I have recently been dealing with the constant and nagging feeling of anxiousness. I have emptied my home, finished up at my job, said most of my goodbyes and packed my bag. All there is left to do now is wait. and wait. and wait. and wait.

Seeing as I have adapted the "western world" work-ethic,meaning I find it hard to truly and completely find satisfaction in relaxation, I am constantly feeling anxious.
have I packed the right things? | do we have enough money? | what will we do?

I had just accepted that this was now my way of life until we finally embarked on this trip in a few weeks. I accepted that I would have endless nights of restless sleep with constant thoughts racing through my head. I had actually begun having middle of the night mini workouts in an attempt to exhaust my body so much that I would simply pass out.
(a challenging thing to do when you don't have your own room in your own home). Sadly, these mini workouts, although they are keeping me semi-fit, had not been helping. So, each night I lie awake, thought after thought racing through my head, did I email that person back? what will I do with my cellphone? did I actually put the visa paper with my passport? oh crap.. where's my passport?

appealing  right??

Then, on my long trip back to Ottawa to visit my family, I randomly opted to pack my recently untouched book, "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Originally I had bought this book sometime back when I was in a very low place. I was searching for something, anything, to pull me out of my misery. But I knew the answer wasn't a thing. It had to come from me. So, to the self-help section I went. And I have to say, sure there are some kooky, crazy self-help books out there, but once in awhile you find a goody! And this one is
just that. A powerful book! I had read about 50 pages and that was enough to pump me full of confidence in my ability to take care of myself, and be the one to make myself happy!

I hadn't touched this book since that time. Which makes for some interesting thoughts floating through my head as I opened it and read through the many underlined phrases in the first 50 pages. If you haven't read it, and are able to open your perspective to a new concept, than I suggest you give it a try!

I have intrepreted the teachings of this book to associate well with my current theme of this trip: Gratitude!

As I wander about like a little squirrel, gathering all of my belongings, shoving them into this container or that, ensuring each little piece is put away somewhere or other, I can't help but notice that I'm not very sad. I'm not sad to put my things away for an extended, undetermined about of time. I'm not sad to sit in my almost naked room and see minimal amounts of my own things. Over the years and through many many moves, I've learned and trained myself to treat things just as that, things. There are the few that have sentimental value, and those you treat well, but even those, are still just things. I feel that you can gain the sentimental good feelings from a thing, keep them within your heart, and then release the attachment to the thing. Therefore, if there were ever a fire and everything you owned burned to a crisp, of course you'd be upset, but not nearly as deeply to the core as if you truly believed that you need to have each thing in your hand to truly understand the value of it. 

Anyways, enough talk about things. I want to talk about people! As I'm being a busy little squirrel, and seeing that I seem to work best under pressure, of course I've left a lot to the last minute, I'm noticing a lot of love and support around me, as well as sadness. People are sad to see me go. This brings two emotions to me, one: gratitude, that I have had the joy of influencing their life enough that they will notice my departure, and two: excitement! Even though I know I will hit that homesick stage, and of course I will miss my amazing friends and support network, I just...can't... wait!!! At this moment, I don't miss anybody and I don't feel sad. I am excited to let go of things I don't know. I am excited to move past the lifestyle that I have here, and move onto a new one. Maybe I'll like this new one more, maybe I won't? Nothing but time will tell. 

I am taking extra steps to reach out to those that I love and let them know that, even though I may not be showing it, I am going to miss them, I just need some time to miss them! I am asking everyone for their mailing addresses because a. it feels good to receive a piece of snail mail that isn't a bill and b. it's a simple and enjoyable way that I can remind them of how much they mean to me! I wouldn't have the strength, courage or ability to be going on such an amazing trip without my support network! They are amazing!

So as everyone is saying goodbye to me, I will be saying  hello to New Zealand. Looking forward to a life unknown. :-D 
Mental Preparation... for what? For continuous stress? For overwhelmingly uncomfortable places? For crowds and crowds of people you've never met. For accents, and different foods, and weird weather? For the most amazing experience you may ever have outside of your comfort zone? How does one mentally prepare themselves for the unknown?

As I sit, sipping my morning coffee, contemplating this trip that is about to begin, I can't help but dive into the thoughts of, are Luke and I 'traveler' material? I have done some traveling in my day. I am no-where near a self-proclaimed 'traveler'; however, I have lived out of a backpack for some time, and I have roughed-it in a few foreign countries. Luke has not. 

Curiosity #1 - I have a general understanding of what to expect.. and how to expect the unexpected.. and I believe that Luke does too.. but how much can one truly know and anticipate the unexpected without actually having experienced something similar in the past?

