Pink Tour 2013

So… I’m back! After over 6 months a year two years on hiatus. Wheeee!

What have I been up to? I’ve never blogged about it specifically, but I’m so excited to share this with the world, or whoever reads this sad little blog. In March 2013, my first client project was the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Pink Tour. My work was mostly office-based for the first few months, but the tour officially kicked off in June. From June 12th until October 31st, 2013, I traveled with a small team of health educators across Ontario on a 50′ retrofitted pink bus… for a total of 17,000+ kilometres. What craziness!! But in the best way possible :)

The inaugural tour in 2012 was hugely successful, so the CBCF decided to organize it one more time in Ontario. The purpose of the tour was to educate women on how to be ‘breast aware’ through interactive learning tools on board the bus. We made stops at events/festivals, community centres, sponsors, workplaces with a large number of women, and much much more. As the program coordinator, my work involved around the logistics related to the tour and managing the girls on board.

The bus in action!

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How do I travel so much!?!

This post is way, way, way overdue!!

“Joan, how in the WORLD do you travel so much??”

I get asked this ALL the time. But due to laziness I typically give one-sentence non-committal answers (“I might as well”, “It’s convenient”, etc). If I sense crassness, however, I just ignore that person altogether  (“How do you afford all of your trips???” is a popular one). The latter is extremely irritating for me, but in general, I think people just ask out of curiosity and not because they look down on you and/or are judgmental.

I don’t claim to be a travel “guru” and neither am I trying to tell people what to do. The point of this post isn’t to urge you to travel.. It’s about my personal experience taking a gap year, so what worked for me may not for you. With that said..

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Two months in…

So, I’ve been back just a little over two months now! After tying up loose ends at work, I made a quick stop to Budapest, Hungary as a final destination before heading home. I considered doing a mini Eastern European trip, but I didn’t want to break the bank just quite yet. Looking back, I think I made the right decision.. Though on those nostalgic days, I tend to dwell a little too much on missed opportunities… Oh well, such is life.

This post will be image-free as it’s just going to be a quick update on my life ever since settling back in. Times have changed.. A year ago today, I would have been reading a book on the train on my way to school. On weekends, I’d visit Jacky in the Alps or meet him at the airport for a trip outside the country.

Now, I’m driving to work every day, doing a job that I love. Driving. I know, for 99% of Canadians, driving is like breathing. But for me, getting behind the wheel is/was petrifying. But now that I’ve got a job (oh yea, I got a job! More on that later) and it requires a lot of traveling, I’ve been forcing myself to get on the road and.. I am not so afraid anymore! I actually didn’t/don’t get it at all.. I’m pretty brave when it comes to “adventure” activities (i.e. shark cage diving, roller coasters, being in the vicinity of dangerous animals etc), but I just couldn’t bring myself to drive!!! Well, hopefully that’s all in the past now! :)

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The Capital of Christmas

This entry is exactly three months too late…. sigh. Actually four, but oh well. In November, I visited Strasbourg, France, or better known as the capital of Christmas, due to their Christmas market festivities as well as its world-famous trees and decorations (Run on sentence much? Oh well). Jacky had visited the city before with his school (not during Christmas though), and from my research, it seemed like a really nice place to travel to. And what better than to make a trip during the most wonderful time of the year?

When I first heard of the city “Strasbourg”, I thought it was in Germany because of.. well, it’s Germanic name. I  was really surprised to learn that it’s actually a French city, but the name makes sense since it’s right on the border of the two countries. Because of the Christmas attractions, the train ride was discounted at about 75 SFr round trip. The train ride takes less than 4 hours one way from Lausanne (with 1-2 transfers), so if you have the energy, you could make it a day trip from a Swiss city.. which is what I did. But I’m a fast traveler (did I already blog about my 20 minute stay in Liechtenstein??), so if you want to feel more.. relaxed.. then stay a few days!

The first thing I noticed was the unique architecture. I found the “structure” quite standard (from my noob observations), but the fact that they have a pinkish undertone was really eye-catching to me

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Lovely Lucerne

Last November, I trained to Lucerne for a day trip.. Well, more like a half day or quarter day trip.

Typically, tourists visiting Switzerland stop by either Lucerne and Interlaken for a picturesque stay in the country. While Lucerne is no doubt breath-taking, I don’t find it all that spectacular compared to lesser visited towns like Vevey, Montreux, Nyon, etc. As a visitor, if you’re arriving from the French-speaking side, I would recommend just sticking to the Lake Geneva region – it is a lot closer (transport in Switzerland isn’t cheap) and is just as beautiful. Albeit gorgeous, Lucerne is quite touristy and doesn’t feel as authentic to me.

Lake Lucerne

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