I always knew I wanted to travel. When I was little, I would spend my days on our family farm pretending to be a princess in a faraway land. When I think back on it now, that imaginary land looked like somewhere in the UK. I’ve always felt this connection to England, Scotland, and Ireland in particular. I can’t explain it, but at a very young age I felt like I was meant to go there. I’m not sure if it’s because of my English/Irish ancestry or what, but visiting the UK is number one on my bucket list.
My parents didn’t have a ton of extra cash when I was a kid, so I never got to experience these places. We lived on the prairies in Alberta, only an hour from the Rockies, so we usually spent our vacations camping. Which was still awesome! I loved camping, and these memories are some of the best from my childhood
When I met my husband Robb, I expressed my need to go to the UK very early on in our relationship. Although he didn’t feel “called” to visit Ireland as I did, he definitely wanted to go there. We talked a lot about backpacking, staying in hostels, etc. We didn’t have much money back then, so we weren’t sure how we were going to make it happen, but it was fun to dream.
But, it’s not like we spent all of our time sitting around at home. We spent our summers camping or houseboating in BC. He even bought me my first ever plane ticket and we flew to Vancouver with friends. Although these were really fun and exciting trips, I still felt this lingering pull to those little pieces of land across the Atlantic. After we got married and had more established careers and income, we started to talk seriously about going.
Life Gets in the Way of Dreams
One awful day in May 2008, I ended up in the emergency room because I was losing vision in my right eye. This was the beginning of my MS diagnosis.
I was 26. I knew I wanted a family, but I didn’t know what my future was going to be. We were going to wait until I was 30 to have kids, and we were planning on doing a lot of travel before that. Eventually we decided that we would start trying for a baby. A few months later (after another medical condition was discovered) I was pregnant. A year after my MS diagnosis, I gave birth to our first daughter, Rowyn. We were so happy, and she was a very easy baby (don’t hate me!).
Going to Europe got put on the backburner while we focused on being new parents. A lot happened in the next few years. Robb changed careers, we built a brand-new house (our realistic dream house). Luckily, I stayed healthy through all this. We managed to get some trips in here and there, usually to BC, camping with my parents. Then in 2011 I became pregnant with our second daughter, Elia. She was born in June of 2012 and we quickly learned that 2 kids are much more difficult than one.
Elia was a bit more of a challenge as a baby, but we did take her to Moyie Lake, BC when she was only 6 weeks old to our first Airbnb rental. We found that Airbnb’s were a great option for us and managed to go to a different one every summer after she was born. Every year it got a bit easier as the kids got older. This year was our biggest trip so far. We flew to Victoria and spent 10 days at a cottage in Port Renfrew. It was the first time our kids had taken a plane, and they were awesome travellers.
So that brings us to today. This morning, Robb bought 4 plane tickets to Scotland. We are leaving on Elia’s birthday next year and we plan on spending 2 weeks in Scotland, and 2 weeks in Ireland. My dreams are finally becoming a reality. I can’t wait to share all my planning (and anxieties) with you!