We all daydream from time to time about faraway lands, daring adventures, and breathtaking sights. It's the people, however, that forge ahead to the unknown who truly captivate our imagination. We have all heard the famous line by Robert Frost that “two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” In this 'Meet A Travel Writer' series, I want to talk firsthand to these individuals who have done just that and find out how they made it all happen.
I first came across Candice's story when I read her piece on "Losing A Loved One While On The Road", which you can read here. After looking at more of her work I saw another kindred soul who found her own path to making traveling part of her life. It's these kinds of inspiring people that I want to keep showing to the world, not to tell you what to do, but to show you that you can make your life, YOUR life.
So meet Candice.
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I'm Candice Walsh, a 28-year-old travel writer and Newfoundlander living on the east coast of Canada. I have an affinity for nachos, kittens, junk reality television, books and bookstores, and run-down tiny pubs with lots of character. I like travel too. That's pretty important.
What was the first trip you took abroad? What was your inspiration?
I wasn't raised in a very wealthy family, so I never left my island until I was 21 years old. I did a university semester in Harlow, England. It was the best opportunity for me: affordable, and the more well-travelled folks could hold my hand during terrifying ordeals like London underground rides and Heathrow airport. It was a grand decision.
What is the biggest thing you have learned about yourself while traveling?
I'll travel alone if I have to, but I'm more keen on traveling with friends or like-minded individuals. I like people. I'm an extrovert.
What is one place you have been that was completely different to what you expected it would be?
I didn't expect much from Bosnia & Herzegovina when I visited this summer, but it's probably my favourite Balkan country so far. It was cheap, stunning, and the people were wonderful. Plus I learned a great deal about the Yugoslavian War. I'm still kinda blown away by the first-person accounts I heard while visiting.
Looking back now, was it a blessing in disguise when you got laid off?
Oh, for sure. I was so miserable at that job, but I doubt I would have ever had the balls to quit. I remember coming home from work one day and slicing my finger on a tin can, and suddenly it felt like the world was going to explode, and so I sat in a chair and sobbed. It was a breaking point. My lay off came not long after. I felt I owed that company something. It was a bit of a slap in the face to realize how disposable I was.
What are one or two “bucket list” destinations that you are eager to go to?
I ticked off my biggest one this year -- Greece! I'm eager to get back to the Balkans, but I've got my sights set on Portugal and Spain next. I like Europe. I'm working on finding a European husband. So far it hasn't gone well.
How do you afford your travels?
I work and travel at the same time. I'm fortunate to have several clients back home in Newfoundland and Labrador. My income comes from a million different places, and I do a lot of extra work like copy writing, editing, etc. It's not always an easy balance, but it gets done.
Are you a nomad for life? Why? Why not?
I suspect wanderlust never really dies, but I do want a settled lifestyle with a family at some point. Plus my ultimate goal has never been to be a huge traveller...I've always wanted to be a published author. That's a little hard to do when you're on the move.
Lastly, for those planning or considering their very first trip, what advice do you have for them? And where would you recommend they go?
Go anywhere! If the world scares you, maybe start in Europe. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to hop on a guided tour. As long as you're comfortable. Hell, I just did two tours with Med Experience and they were incredible. There's no RIGHT way to travel. Do what you feel is best.
Candice Walsh is currently an editor at Matador Network. After being laid off a couple of years ago, she's been traveling the world ever since and not looking back. Her Twitter bio says it all: "Professional experience collector, travel fiend, Matador Network editor, MatadorU Lead Writing Faculty, NFLD blogger, all around badass".