Guess how we plan to find out... by doing. Luke and I have both spent many many years of our lives working towards something, whether it be post-secondary, our careers, saving money, etc. For the first time in our so far short but full lives, we are both consciously choosing to step back, take a break, relax, and allow ourselves to PLAY!! This decision is one that I am most proud of. It takes a lot of work to:

a. prove to yourself that you can make it in the real world enough so that you are comfortable taking a break from the real world. 

b. remove yourself from the real world with enough confidence in yourself and your plans that you are truly having an adventure.. just.. for.. you! It's about self exploration. About self  realization. About fun! 

I guess it's time to dive into how, why, when, where and who Sweet Dea and Dukey are. 
Showing Luke my University on our road trip up for Thanksgiving 2011
In August of 2009, I packed up my life in Prince George where I had been living and playing for 4+ years studying at UNBC and took a leap of faith! Joined by my good friend Lyndsey, we set out to create a new life for ourselves on the little island that could.. Vancouver Island. The City of Victoria had always been a bit of a haven for me as I used to visit my aunt on a regular basis as a child, and it was always my space of freedom. Not in the sense that my aunt let me do anything I wanted.. in the sense that, she allowed me to be exactly who I was. It excited me that I could go to the store in my pajamas.. and not run into a single person that I know! And that I could talk to my aunt about any and everything that was running through my mind, and she never treated me as a child. She treated my problems and concerns as though they truly were just that, legit problems and concerns. As a kid, this feels pretty good! 

So as Lyndsey and I packed up everything we owned, packed up the vehicles, packed up the memories, and we set off for our new home and our new lifestyle. We both had family living on the island, which was definitely a nice reassuring feeling when moving to a brand new city where you basically don't know a soul. 

Lucky for me I had Kate. Kate and I had been friends since our fun days of being volunteer co-councillors at Camp Potlatch when we were 15. She was attending UVic at the time and as it turns out, we ended up living in the same neighbourhood, within walking distance from each other! Woohoo!!   
Luke, Tyler and Kate in the early years
Also lucky for me, Kate lived with two boys, both of whom I'd never met.. and both of whom were quite easy on the eyes.. bonus! This is how I met Luke. He was one of the hunky roommates. We all spent many nights playing board games and drinking beers together, just being ridiculous and enjoying life. From day one there was chemistry between Luke and I, we had a lot of fun together and our relationship basically consisted of sharing a love of laughter. We kept it to just friends for quite some time and built a strong base foundation for our friendship. We sure had seen all sides of each other in that time. Which I think is the key to us having a healthy relationship now.  

campfire non-stop laughter
Fast forward to today, we are one of those ridiculously supportive couples that talk to each other all day long about how our days are going and even though I know nothing about electrical, and he knows nothing about whatever it is that I do, we support each other! This is my favourite part. And we laugh. I lied.. that's my favourite part! 

A while ago when I was single and enjoying life on my own in Victoria, I contemplated what it was that I needed from a man to make me happy.. Of course every woman has her list; hunky, dreamy, active, loving, blah blah blah (okay maybe most lists don't include the terms "hunky" or "dreamy", but mine sure does!) But my number one, the one thing that if it wasn't there, it would never last, and I'd never be truly happy, regardless of all the other pieces... is laughter. If you can't make me laugh.. I'm not interested. 

Lucky for me, there have been countless nights when I genuinely have been in an absolute fit of laughter with Luke.. over absolutely nothing.. just him.. being him.. and I love it! so much! it's perfect.  

roadtrippin' eats

    Help Me Stay In Touch With YOU!

    In true Deanna fashion.. I assume that even though I am taking a book of addresses with me, it will become challenging for me to keep up with the where-abouts of said book. If you would be so kind as to fill out this form.. all information is sent immediately to my confidential email and I will not share the information with anyone else.. I can always ensure that I have a copy of your current address. (let's be honest.. a lot of you are likely to change your home address within the next year!) 

    ...                                                                     ...

    If you don't already know, I am a huge support of the joys of snail mail!!!  ...and thus, I intend to send countless postcards and letters back to Canada (and a few to the states, you know who you are).  So please, help me out and ensure that you will receive a beautiful something in the mail, to let you know that I am thinking of you! 

    Thanks :) 

If there was ever a moment not to back out of travel plans because you're scared.. I'd say after dropping a couple G's on your credit card for flights and travel insurance is that time! Lucky for me.. there is zero hesitation inside of me. Literally.. I feel completely happy and satisfied and content with our decision to move to New Zealand. There's nothing holding me back. I'm filled with anticipation and an itching to get going.

In two weeks I will finish up at my job, move out of my house (all the big stuff is going into storage - if you need storage in Victoria...check out U-Pak Mobile Mini Storage) travel to Ottawa to spend a week visiting my family, say goodbye to friends in Victoria, say goodbye to friends in Vancouver, and then... zoom zoom zoom!!


Can't Wait! :)

.:: i booked my flights through Flight Centre and they were fantastic. I've been told you are more likely to get the best deal if you actually work with an agent, instead of solo flight searching online.. so give them a call! ::.

