Wanderings & Ramblings

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Happy Easter & Update

Happy Easter everyone! 

You would think that not writing on here would be because I have been incredibly busy, and I would have lots to write about. In fact, I have been quite busy – but not with anything too interesting… I have mostly been consumed by work and school.

I want this blog to not just be about my life, but to be about adventures, travel, living life to the fullest. And at this moment, I don’t feel like any of those are my life.

So, for now, I may be away for a little bit. BUT – I am going to be back very soon with some adventures, I hope. I have some plans for some adventures and travels in the near future and I am excited to write about them.

For anyone still even looking at this page, thanks for sticking around and being patient with me. Life has its ups and downs, and after the amazing adventures I had last year, this year has been a little bit of a down so far. It has been an entire year since I was living in Ireland, having perhaps the best 6 months of my life. It’s been hard being home and not going on adventures like before – but I hope that will change very soon…

So for now: May the road rise up to meet ya

From

JH

P.S. – for anyone interested, I’m going to put a link to the articles I have written for the UFV Cascade under my Links tab! 

2015: A Year in Review

Recently, lots of people have been posting pictures and Facebook statuses to express how they felt about this year. So, why not recap how my year has been?

It has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions – I am thankful, remorseful, saddened and happy when looking back on 2015.

The beginning of this year brought me some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. I flew to Ireland, ready for adventure and meeting new people. It’s funny – I went with Brittany, someone I had only met twice before taking a 17 hour journey with. And after that, we became best friends. I couldn’t be happier to have her in my life as my friend, former Ireland roommate, and fellow traveller and adventurer. I think the transition was much easier for both of us, experiencing those first freezing cold nights far from home and having someone – even just a little bit familiar – while meeting so many new people.

And thus began probably the best 6 months of my life. Going to school in Ireland was an adventure in itself. 100% finals, classes cancelled all the time, and having classes only the 2 first days of the week. It was an experience I’m glad to have had. The parties and get-togethers are all so memorable, each one sticking out in my mind for specific reasons – like the time I got locked outside on the roof, or the first international students party, or even the very first party we had at our place (the one that security came to).

Exploring Waterford - JulieHuff.com
Brittany and I wandering Waterford
Standing on the edge of the Cliffs with my amazing friends - too many incredible memories!
Standing on the edge of the Cliffs with my amazing friends – too many incredible memories!
At The Dome! Awesome live music and people. (photo cred: Bert)
At The Dome! Awesome live music and people. (photo cred: Bert)
Lovin the Eiffel Tower
Lovin the Eiffel Tower

I had the best time because of the people I met. I am so thankful to have met incredible, smart, amazing friends from around the world. And honestly, there are too many of you to name – but you guys know who you are, and the hilarious and amazing memories that we have.

Of course, it was because of a lot of these amazing friends that I had incredible adventures. Brittany and I were lucky to travel each weekend with great people – going to Kilkenny, Tramore, Dunmore East, Blarney, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Kerry, Wexford, and so many more. As I wrote in posts earlier this year, I was lucky to travel around Ireland on one of my weeks off from school. We went to so many amazing places, including Cahir, Cashel, Limerick, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, and Inis Mor. Guys, even though we had only known each other for a couple weeks, that trip was amazing!

On my second week off, I travelled with Brittany, Bert and Carlos through 5 European cities, before going to Nice by myself. We had a couple bumps in our travels – almost missing trains, getting a little lost, and I got sick with food poisoning – but it was an incredible adventure! I think it was one of the best trips, as we all got along so well and never had disagreements.

