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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I’m leaving Switzerland!!

Ok, so this was a super last minute decision. I don’t think I’ve blogged about this before, but basically my contract with the IOC ends in a few days’ time. I was on a 5-month contract with the Olympic Studies Centre, and originally I was really happy with the arrangement because it gave me a feel for the organization and a bit of time to look for a full-time job to kick-start my career in sports.

Andddd the job has been great :) I learned a lot and was able to experience what working in Europe is like (Camp Europe 2010 in Germany doesn’t really count I suppose..). I was really lucky compared to most “foreigners” looking for employment in Switzerland – The IOC provided me with a studio, lunch vouchers, health and accident insurance (which can be upwards of 400 chf/month), etc etc.

Since I have to vacate my apartment just days after my contract expires, I figured I had three options: 1) Go home, 2) Find a place to stay in Switzerland while I look for something here, or 3) Travel Eastern Europe for a couple of weeks until I figure things out. I was really really close to going with option #3 (I even had all the flights/bus rides figured out), but just last week I decided it would be much easier, and I would probably be much happier too, if I just went home.

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The second half of 2012!!

You know your blog is neglected when it gets shut down cuz you missed one too many payments LOL. Anyway, yeah so apparently my billing goes straight to my Yahoo mail which I only check once every couple of months. Oh well.

I’ve spent exactly 6 months here in Switzerland and everything has been great. I’ve been working hard and my grades have been surprisingly good sooo I’m in a pretty happy place right now :) Got a lot of work to catch up on (personal research paper.. yuckk!) so I’m gonna make this brief. Just about enough time to list some of my bigger plans for the next couple of months. Pretty excited, lots to do. Saved some $$ in May so I can splurge a bit in July. Poland in two days, awesome!!

  • June 6-11 – Poland for Euro 2012!!
  • July 4 – Lana Del Rey at the Montreux Jazz Festival
  • July 18 – Team USA vs. GB basketball game in Manchester, UK
  • July 20-22 – Short trip to Brussels, Belgium
  • July 22-24 – Watch Team USA vs. Argentina / Spain basketball game in Barcelona
  • July 29 – London 2012  Women’s synchronized 3m springboard gold medal
  • July 29 – London 2012 – Swimming  (M 100m breakstroke / M 4x100m relay / W 100m butterfly / Womens 400m freestyle)
  • July 31 – Jocelyn coming to visit!! Yayyyy!
  • August 2 – Milan day trip
  • August 5 – London 2012 – Mens singles / doubles gold medal badminton
  • August 6-7 – Short Paris trip
  • August 7-10 – Barcelona trip (my 4th time.. LOL)
  • August 11 – Wicked musical
  • August 11 – London 2012 – Womens gold medal vball 
  • August 12-15 – Trip to Iceland & see Jocey off to fly back home

Geneva Motor Show

My first car show since high school and my first in Europe. I’m not so big on cars.. I usually go to admire the models and the select slick car, but I figured to make a visit since it’s supposed to be one of the most prestigious in the world. According to Jacky. Who knows. It was soo packed and people were freakin’ rude and pushy so I don’t think I’ll go next year.. But anyway, here are a few pics from the day:

Super sexy Honda NSX

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