The ever evolving travel lifestyle of OurOyster
The Our Oyster project consists of adventure addict Jade Johnston (BA Sociology, Statistics, University of Manitoba), and two kids Jacob and Zach. Both kids got their first passport when they were only a few weeks old, and both traveled extensively before even turning 1.
I have been typing away at this blog, bringing travel stories and inspiration to my readers, for over 8 years now. In that time, my life, and this blog, have gone through quite a few changes. We may have evolved a few times, but the one thing that is constant, is our love for travel and our desire to share that with you, our readers.
Interested in our blogging and travel journey? Let me present a brief history or our many motto changes.
Motto 1 : Travel on a budget, so that you can do more… for longer…
I grew up in rural Manitoba, Canada and always dreamed of seeing the world. I came late to the travel game, and the first time I ever left my home province was when I was 17. That was also the first time I had ever seen the ocean.
At that point, the travel bug was not yet caught. But my love for volunteering was strong. At first I was sent for a one week long program in Ottawa, which teaches young people about civic duty. Falling in love with the experience of learning and discovery, I sought out similar programs.
I ended up joining the 7 month, travel (within Canada) and volunteer program, Katimavik. Living in three small communities, in tiny houses, with 11 other young people certainly taught me a lot about open mindedness, hard work, and group living. Skills which would be invaluable to long term travel.
It wasn’t until 2006, when I decided to do a University exchange in Denmark that I contracted that travel bug. I probably spent more time travelling, than studying, and when my studied finished, I moved to the UK with a working holiday permit.
For the next 3.5 years, I lived all over Europe, traveled through much of it, and loved every second of it. However my love for volunteering was still strong, which suddenly took me half way across the world to live in Costa Rica with another group of young people in close quarters.
These first years of my travel life were characterized by the motto “travel on a budget, so that you can do more… for longer…”
My journeys next took me to New Zealand, where I lived and worked, and then to Australia where I have lived since.
Motto 2 : Travel Now! Tomorrow is just a dream…
I had always written about budget travel – and the brilliant culture and adventure experiences that you can have on a budget. But it wasn’t until my ex husband has a major health scare that I came up with our motto of travel now.
Travel now. There might not be a “later”
After my ex husband recovered enough to live independently again, we sat down and decided to embark on a major trip. The next day I turned down a job offer and handed in my notice. A few weeks later we set off on a 6 month journey through North America and Europe with our infant son. To some, turning down a permanent job to set off on a long term backpacking trip with a baby would sound crazy, but to us, giving up those precious moments as a family exploring the world seemed crazier.
Motto 3 : Who said you can’t travel with a baby?
Having a baby didn’t put an end to my long term travel ambitions. While on maternity leave with Jacob we traveled for 6 months and to 12 countries – primarily through Europe. Jacob learned to crawl in Iceland and to stand in Bulgaria. We didn’t stop after the big trip either. We kept traveling as often as possible with Jacob. When Zach arrived we spent 8 months of my maternity leave traveling – this time through South and North America. Zach learned to sit in Peru, and started trying to crawl in Argentina.
Having traveled as a solo female traveler, as a childless couple, a single mom, and also as a family – I have to say that the most enriching travel experiences have been with my children. Having kids, and particularly having young kids, has broken down barriers everywhere we have gone. Multiple times a day random people would come up to us, talk to us, and share their lives with us, because they were drawn to the children. I firmly believe that we would not have had half of the genuine interactions with locals that we did, if we did not have kids with us.
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