Ireland was one of the greatest experiences of my life – I got to fulfill my dreams of travelling to Europe, living abroad, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. But it definitely had its bumps along the way. The first few days were incredibly hard, as I had no internet and no way to contact my family. However, Brittany was amazing and the people there were super helpful. The hardest moment was when I learned that my Gramma had passed away back home. Before I left, she had been in and out of the hospital with a heart attack and health problems. I knew it was a possibility, and I was scared that it would happen – but she always pushed me to go after my dreams. I was lucky to Skype with her a few times before she passed away. It was definitely hard going through this by myself, missing the funeral and being so far away from all of my family. I tried to stay positive, and a few of my friends were incredibly supportive – I think it would have been much harder without you guys being there for me, making sure I was alright, so thank you.

After my semester ended, my brother, Zach, and my long time best friend, Kirstin, came to meet me. We would start our 6 week adventure in Ireland before travelling to 12 countries, 17 cities, and countless famous landmarks and places. This trip had a few more bumps than previous ones, and I had to learn to travel a little differently. It’s interesting how travel changes when you are travelling with people you haven’t known very long, compared to people you have known your entire life. We had so many hilarious moments and adventures, inside jokes from the trip, and we met so many cool people. I was lucky enough to meet up with many of my friends I had met in Ireland, and I got to introduce them to Zach and Kirstin. I am incredibly grateful to have had the adventure, and to have shared it with so many amazing friends, new and old.

The wind at the Cliffs of Moher was ridiculous - & provided great entertainment!
The wind at the Cliffs of Moher was ridiculous – & provided great entertainment!
Our adventure group for the trip to Montserrat. It was so much fun hanging out with all these guys!
Our adventure group for the trip to Montserrat. It was so much fun hanging out with all these guys!
Chilling on the palace wall with an amazing view of Budapest.
Chilling on the palace wall with an amazing view of Budapest.
Our new friends in Prague! Had so much fun hanging out those days with you guys. Great to meet you!
Our new friends in Prague! Had so much fun hanging out those days with you guys. Great to meet you!

When I got home, I was a part of my cousin’s lovely wedding. I was very lucky to be a part of a huge step into her new life with an amazing person. I am so happy for them. And then, my summer was mostly spent outdoors and with friends. I had multiple days of outdoor climbing and hiking, catching up with amazing friends, and trying to keep up with my friends in Europe and their lives.

Unfortunately, another tragedy occurred. My great aunt, the only remaining sibling from my Gramma’s family, passed away. She had been sick for some time, but it was still hard. My mom had been incredibly close to her when she had lived in Arizona, and their relationship had continued. I had been pen pals with my great aunt since I was little and had visited her in Arizona. I loved writing to her, and she was incredibly supportive and proud of everything I was doing. Her and my uncle were amazingly supportive of my travels and aspirations, and I was so thankful.

For the last few months, my life has been crazy with school and my two jobs – working at the rock climbing gym, and writing a blog about study abroad for the international office at UFV. Starting school again was a little stressful, as it was much more work than I had in Ireland. As I wrote in a previous post, I could have taken four courses and finished my degree. Being too stressed, I decided that I would take another semester. BUT – I did take one leap this semester, and wrote a few articles for my university newspaper, The Cascade. It was interesting to branch out to something new, and I really enjoyed it. I hope to write more for it this coming semester!

Annual Grey Cup party with the Waterbabies! (Or #WaterBaybees). Missing a few, but an awesome time.
Annual Grey Cup party with the Waterbabies! (Or #WaterBaybees). Missing a few, but an awesome time.
Vancouver Christmas Market with Brit!
Vancouver Christmas Market with Brit!
Stanley Park Bright Nights was amazing. Excited to go back for the Christmas train!
Stanley Park Bright Nights was amazing. Excited to go back for the Christmas train!
The beautiful Christmas lights in Stanley Park. An amazing night.
The beautiful Christmas lights in Stanley Park. An amazing night.

But I still tried to have a full social life, like I had in Ireland. It definitely wasn’t the same, but I had some great adventures. Especially in the past few weeks, having gone to Stanley Park, Vancouver Christmas Market, Victoria, skating, and bowling. I have gotten to catch up with many amazing friends, and to see my family for Christmas. I have even re-connected with some friends from high school, who I hadn’t seen in years, as we all had a common connection of having studied abroad. It was cathartic and amazing to hear their stories, share experiences, and reminisce on the hilarious adventures we all had since graduating high school!

