It’s that time of year again!

Birthday, summer, festival fun times!

Just got our tickets to Pemberton Festival - YAY!

Outkast - check

Mountains - check

Old and new friends - check

Summer - check

JUSTICE???? CHECK!!!

Oh and also.. Kendrick, Ocean, Snoop, Tyler, Grimes and mooooore!!

Who’s in?

Thankfully where ever we go there’s always good beer! Granville Island is one of the best - local, sustainable and it comes in raspberry! ❤️

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
— Jawaharial Nehru

Saw a seal the other day swimming in Vancouver Harbour!

My favourite animal - so luckily I get to see them all the time here!

Love is in the air <3

Time is flying by here in Canada and we are busy busy busy with so many awesome opportunities, work, study and fun, but we are missing out on so many beautiful events around the world with our friends and family.

I think being apart from friends and family is the only sacrifice we really have to make to follow our dreams abroad, and it is really hard at times.

Especially with so many engagements, marriages, babies and other celebrations happening around the world! It’s just not possible for us to be there for everything but we hope to come back to the UK real soon to celebrate all the weddings, births and successes that our amazing friends and family have achieved!

But for now we would like to send all our love, happy thoughts and good luck vibes to these wonderful people…

Congratulations to Harry Davies and Lucy Blair on their wedding this Saturday. We love you and we were so sad we couldn’t be there but we will be back to celebrate with you soon and wish you all the love and happiness in the world!

Welcome to the world Christopher Philips! My cousin Leah and her husband Murray finally had their beautiful baby and the first boy in our family for over 20 years! I can’t wait to meet him!

Also a huuuuge congratulations to my cousin Tess and her awesome partner Darren who will be welcoming their first baby into the world later this year, in Hong Kong no less! We will definitely be out again to visit you three soon! So excited!!

Yet more congratulations to my lovely friends James and Alice on their engagement this year and I soooo hope I am invited to the wedding as I will definitely be coming back for this as I know it will be theeee event of 2015!!! Cannot wait for the ultimate reunion!!!

I’m sure there are waaay more I have forgotten but these are definitely the biggies.. I also can’t forget to say a big well done to my BFF Roya for running her first race on Sunday for charity. So proud of you!!! Well done to another of my cousins Anya on moving to the big smoke this month. And to all my friends living their dreams abroad and in the UK!

We love you all. I suppose we need something to celebrate now just to get you all out here to come visit!!!! Don’t hold your breath just yet tho….

XO

UPDATE!

Lucca’s Mum Claire has just emailed to say she is swimming the channel!!! Now that it is pretty impressive! I’m not sure of many more details but we obviously will be sending so many good wave vibes and donations! For more details and how to donate to support her and her team and such a great cause are below…

CLAIRE MSF CHANNEL RELAY

Most of you know my passion is sport and I take part in many races.  I particularly love open water swimming and am part of a medical relay team to swim across the Channel.

We have to be ready to go anytime day or night from 25th – 30th June.

It would be impossible for me to constantly ask for sponsorship but this is a major event for me so feel it is worth the effort to try and raise a huge donation for our chosen charity:

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without borders

Click on the link to read all about it:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MSFChannelRelay2014

Well done Claire! That truly is amazing!

25/5/14 - Updaaaaaate!!!!

We have moved to an amazing new apartment!

301 - 3560 Cambie street

Vancouver

British Columbia

V5Z 2X1

and YES we except love letters, postcards and presents!

I have ANOTHER new job!

I am now the Assistant Manager of West Elm Market in Vancouver! (https://www.facebook.com/VancouverMarket)

Big exciting steps yay!

Lucca is hoping to apply for residency through his awesome job at SMAK (www.smakfastfood.com) they rock and hopefully through his job we can start the long process of applying for residency here in Canada!!

On that note… We finally have our visas approved for next year. Side note - if you are thinking of applying for a work visa for Canada. Message me! It is looooong and haaaarrrrd!!!!!

We have also (almost) finished our level 2 studies towards our degrees with the Open University. We are just revising for our exams next week and then we are freeee for the summer!! Cannot wait we have worked sooo hard this year! Next year I am going to be starting my level 3 study with two Environmental Management courses and Lucca is moving on to Energy and Sustainability. Exciting stuff for the future!

That leads us to our Summer plans! We will be welcoming my Mum to Vancouver for three weeks this Summer. So excited to show her how awesome Vancouver is and take some over due trips down to Seattle and San Franciso. We are also off to see Outkast at Pemberton Festival in July and we have our first baseball game coming up in a few weeks!

