A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas & the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? This whole travel life. The coming & going frequently, the moving towns often & regularly. The fact that we will rarely live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. So when I meet people who share this same passion I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them.
Canadians abroad are not a rare occurrence. You'll find us soaking up all the sun (to make up for years of horrid winters) in Australia. Getting our hike on in New Zealand while saying "the rockies ain't got nothing on this place". And you'll find us here in the UK wondering how the hell life stops when it does more than just rain during the winter. Nevertheless, we're everywhere and we tend to run into each other, even if not in person but online. Cue the meeting between Olivia and myself last year (I think), Instagram had us following each other, and while she's in London & I'm in Bristol we have yet to meet..we're working on that! She's been living in the UK for several years now & taking serious advantage of having Europe as her backyard (I'm seriously jealous, and want to do exactly what she has done) for hat reason & so many more Olivia from LivOnAShoestring is this month's WanderWoman!
Alright girl, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
Yo! My name is Olivia but my friends call me Liv. I’m from beautiful Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada and have been living in the UK for almost 4 years now! I run the blog called Liv on a Shoestring which chronicles my travels and expat life across 4 continents and over 45 countries! :)
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a pretty open book ha, but I think people would be surprised to know that I’m learning ukulele right now! I got one for Christmas and have been (slowly) watching YouTube videos to pick it up!
(Repping Canda even in Nepal)
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
Yes always. I was lucky that my family always went on really fun holidays when I was younger; mostly across the Maritimes in Canada and the US. When I went to university, I really wanted to get away from the small corner of the world I grew up in and was able to get internships in Kelowna, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and studied French for a summer in Quebec City - my favourite place in the whole world! Ever since then I’ve been trying to buy the next flight out!
You’ve been an expat in the UK for the past few years, so tell us what top 3 things do you miss most about Canada?
This is easy:
DILL PICKLES!!!! OMG I could cry with the lack of dill in this country. I miss it so much I would consider going home just for a jar of Bicks. I’ve been given jars of pickles for my birthday before hehehe
The kindness and friendliness of the people. In Halifax, where I’m from, everyone knows everyone and always smiles and greets you as you walk down the street. I really miss that. I’ve lived in my current flat for almost a year and I’ve never spoken to my neighbours and I think that’s sad. One time in my borough there was a campaign by the council that had posters at bus stops saying ‘it doesn’t hurt anyone to smile. Be kind to your neighbours.’ I couldn’t believe it.
Lakes and oceans to swim in. There’s no better way to beat the heat then by lounging by the water.
(Durdle Door, UK)
And in turn what 3 things do you wish Canada would adopt from England?
The government doing your tax return for you. God it’s SO painful to do that at home!
Sunday pub roasts.
How do you decide where to travel to?
Right now, my bucket list is to visit every country in Europe (only 14 to go!!), so I normally book my flights based off of locations I haven’t been to yet. But, I have one golden rule when it comes to travel within Europe - and for 99% of the time I’ve been able to stick to it. I won’t book anything if its costs more than £50 return! So sometimes that means that I’m visiting countries in the offseason, but I think you get more of a feel for the place that way.
What is your travel style?
I’m all about budget travel because I’m just soooo cheap (I get it from my Dad). I’ve been wanting to get more involved in slow travel but unfortunately due to annual leave restrictions, I’m a bit limited. I really like going to the lesser known places/regions. I have a big crush on Eastern Europe and hope to travel more of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia!
What motivated you start LivOnAShoestring?
I have a degree in Public Relations and I really love telling people’s stories. I started my blog mostly because I wanted to keep my friends and family in the know of where I was, but also to show people it is actually affordable to do. For professional purposes too, I use the blog as a sort of portfolio of content marketing examples.
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
‘PUT THE MICHAEL KORS BAG DOWN AND BUY A FLIGHT INSTEAD!!!’
Also - stop being such a priss.
Best & worst travel moment?
Best: My best travel moment is actually more of an expat accomplishment. It’s really fucking hard here sometimes and reflecting back on my last 4 years in London, I’ve been able to accomplish so much in a really short time. I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately but I’ve started to pay more attention and focus on what I have done and not what I haven’t. In the age of Brexit, you never really know what’s going to happen and the future for me right now is up in the air but I know that whatever happens next, the adventure isn’t over.
Worst: I flew in Bosnia and Herzegovina last May over the Bank Holiday and had a disastrous time getting back. My bus to the airport was delayed which caused a chain reaction resulting in me missing my flight (which was also delayed and still sitting on the tarmac….), having to get home via 3 countries and missing a day of work. Thankfully, I met an incredibly kind local girl and her family who helped me get to the bus station to buy a ticket to Croatia, and met a Croatan couple who helped me get to an ATM just in the nick of time to buy my next bus ticket, and a group of people I met on the bus who let me use their wifi to wire money to my friend in London to book me a flight back. It was a 48 hour nightmare.
What’s next for you/the blog?
That is the million dollar question! Literally, who knows! Ha. Stay tuned to find out!
Famous Last words for all the wanderers out there...
Cover the earth before it covers you.
To keep up with Olivia and all her adventures be sure to check out her social channels below!