Now, with New Year’s, I am thinking of what I would like to accomplish over the next year. I am excited to spend New Year’s with my family and great friends. I will then enter my final semester of university – both exciting and terrifying. I went straight from high school to university, and have been studying for 5 years. I am excited to have some time off from school. But I am terrified because I have no idea what I want to do – do I want to travel more? Live abroad again? Find a job around Vancouver? What kind of job do I even want?

I have never been one to have a goal or anything for the New Year. I never found them helpful. So I am going to pick broad ones: in 2016, I want to be happy and to find what I want to do. Hopefully this will include some more travels, meeting new people and experiencing new things, and staying in contact with the amazing friends I have now. But for now, I’m going to have a little fun to finish off a great year.

On the ferry to Victoria, we had a nice get away as a family just before Christmas.
On the ferry to Victoria, we had a nice get away as a family just before Christmas.
Braving the cold on the ferry for some fun with my dad!
Braving the cold on the ferry for some fun with my dad!
The Parliament buildings lit up - probably one of my favourite things about Victoria.
The Parliament buildings lit up – probably one of my favourite things about Victoria.
I went skating for the first time in 4 years! Definitely had a great time, and almost got knocked over.
I went skating for the first time in 4 years! Definitely had a great time, and almost got knocked over. Loved skating with my goddaughter!
It's always a great night with these guys! Evidence that siblings can all get along - and that we all kinda suck at bowling.
It’s always a great night with these guys! Evidence that siblings can all get along – and that we all kinda suck at bowling.
Love my goofy family. Would've made a great Christmas card. ;)
Love my goofy family. Would’ve made a great Christmas card. 😉

Lastly, though, I want to thank anyone and everyone who has read this blog over the last year. I appreciate your support through my travels and with my attempt to navigate the blogosphere. I apologize that it wasn’t very interesting sometimes – my life does that once in a while – and that I wasn’t very organized with my uploads. I would love to say that 2016 will be different, but there are no guarantees in life. And no matter how hard I try, my everyday life is not always an exciting adventure. But bear with me – I will still be posting on Instagram, Twitter and occasionally Facebook, and I hope to find more opportunities to write articles and blogs online. Thanks for the support and patience, and hopefully for sticking with me in the future!

May the road rise up to meet ya.

From

JH

P.S. – I was also excited to try something new this past semester. I wrote two articles for my university newspaper, The Cascade. I will put links to the articles here and here, just in case you would like to peruse them. 🙂 

Honestly

“You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.” – Pinterest

Vancouver Pride at the Whitecaps Soccer (football) match! Not the best game, but we had a great time.
Vancouver Pride at the Whitecaps Soccer (football) match! Not the best game, but we had a great time.

I knew that it would be hard coming home after 7 months away. I always knew. But I wasn’t sure how it would be exactly, just as I hadn’t been sure what it would be like to go abroad.

After being a little too stressed through the first few weeks of school, I made a big decision. Instead of stressing myself out this semester by taking a full course load, I chose, instead, to drop a class. What does this mean? Well, I will now have to take one more semester… I won’t be graduating in December, but in June instead.

And this is okay.

For my own sanity, this was a good move. With my two jobs and the courses I’m already taking, I have been quite busy. But I love my classes and jobs. Coaching again is the best – my athletes are so motivated and I am incredibly excited for this upcoming season! The climbing gym is doing well, with exciting things coming up. And I just published my first official post as editor of the UFV Study Abroad Blog, a post about my adventure. (If you’d like to see the post, click here! I will also be writing stories for other students as well. Check my Facebook or Twitter or something for updates!)

With an extra semester, I will be able to take some more interesting classes hopefully, and sort out exactly what I would like to do after I graduate.