As I allow myself to dive further and further into planning every little detail about my trip, I can't help but spend most of my time still thinking of what to bring.  After pretty much months of contemplation.. I opted to purchase my very first pair of Lululemon pants! 

i'm pretty tight with my money.. so near $100 on a pair of pants is a big deal for me!! :D
So, yesterday I set out in the rain for downtown Victoria, gumboots on, money in hand, ready to complete a first! Go me!
I decided on a pair of crop pants, basically a set of really nice, thick tights. My goal with these pants is to get my full monies worth and genuinely wear them nearly every single day on this trip! They are very versatile. If paired with boots and a long sweater.. boom.. dressy. If paired with running shoes and a big shirt.. boom.. exercise gear.. if paired with socks and a cozy sweatshirt.. boom.. lounge-wear.  

They are incredibly comfortable and so far my consumer satisfaction is phenomenal!  Come on travel date! I'm ready!

So last night I decided it was time to start the preliminary stages of packing. It has been an ongoing concern of mine that I would get over-excited, as I tend to do, and bring waaay too much and all the wrong things. So I've been doing some research.I've been asking everyone I know, "what the heck and i going to NEED?"

The problem with this system is... everyone travels different!

Yes I'll be taking a backpack and be 'roughing it' a bit, but we're also going to be living in New Zealand, likely for an entire year. I'll be working, playing, relaxing, missing home.. there are a lot of items that could assist with each of those activities. However.. I am NOT going to be that girl who has the backpack, the suitcase, the travel bag, etc, etc, etc.

My goal with packing... pack light and enjoy a minimalistic lifestyle!

Living in one place for an extended period of time, with lots of space in your home for decorative pieces, extra items, etc, it makes it very easy to continuously accumulate more and more stuff. But in the end.. it's just that.. stuff.  No one really needs any stuff.

So.. with this trip.. I will take myself to a more simple lifestyle where all I need are some good comfy, useful clothes, my laptop, and my man! :)
Just over a year ago I found myself at a crossroads in life, not feeling as though anything was compelling me to stay in the beautiful city of Victoria, but also not sure if packing up and travelling around by myself was the right move. Lucky for me I had a mentor that helped me see through the urge to flee and I stayed put for one more year. In this past year I have learned an incredible amount about myself both professionally, and personally. I knew a trip was in my future, I just didn't know when or where. So I took those few dollars I had been saving and put them away, continued adding to them, with that thought that one day, they would be necessary. 

that day has come :D and I couldn't be happier. 

There is one major component to this trip that I didn't realize I was missing a year ago.
And I learned this at the Noodle Box

One lunch hour I was pleasantly greeted by my boyfriend at work and we decided to go for lunch at the Noodle Box. After waiting for food, casually chatting about life and work and how our days were going, we sat down to chow down. In between mouthfuls, as is usual, I was jabbering and nannering on about everything and anything that popped into my head. I went off on a tangent for a bit about how I was going to go to New Zealand.. this was my destination.. I could feel it.. it was coming, and sometime soon! Then it occurred to me... If I were to go to New Zealand and embark on this vast journey on my own.. Luke wouldn't be with me. 

So then, without really thinking it through, out came the words "come with me!"  

Luke hesitated a bit, came up with a few weak reasons as to why he shouldn't and then *poof* we entered planning mode! When could we go? How long could we go for? What would we do? How much money would we need? and on.. and on.. and on..

This was the beginning of the trip sweet dea and dukey take on the kiwis
and it all began at the Noodle Box.
I'd say the very beginning of our actual trip planning began on a Saturday morning, sipping coffee and silently giggling to ourselves about the prospect of actually embarking on a move across the globe. Luke set out to call his boss and break the news, I browsed every and any New Zealand website I could find and we continuously passed glances of excitement between each other. Life couldn't be more exciting.

Than it dawned on me... to leave the country, one must have a valid...
So, we both enjoyed one more calm sip of delicious weekend morning coffee and *poof* we turned on Extreme Dea and Dukey  mode. I grabbed every piece of identification I could find, we piled into the car, grabbed Luke's information, and then searched and searched and searched for parking downtown Victoria on a Saturday. After finally finding a spot, we literally ran to the mall, searched out the passport office at the top of the building, got told very rudely that we are 'no exception and everyone must wait in line', took a number and *poof* sat down to wait. dum de dum de, tick tick tick... we really began to feel the morning caffeine going to waste at this point. 

So after hours of waiting, filling out the paper work, waiting, re-filling out the paper work, and waiting some more, we finally were able to complete our passport renewal applications. Lucky for us I trusted my intuition that it was worth it to wait all day and hand the application to a person, rather than fill it out, likely wrong, mail it off, and then have it returned a few weeks later learning that you now must do it all over again. This played a crucial time-saving role when it came time to apply for our New Zealand Working Holiday Visas