It's Mother's Day - let's celebrate with a retelling of how the most influential person in my life became my champion and gave me a spirit for travel. She's the reason I have been able to see as much as I have thus far and will be able to see even more in the future. I have zero doubt of this.
Although I'm originally from Montreal, I grew up in Toronto primarily with it just being my mom and I. She separated herself from the only city she'd ever really known to move me to Toronto where I could have a chance at a better life - where I did have a better life. It's not nearly as far as some parents might go from one country to another but I'm sure it felt like it at the time. And as we all know, single parent households are never easy so we were always bouncing below the poverty line. This doesn't exactly allow for people to believe that I would do what I have done. I'm sure if I was able to speak to a much younger version of myself I would never be able to believe this either. However, my mom was my champion in all things even while she was doing shift work or working under people she hated who under-appreciated her work.
We never travelled together during this time, unless it was so we could see family once a year in Montreal. We simply could not afford it. However, the travel spirit that I've developed is because of this time. During my younger years, there was not a lot of stability which I'm sure some might view as negative but moving from house to house and city to city was really helpful for me in seeing different places and changing my worldview as often as I could. Maybe I developed restless leg syndrome or maybe it's my normal to shift every few months but it's been great for me as an adult. Having very little money, I expected to never travel in the way I imagined all globetrotters did. People who travelled were seen as painfully wealthy - normally wives of CEOs or some stupid stereotype. Definitely bougie. I'd never been exposed to backpacking but I was exposed to extremely hard working women doing what needed to get done with my mother and her social circle during my youth.
Years later when I was ready to work to - I learned how to have a strong work ethic because I had learned what it was like to develop a drive for success and moreover I knew that one day it would payoff to work hard so I did. I worked as many as three jobs at a time whilst finishing high school. By this time we had been able to find a comfortable life in Almonte so while money was still a thought it wasn't as heavily a concern as it had been while living in Toronto thanks to my mother's own work ethic paying off tenfold. She's truly an inspiration and although we sometimes disagree I find her ambition admirable.
During my final year of high school, I had thought I would follow a very traditional model. Graduate high school, graduate university, start my career and take two weeks of vacation a year just without the 2.5 kids and a picket fence. More like 2.5 dogs and a condo was my goal but my goal was flipped on it's head when it came down to looking at Universities. As much as I believe an education is a great thing to receive, I truly believe there are many different ways to earn an education and truly I'd lost my passion for learning during my time in high school and I'd always wanted to travel. The money that I'd been saving for university was now imagined for time in Europe where I'd go to the canals in Amsterdam, see the awe-inspiring artifacts in London, and even see the blood of Jesus himself.
In Canada, university education can set you back around $40k a year for tuition and so I told my mom how afraid I was of that responsibility when without even suggesting my idea for travel she brought it up herself. She suggested I take some time to save a little more and then travel. Which I did. All thanks to her support and now after getting bitten by the bug I've been to over 30 countries and she's even joined me in a few too.
Happy Mother's Day and happy travels.