Fun days with friends are the best! Had a blast going through Europe pics with this chica!
Fun days with friends are the best! Had a blast going through Europe pics with this chica!

The other day, I was watching an episode of Gilmore Girls, in which Rory expertly described what it is like for a student graduating from university: ‘it’s like standing on a cliff, looking into an abyss of fog. You can’t see anything ahead of you and you have no idea where to go. This is the first time in your life that nothing is planned for you and you don’t know what is coming next.’

I know that I am not the only person that feels this way, which makes me feel a thousand times better. Not knowing is terrifying yet exhilarating. You just have to hope that something will come for you, that is just what you’ve been looking for.

Right now I have few goals: to graduate, to find a job that I don’t hate, and to go back to Europe in two years. Keep it simple.

As for all of this political debate happening and the refugee crisis, I am not going to voice my opinion.

Finally, for those of you who know me well, I’ve lost a few people now who were important to me. Four years ago, at the end of September, I lost my cousin. It was incredibly unexpected and she was too young. It was hard on all of our family, but especially my aunt. It still hurts, but we know that she is watching over us, and I know that she was with me on all my adventures in Europe, taking it all in with me. Losing her was really difficult, and I didn’t like to talk about it much. This year, both my Gramma and her sister, my great aunt, passed away. I was close with both of them and it was really hard again. Being home without my Gramma has been really hard – she would have wanted to see everything I brought home, heard all my stories. I am glad that I got to skype with her before she passed, while I was away.

But now I have three people watching over me, with my Papa who was already gone. And I know that they are all proud of me.

And now this post got a lot more serious than I had planned. Hopefully, though, you know me a little better now. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know. But I’m moving forward.

Happy to be home with my pup! He's so big and hyper now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy to be home with my pup! He’s so big and hyper now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My amazing family, who I love. Most of the time. (jkjk ;) )
My amazing family, who I love. Most of the time. (jkjk 😉 )

“Time won’t make you forget, it’ll make you grow and understand things…” – Pinterest

May the road rise up to meet ya

Cheers

JH

Keeping Busy

What every writer dreads – writer’s block. It has finally hit. I am having a hard time sitting down to write for this blog now that I am home. When you’re not travelling every day, you are sometimes hard pressed to find inspiration.

So you make your own.

The past few weeks have been endless attempts to find adventure in my own backyard – hanging out with friends and exploring my home.

I’ve done more hikes, some outdoor climbing, built forts, played with my dog, and begun to get my life in order. School is just around the corner. Literally. I start on Wednesday. I’m excited but terrified to start my final semester. It’s going to be an interesting semester. I’m taking 2 history classes – one is on theory and perspective of the past, while the other focuses entirely on the Holocaust. Both are going to be super interesting, especially after my Epic Euro Trip adventures. I’m also taking an anthropology class on religions around the world, and a media and communications class about Canada.

With all these classes and working, I’m going to be quite busy.

Which brings me to some other news: I got a new job! I’m very excited to say that I will be working as a blog editor for the Study Abroad office at my university. It is the best of both worlds – writing and editing a blog about something that is very special to me. I’m looking forward to being in touch with other students who have studied abroad or are right now, and to encounter other institutions that my university is partnered with. Once it’s up and running, I will definitely tweet a link or something.

Over the next little while, I’m not entirely sure what will happen with this blog. I really want to continue it, but with no travelling or adventuring during school, posts may be further and farther in between. I imagine that I will probably be posting about once a month if I am able to.

For now, I’m going to focus on school and my two jobs, trying to keep busy. Hopefully, I will be able to save up enough money for a trip after graduation or another Euro Trip soon. Once the travel bug bites, it tends to stick pretty close.

