Four days and counting…

Erin and I are about to embark on the journey of our life.

I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world but the idea of going alone never appealed to me. I wanted someone with me, someone to share the experience with. Erin is that person for me, 100%. “Us against the world, let’s do this!”

In four days we leave on our expedition, starting in Tasmania, Australia, the curious island on the edge of the world.

Originally I had no desire to travel to Australia. The thought of all that can kill you; spiders, sharks, heat, spiders, waves, Russel Crowe, spiders, and rugby players…it terrified me.

Excited to start planning, we decided it would be a good idea to try work sharing and volunteer work to help cut down on costs so we started looking for hosts through a site called WorkAway. As we searched for hosts in different countries a listing on the sidebar caught my eye, “Help out and learn the art of ukulele making (Luthiery) in Tasmania, Australia”. As I read the host information, I was looking past my fears and growing more excited at the experience this could be.

The host takes you through the whole process of making a ukulele: saw milling, preparing timber for components, and building the actual stringed instruments. I am captivated by the look and beautiful nature of wood, the art of woodworking, and hold music close to my soul; I felt like we could be great friends with this host. He’s also into bee keeping, tea tree oil distilling, essential oil making and in the early days of soap and lotion making. Erin and I have been talking about trying to make soap recently and we both use essential oils quite regularly.

I immediately told Erin that we need to go to Australia to stay with this host, and we added Australia to the list as our first stop.

We started planning more of the trip and together came up with all the stops we wanted to make. Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Greece, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

We reached out to the ukulele making host in Australia and within 12 hours we had a reply! He read our profile and was ready to welcome us into his life in Tasmania. We replied back with joy and excitement and inquired further about details with accommodations, food, and distance to other cities. He wanted to make sure we were not just filling our time there and that we were committed to helping him out. We contacted the host back with reassurance of our commitment, excitement and a few more questions then told him we were ready to book our flights. He advised us to book away but didn’t really answer any of our questions. We were not too sure what to think of that but we decided to move forward with booking the flights.

With some research on flight costs and speaking with a travel agent, we were able to find a great price. We fly from Regina to Calgary to LA to Melbourne, then take a ferry to Devonport, Tasmania.

We were ready to send our host a message letting him know we had booked our flights but we received word from him first.

“Hey guys, have had some major problems with scheduling and people who were already booked had to change flights and timing. Will have to cancel our time together.

We were a bit disappointed and frustrated but we didn’t make a big deal over it, things happen. I know we will run into snags along the way and things will not always work out, but that is part of life and the experiences. The fact that my fears were suppressed by the thought of being able to have an amazing experience has changed my perspective.

We’ve since then been able to book with a different host and they will be our first stop once we get to Tasmania…stay tuned!

3 Responses

  1. Leta Thurmeier says:

    Really enjoyed reading your blog entry Mark! never knew you had a fear of spiders.. lol, so glad you are embracing all the experiences this wonderful opportunity has in store for you! looking forward to your next entry! wishing you the very best…

  2. Dmitriy Evstigneyev says:

    Hi Mark,
    Was really surprised when Connie said you had asked for leave of absence to have a trip around the world! That’s the spirit!!! Wish you and Erin safe travel and strongly recommend to change your route a little bit in order to swing by to my home country – Uzbekistan. You can do let’s say Thailand-Uzbekistan-Greece. I’d bet you would fall in love with national cuisine and be impressed by ancient architecture of ancient towns like Samarkand and Bukhara.

  1. November 11, 2018

    […] Mark’s first post, he alluded to what would be our first WorkAway experience. In the months prior to leaving for […]

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