but three dreams: to be a teacher, musician and psychologist. This says a surprising lot about me. In my own way, I am fulfilling the core desires at the root of these dreams. Visit my homepage to find out more about this journey, and subscribe to my blog if you like. 

The year I began university, I moved to the city. Seven years later, I left my nation. Moved to a new one. Did it again. And again. I now live in Manchester, UK – a great rock and roll city that is overlooked by too many travellers who think London is the be-all and end-all. After all, Manchester was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. This city has the Northern character and brick and steel factory derived architecture to prove it. 

I had a great aunt who ballroom danced her way around the world and brought back rocks for my sister, cousins and me. I still collect rocks. One of my favourites is a piece of black lava from the deserts of Saudi Arabia. The place is still in my blood after living for 11 years among the most hospitable people I have ever known. The majority of Saudis and Arabs have gotten a bad rap. I’m writing a book about it. 

My latest adventure in the Arab world involved teaching members of the Qatari Royal Family at the highest-ranking school in Qatar, a one-to-one laptop environment called Qatar Academy. This has enhanced my passion for technology. I now teach English and Drama at a modern academy in Greater Manchester, and have been invited to become a member of the tech for learning leadership team. It will be my pleasure. 

It’s been a challenge, reintegrating back into the West. England is not Canada. Who knew? We actually do not speak the same language. Rubbish! And did you know it takes just as long to go through reverse culture shock as it does to deal with your original bout of culture shock? It’s all part of the marvellous process of being a world traveller. No prob.

My favourite place in the UK to get away to is St. Ives and area, in Cornwall. The best beach there is a surfing beach in the village of Porthtowan. I also like the Lake District and Wales. What’s not to love about Wales? Last summer, I made a bid to summit the highest point in Wales, one of the highest peaks in the UK. It didn’t happen, as we started off too late in the day and the ‘rambling’ over the rocks became rough. Another time. This spring, I’m flying to Cork, Ireland for a five day writer’s retreat with friends. We’re all working on books. Nerdy, huh? Ah, Europe. It is a fantastic blend of cultures, new and old. 

I love life, live to travel and love to connect with others in a very deep and personal way. I hope that whatever our encounter is, it is a worthwhile one. Peace to you. 

Bragging rights