Some pictures of my recent adventures!
My goddaughter and her brother. It was great to be a kid with them for a day, jumping on a trampoline & building blanket forts.
My goddaughter and her brother. It was great to be a kid with them for a day, jumping on a trampoline & building blanket forts.
Setting new climbs at the gym. Lift selfies!
Setting new climbs at the gym. Lift selfies!
One of our many outdoor days, Christy & I found ourselves in Squamish many times. This time, we were with the Teams at Chek!
One of our many outdoor days, Christy & I found ourselves in Squamish many times. This time, we were with the Teams at Chek!
Just some kids chillin at Gold Creek. Awesome day with some crazy cold water...!
Just some kids chillin at Gold Creek. Awesome day with some crazy cold water…!
Relaxing at the top of the Chief. Awesome weekend with K & Trev at Gold Creek and then hiking!
Relaxing at the top of the Chief. Awesome weekend with K & Trev at Gold Creek and then hiking!
Chillin at the top of the Chief after a hike. This was our adventure weekend.
Chillin at the top of the Chief after a hike. This was our adventure weekend.
Hanging off a cliff and taking selfies at the Bluffs - cause why not?
Hanging off a cliff and taking selfies at the Bluffs – cause why not?
Coming home, I spent a lot of time in Squamish. Ain't it pretty!?
Coming home, I spent a lot of time in Squamish. Ain’t it pretty!?
"Falling" off a cliff in the Bluffs - close to Pixie's Corner. Such an awesome day!
“Falling” off a cliff in the Bluffs – close to Pixie’s Corner. Such an awesome day!

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”Nora Roberts.

From

JH

Home and Hikes

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited and it feels so good <3

It’s funny. When you’re young, you don’t realize how quickly things in your life can change. Opinions, situations, events, even people are all subject to the ultimatum of change.

Coming home, I had thought I knew what to expect. After all my time away, I was definitely excited to be stationary again, see all of my friends and family who I had missed for six and a half months. I was interested in sharing my adventures and stories, and many people wanted to hear them. And so, after all my time away, I am safely at home.

I am so lucky to have experienced and seen so many amazing things. I lived in another country, on another continent. I travelled through 12 countries, multiple cities, and have seen many famous sites. I am even more grateful that I met and experienced all of these things with such amazing people.

I already wrote about everyone that I met in Ireland. I am thankful to now have these amazing people in my life, and hopefully we will stay in touch (sorry, it’s a fear of mine). But I know that I will see them again. And then there was my trip with my brother and Kirstin. Of course we had our ups and downs, but we had such a great time. We have so many hilarious stories and memories from the great places we travelled to and the wonderful people we met!

But to be honest, being home is quite different from what I expected.

Everyone has been very kind, asking me questions about my trips and experiences. It has been fun telling my stories and adventures. I think people don’t realize sometimes though, that it is hard to explain exactly how study abroad can change your life when you haven’t experienced it. Sometimes, it feels like people expect me to be the same person, other times they tell me how much they see that I’ve changed. It’s interesting to see different reactions.

And again, being honest, it is hard to come home to the exact same situation you left when you are no longer the same. How could I be the same person after these amazing experiences?

Since being home, I have tried to stay busy. Staying home gives you far too much time to think.

 
Limo selfie before the wedding!
Limo selfie before the wedding!
The happy couple in the limo, going to reception. Congratulations guys!
The happy couple in the limo, going to reception. Congratulations guys!
Selfie hiking in Cypress with this girl!
Selfie hiking in Cypress with this girl!
Yup, this is the view we got at St. Mark's Summit. So great, right!? Can you see the water?
Yup, this is the view we got at St. Mark’s Summit. So great, right!? Can you see the water?

Upon arriving home, my cousin was going to be married – and I was a bridesmaid in the wedding! It was a very nice wedding, and I had a lot of fun. Riding in a limo with my cousins and their friends, taking a million pictures in the ridiculous heat, dancing to great and terrible songs with friends and family, and just having a pretty fun night! It was nice to see two people I have known for so long, completely happy and ready to spend the rest of their lives together. Congrats Brent and Vee, I wish you tons of happiness in your new life and home!