Life is goooood! Come and visit us!!! XO

P.S. We also went to see one of my favourite bands Haim last night, check below for some videos and see what totally awesome rockin babes they are!! <3

One of my favourite bands covering one of my favourite artists and one of my favourite songs <3 year made!

Ultimate jam. Haim, Vancouver

Saw Haim last night at the Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park in Vancouver. They were AMAZING! Such babes and they rocked it on the guitar solos. I love them so much so here’s a couple more videos….

I just came across this piece I wrote for Lanta Animal Welfare in Thailand after I spent 6 weeks volunteering there over the Summer of 2012. If you are already going to Thailand or thinking of a trip, why not volunteer? Read my recommendation below to get yourself excited…

My time at Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) is something I will never forget. The friends I have made, both human and animal, the memories and the changes that I made are something that changed my life and I encourage everyone to take some time out of your travels, holidays or work to spend some time at LAW. Whether you are just visiting for a day and can walk a dog or you can dedicate a month or two at the Centre helping it run and caring for the awesome animals, it is all worth it. I spent a month at LAW with my boyfriend after travelling around Thailand, volunteering at other sanctuaries from dogs to elephants but spending a whole month at LAW beat all the days I spent at other places as it became my home, where the fun never stopped and the other volunteers became my family, and what an awesome team we were! I not only fell in love with Thailand and its lovely people but also the culture, food, weather, scenery… It really has it all and Lanta is one of the most diverse islands in all of Thailand. From towering cliff edges and rocky beaches to beautiful palm tree-lined sandy shores, a moped and free spirit is all you need to enjoy all it has to offer. No neon lights, all night raves or trouble here, just great food and great times! Your local could be the pub on the corner or a great little family run restaurant where you can get incredible Thai food for just your spare change. There’s Greek, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Seafood, BBQ, fresh smoothies every morning and cocktails in a hammock at night. Need I go on? 

Arriving at LAW can be quite daunting, even flying into Bangkok can be a culture shock of smells and sights you won’t have experienced before and it can be an overwhelming experience especially for first time travellers. It is however a great stop on any traveller’s itinerary and taking some time out to spend at LAW is something you will never forget. A day in the life of a general volunteer can include feeding the dogs and puppies, taking care of sick or injured animals, preparing food for the hungry cats, walking 1 or 2 dogs to the river for a splash by yourself or a group to the beach for a swim with friends. You might spend your whole day cuddling a newbie or hand feeding an abandoned puppy or maybe even catching strays! If there are lots of volunteers it can be great fun working together as a team but sometimes when in short supply you might find yourself running the ship with just one or two others and even helping out the vets like I did! I got the chance to work with some wonderful vets from Poland to Singapore and learnt a huge amount not only about caring for animals but also about other people’s cultures and even about myself. It can be challenging but is totally rewarding. Living on site was one of the best bits as the fun just never stopped and I was able to play with the cats or just go and hang out with my favourite dog whenever I wanted. It can be tough at times though and I definitely had my fair share of cleaning up poo, scrubbing kennels and seeing some beautiful animals pass away. The best things you can bring with you to LAW are a strong stomach, kind heart and an open mind. You will get out as much as you put in, but with a willingness to work and a love for our four legged friends, you don’t need to be an expert to change their lives and your own. Every one of the dogs and cats has its own amazing personality. All the dogs are kept in four groups and spend the day socialising and walking together with their pack. The position of LAW is to sterilize nd treat animals, not to be a shelter for unwanted pets. Therefore all the animals are up for adoption. 

If you decide to go, some dogs may have (hopefully) been adopted by the time you get there but if you get a chance to meet any of these guys you are in for a treat! There’s kind-hearted Woody, his brother Oscar and cheeky sister Chilli who were found abandoned together and have grown up at the centre. They are always favourites among volunteers. It will take you a few days to get them to trust you but it’s well worth the effort as they have so much love to give. Chilli’s excited bark is something that still makes me smile. Tarzan, our 3 legged friend has his own stories to tell and it won’t take you long to discover his love of cats! There’s Queen B, Bones and her gang, Princess, Kisser and Michael who I could watch for hours play fighting and winding each other up. Lila and Mai Thai, the long standing ladies who may have had troubled pasts but only have love and cuddles to give now. 

