I’m an addict. And I’m married to one too.
Luckily, we consider our obsession with travel and adventure a healthy one.
We like to call ourselves global nomads.
It all started in 2003. My boyfriend (now husband) and I moved from New Zealand and Australia respectively to the UK. We explored Western Europe for a few months before creating a new home for ourselves in North London, where we lived for five years. Coming from countries where 150-year-old buildings are historic, we were in awe of structures that were thousands of years old. The culture fascinated us. While living in London we discovered the joy of a strong currency combined with cheap airlines. We went on countless long weekends away around Europe to make the most of it.
But we craved the outdoors. And wild places. Every inch of space in the UK is accounted for. We felt suffocated at times knowing we couldn’t get in the car and drive somewhere remote. Somewhere untouched. So, we discovered North America.
Our first trip was to Alaska. To say it quenched our thirst for the great outdoors is an understatement. We strapped on our crampons and walked on a glacier. We hiked and hiked and hiked. We caught our first floatplane to Katmai National Park where we came up close and personal with a young grizzly bear. We were bitten by mosquitos the size of small birds and experienced the midnight sun. And we were gobsmacked when we watched a guy collect his takeout pizza by landing his plane on the highway, hopping out, grabbing it and taking off again. Alaska hooked us on adventure travel.
Our next adventure was to the Grand Canyon. We rafted the Colorado River for a week with an amazing group of people. The beauty of the canyon blew us away. Each day as we rafted down the river, the walls of the canyon grew taller as the river carved its way deeper. We slept under the stars in our sleeping bags on sandy beaches and swam in the azure spring-fed Little Colorado. Finally we hiked out the Bright Angel Trail promising to return to finish the lower half of the river one day.
Over the following years we visited Yellowstone National Park many times, falling in love with wolves and grizzlies. We kayaked the Baja Coast and saw blue whales and the BC coast chasing orcas. We visited Oman and went dolphin watching – literally surrounded by thousands of happy dolphins. We had a couple of long weekends in New York arriving with empty suitcases only to fill them with shopping courtesy of the 2:1 exchange rate. All our savings went towards travel!
After five years in London we decided it was time to move on. We’d fallen in love with BC, Canada so we applied for permanent residency. While waiting for it to come through we moved back to New Zealand. We got married and bought a house. We continued our adventures locally, hiking the Routeburn Trail (see featured photo) and exploring the South Pacific.
When our Canadian residency was approved in 2011 we had to use it or lose it. So we decided to give it a go, why not?
As soon as we moved to Vancouver we knew we’d made the right decision. Relocating is always difficult. Leaving friends. Family. Familiarity. So, I ignore my emotions for six months when I move and trust they’ll always settle down. BC has become home. It’s a wilderness-lover’s paradise – full of forests, mountains, lakes, and the Pacific ocean.
We welcomed our son into the world in 2013 and travel has changed. But we are still out there. He made his first trip to Whistler at 4 weeks, the Canadian Rockies at 3 months and we just keep going. Travel is in our blood and it seems if we go more than a month without having been somewhere, even for a weekend, one of us gets itchy feet. Travel keeps us fresh (and hopefully young). We’re excited to show our little man the world. And we’ll keep seeking adventures feeling very lucky to live in a place where we can do it so easily.
Tracy Gillett is a passionate writer, mother and founder of the blog Raised Good. She’s on a mission to help new parents free themselves from the “rules” of modern parenthood. She also shares her family’s wild travel adventures at raisedgood.com. Tracy lives and writes in Vancouver, BC, with her husband and young son.