Last week, I tried to spend some time in the beautiful outdoors of my home province! I met up with Brit for a day of hiking in Cypress Provincial Park. We had a great time hiking, catching up. Even though the view was completely covered by clouds and fog, it was a really fun hike! We got to catch a great view on the way down the mountain as well. We went into Vancouver to have dinner and walk along the inlet. It was such a great day!

 
It cleared a little on the way down and we got an amazing view of Howe Sound!
It cleared a little on the way down and we got an amazing view of Howe Sound!
We stopped for dinner and a 'pint' at the Craft Brew House in Vancity. So good!
We stopped for dinner and a ‘pint’ at the Craft Brew House in Vancity. So good!
The inlet of Vancity. So pretty at sunset!
The inlet of Vancity. So pretty at sunset!

With one day in between, I went hiking again! This time, I went hiking closer to my home, in Golden Ears Provincial Park. I went with my friend, Christy, who I have been friends with for basically my entire life. It was great to be able to spend so much time outdoors these past two weeks, as I had definitely missed my mountains in the time I was gone.

 
Hiking in Golden Ears. Beautiful sights.
Hiking in Golden Ears. Beautiful sights.
Selfie hiking in the pouring rain! Such a fun day with ma gurl!
Selfie hiking in the pouring rain! Such a fun day with ma gurl!
I believe this is Gold Creek, coming down from the mountains. Pretty views!
I believe this is Gold Creek, coming down from the mountains. Pretty views!

We had an amazing time catching up, and hiking through our beautiful rain forests and mountains. And the rain forest was in full swing that day, as it was absolutely pouring rain while we hiked. By the end of the day, we were completely soaked through! Of course, this meant a stop at probably one of our favourite food enterprises, the classic Canadian Tim Hortons! I was glad to go back to my Timmies hot chocolate – typically Canadian, right!?

Two other exciting things that have happened: I spent a day outdoor climbing with Christy in Squamish’s Smoke Bluffs, and I went to the Imagine Dragons concert. The climbing day was perfect, as my first outdoor day of the season. We got in some great climbs, new ones to both of us, and I scraped up my knuckles like a true climber. (The photos are Christy’s.) The concert was absolutely amazing! Definitely one of the top concerts that I have been to (which are few in numbers…). Christy, Zach and I had a great time, rocking out to the songs and yelling along at the top of our lungs. If you’re a fan of the band, definitely see them in concert!

 
Hiking to our climbing walls, we stopped for a photo with our fave - the Chief!
Hiking to our climbing walls, we stopped for a photo with our fave – the Chief!
Getting ready to rappell down a wall in Squamish's Smoke Bluffs.
Getting ready to rappell down a wall in Squamish’s Smoke Bluffs.
Rappelling in Squamish with the beautiful Chief in the background!
Rappelling in Squamish with the beautiful Chief in the background!
Last climb of the day on Easter Island! Loved this climb.
Last climb of the day on Easter Island! Loved this climb.

Work and plans have thankfully kept me busy, and the wonderful technology of today’s century has allowed me to keep in touch with my amazing friends who are now so far away. With one semester left to go in my degree, I know that I will stay quite busy for the upcoming months. After that, who knows! I am constantly asked what I plan to do with my degree and future, but I am still kind of unsure. I have a lot to think about and plan.

Over the next little while, I will stay put in my hometown, working and finishing my degree. Once I’m done, who knows where I’ll be! I definitely hope to have more amazing adventures and travels to be able to write about, hopefully sooner than later. For now, there’s no place like home!

 
Imagine Dragons in concert are absolutely amazing!
Imagine Dragons in concert are absolutely amazing!
The encore of the show, complete with confetti raining down. Amazing show!
The encore of the show, complete with confetti raining down. Amazing show!

“Actually, the best thing you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures…” – Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

From

JH