From Pumpkin the baby to the big bruiser of the group Dok Dek, and his best friend Owen, there will always be at least one furry friend who will steal your heart. Now the cats are a whole other bundle of fun, with at least 8 black cats, 6 black and white and many other colours to choose from, it will again be their awesome personalities that will stand out and keep you playing in the cat house for hours on end. Each one will find a special place in your heart and a nickname from Psycho Kitty to Moustache Kitty and Momma, Rosie and Drunken Kitty. You’ll have your own nickname for each one by the end of your time there I’m sure! Now this is just one side of LAW - a short ride up the coast line you will find a whole other bunch of awesome cats, dogs and volunteers at Time for Lime where it all began! I’m sure I don’t need to introduce you to this place but if you don’t already know check out their website http://www.timeforlime.net/. This awesome bar and cookery school is what helps keep LAW running and as a volunteer it’s where you will spend most of your nights drinking discounted chilli margaritas! Another great thing about my time at LAW was the after hours. If I wasn’t doing the 'sleep in', keeping the dogs company at night, then I was out with the other volunteers at either Time for Lime doing a cooking class, discovering a new place or maybe even cooking together at the Centre with fresh ingredients from the local market! 

My time at LAW is something I will treasure forever, along with my newfound friends, from South America to South East Asia, and all my furry friends who I am already saving up to adopt! It is hard work but totally rewarding and I will definitely be back one day. 

So what’s stopping you? If you’re already heading to the beautiful country of Thailand, then stop by Koh Lanta and spend a month doing some good. Even if you are just looking for an alternative holiday, there are some of the best beaches and bars in Thailand here so the fun never stops. You can even be a flight volunteer and keep the good work going by flying one of the adopted dogs or cats back home with you to help them on their journey to their new loving homes. et in touch with Lanta Animal Welfare through their Facebook page or website http://www.lantaanimalwelfare.com/ and if you want to know more about my personal experience you can email me at irmarosepettitt@gmail.com 

Irma Rose Pettitt (Volunteer from August - September 2012) 

The life of a student/traveller living abroad!

They say living and studying abroad is great experience and so much fun.. and it totally is. It’s awesome and I feel so lucky to be able to travel the world with my best friend and partner in crime and study towards my degree at the same time. There’s not many countries that are granted as free an access to move and live around the world as we are in the UK which I am so grateful for.

However.. it is tough! Having to continuously pack up our bags and move on, never fully being able to settle down or make plans, yet all we seem to be doing it planning the next step and saving for something, never really getting a chance to live in the moment.

We have been on the move for 22 months now, studying full academic years, working full time, setting up lives, making new friends, saying goodbye, saving money and getting into debt, never knowing what is coming next! I love it and I hope it all pays off in the end and we can stay in Canada, get awesome jobs, settle down and then spend our money on holidays galore! At the moment we constantly seem to be paying for visa applications, police checks, paying off debts, saving for flights..etc it is stressful at times and right now I should be writing a report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change about the pros and cons of the UK using more low-carbon energy technologies for my assignment hand in tomorrow… instead.. I am resizing passport photos, researching sitting exams in Canada, applying for visas, skyping home, sending emails, sorting out healthcare… (Thank god I have Jimmy Kimmel recorded from last night with the Toronto Mayor Rob Ford! Watch it now…Legend or total mess? I just can’t decide!)

I JUST WANT TO PACK MY BAGS AND GO TRAVELLING AGAIN!!!

We have decided to sit our exams in Canada now as it was just too expensive and too stressful trying to pay for flights home and loose out on 2 weeks of pay from work. It’s actually still cheaper for me to pay £444 to sit my two exams out here then pay for a flight home! So happy we have this opportunity. I will miss seeing my family but my best friend and my Mum are coming out for the Summer and the Summer!!! I cannot wait to be care free with pockets full of cash. Our courses done, exams done, visas done, summer break and no debts!

Hawaii here we come!!!!

If you have any tips, questions or comments about long-term life abroad as a student or just a traveller - hit me up! Lets share the experiences!

Irma xo

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

Lao Tzu

- I need to remember this. I am always in a rush to organise my next trip, plan my next adventure and to find a place to settle. However it is the journey that matters and I need to remember to live for the moment each day. There’s no rush :)

“Hello Irma and Lucca!I'm one of Claire's friends from France! I called Claire today cause I needed some optimism (she's that for me!) and she sent me your link for the video on: if money wasn't an option and the teaching contact. But, I really enjoyed reading your stuff and looking at yor pics so glad you got the visa and that Claire shared your blog! You inspire! Love Christine”
-Anonymous

So glad our blog is being read and is inspiring! Thank you for the lovely messages!

“Dear Lucca and Irma, this is Margie, Claire's friend in London. Just want to say I'm very impressed with the work you've being doing at the dog's shelter. Thank YOU on behalf of all of those who support animal welfare. Your blog is great! Keep up the good work!!! I hope to meet you one day!!!”
-Anonymous

Some beautiful messages from friends of Lucca’s Mum! Thank you :)


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