How It All Started

Welcome to my blog! I figured it would be a good idea to introduce myself. My name is Shanise. I was born and raised in western Canada on the prairies. In case your wondering, yes we do get a lot of snow and it does get insanely cold. My traveling itch started at a young age. I have lots of fond memories of traveling with my family to Disney World, the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver, and to various places across both Canada and the United States. 

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When I got to high school, I was in a summer camp called Street Invaders. It was a three week Christian based camp where we spent the first week in ‘boot camp’, where we met our teams, learned about evangelism, and ate lots of food. The second week we went out on our missions, where we worked with marginalized groups and did lots of volunteer work. You had a choice on whether to stay local or to go abroad. In my first year, I did a local mission and then in the following years, I went to Australia and to South Africa. I truly had some of the best times at Street Invaders and met so many great people around the world.

In 2011 I got a very unique opportunity to go to India with my grandfather. He is a pastor and had been going to India for a few years before I went with him. He worked very closely with a few locals who he had met years ago to help build a Bible school, taught classes, and did fundraising with his local church for various different causes in India. My grandma really hated going to India and so my grandpa asked me if I wanted to go instead. It was a hard sell for my mom since I was only 15 at the time and I would be missing school. After what seemed like forever my mom agreed, thankfully the church/grandparents paid for most of my way there and my school gave me my homework in advance. I actually did better in math on my own than in the classroom, so I did that distanced learning before it was cool. We were in India for a total of three weeks and then went to Scotland for a week where we met up with some distant cousins that toured us around. India was a total culture shock as I had to learn to shower with a bucket, my hair was never going to dry, I could in fact live off of fruit (I really don’t like curry), pedestrians don’t have any right away at all, and yes I did go pee in a hole in the ground. There were lots of times I wondered what I was doing there, but I also had lots of great times like when I got dressed in a sari for a graduation, unloaded my suitcase of all the stuff I brought for an orphanage, and got to play with those kids, and learned about local culture. The trip to Scotland was also super great and I definitely fell in love with the country (do I sense some foreshadowing?).

Another one of my adventures was with my high school Christian ethics class where we went on a volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic. We fundraised for just about two years and all took extra suitcases of supplies to leave down there. While down there we painted houses for poor communities, worked in sugar cane fields and learned about the process of how it’s made, and also went to orphanages where we played with children. 

I can’t say I was a complete philanthropist and went on all-volunteer trips, I also went to Italy on a week-long trip with my high school and went on a grad trip with my family to the United Kingdom. What was special about this trip is that we took my almost 90-year-old great-grandmother who was an English war bride that had married a Canadian soldier. It was so beautiful being able to be with her and relive all of her stories. Our two-week bus trip started in London and went all through London, Wales, Scotland, and we took a ferry to Ireland. We were even able to meet up with some relatives that my grandma hadn’t seen in a very long time.

I was very fortunate to be able to do all of this traveling so young and where some of it was paid for or fundraising was done, I did pay for most myself. I worked a lot of hours as a waitress at a local restaurant and saved money as best I could. If you’re a young person reading this or know a young person, I highly suggest doing whatever you can to search out travel opportunities. You learn so much about budgeting, being patient and humble, and learn more about the world we live in. The travel itch is definitely real. The past few years I haven’t been able to do as much traveling due to university and starting my career, but now my husband and I are living in Scotland for a year or two while he is pursuing higher education. It has been a dream of mine to live abroad for a while so that we could live differently and be immersed in a different area. It has been difficult with Covid but we had planned this before crap hit the fan and we weren’t going to let that deter us. Things don’t always work out the way we want them too but you can’t let that get you down. Maybe someday I’ll settle down a bit and go spend a week in Mexico on the beach but for now, I want to explore and do as much as I can. The world is too big to sit in one place for too long.  Let’s be real, I really suck at keeping a written travel journal, it’s just something I can’t get into. So my hope for this blog is to help me keep all my memories and adventures in one place and to hopefully help someone else on their adventures.

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