Just Keep Swimming

Since the summer I found a new found love for sea turtles. All summer I talked about them and how much I wanted to go swimming with them. Well if you follow any of my social media accounts and have seen an overload of sea turtle pictures, it’s because last Saturday I finally got to go swimming with them. And it was AWESOME!

I didn’t realized when I booked the tour that I had done so through a third party site, so when we got to Barbados Blue Diving, they had no idea we were coming. But, they were super quick and amazing and brought us on our own personalized tour which was great! If you’re ever in Barbados, I highly recommend them. We ended up getting on the boat with a bunch of scuba divers, and once we dropped them off we had the whole boat to ourselves! We not only got to see and touch the turtles but we also got the chance to see three shipwrecks.

Overall, it is pretty hard to explain how happy I was that day because pretty much that was the main thing I wanted to do while I was here; and check!

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Tyler, me, Raymond, Emma, Grace, Meike

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My Face the Entire Day

Also if you want to learn more about sea turtles and how you can protect them you can visit Barbados Sea Turtle Project. Simple things such as using reusable bags, water bottles and straws go a long way! Don’t hurt our oceans!

Love always,

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One Month

Well today officially marks four weeks in Barbados. Four lovely, hot and glorious weeks in this beautiful country. This month has been about learning new things, trying new foods and reminding myself every single day how blessed I am to be living this life. Don’t forget that no matter where you are in the world, you are so so lucky to be living in this beautiful world. Over the past few weeks I have heard the words “well aren’t you afraid” several times. Here is my best advice to that: get busy living. Don’t be afraid to try new things or go new places because you think it might be scary. Try EVERYTHING! You will look back at the things you didn’t do one day and regret all of it. So what if you get lost, or scared or end up not liking something. At least you tried it, that’s what is important.

This week was the first week I have actually been really stressed out about school. All of my classes have some aspect of group presentations (some more than others) and it I find that it is super hard to work in groups to get even a simple project done. Because not too many people live on campus, not only do you have time to meet, but then some people don’t do their work or I am busy and can’t get to things at a certain time and it can get really stressful. Classes seem a little disorganized here as well (ex. not having enough chairs for everyone, people showing up and leaving when they want etc.) I guess it is just the little things that I’m not used to that I will have to learn to adjust to.

This weekend I knew I had to do homework/ presentations to get done, so I devoted my mornings to the beach and the afternoons to studying. On Friday though, a group of the other exchange students and I went to Oistins which has a massive Friday night fish fry on the South Coast. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen, hundreds of people walking around and eating at picnic tables, listening to music and watching people dance.

The rest of the weekend has been pretty relaxing, mainly focusing on school (which is so hard to do here, when the ocean is calling my name). Later this morning I am going into Holetown with Meike to do some grocery shopping and to maybe pick up some souvenirs! It’s nice to walk around the little towns here, because it seems that every one of them has something different to offer.

I hope that everyone has a relaxing Sunday and a great week at, school work, or home if you’re lucky enough to be retired (aka Gramma). Please let me know if you have any questions about my exchange so far or if you want to see something special on The Blonde Traveler!

Love,

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Hurricane Issac

Well I know that I said I was going to write about my weekend adventures but I have been super busy prepping for a hurricane and class. Never thought I would say those things in the same sentence, but I just did. Sunday morning, we woke up to notifications saying that Barbados was officially under a hurricane warning and that all necessary emergency supplies should be purchased. Meike and I got this notification on our way to a Southern town called Hastings that I heard had a good breakfast cafe. The Artsplash Center not only has art, but a farmers market and amazing breakfast. I had a smoothie bowl and I honestly can say it was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. If anyone comes to visit, I will definitely be bringing you there.

We went grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon and Morning afternoon, mainly because I forgot to get water (which was on the hurricane supply checklist). Also, I bought my first ever pineapple and I can’t believe how sweet and good it was, and why I had never eaten pineapple before?

This week school went by pretty fast, though I did start to freak out a little bit over how many readings that I have to do every week. Most of my tutorial classes started this week and I have to do a presentation in most of them, so I am trying to get those done before November. Why November you ask? Because my Gramma, Aunt Karen and my Gramma’s best friend Karla are coming to see me! It was supposed to be a surprise but I have supersonic hearing and heard my Grampa talking about it in the background!

All week it has been raining or gloomy outside, which means I haven’t been to the beach once and I think I might be going through withdrawals. Wednesday night the hurricane passed us (250km north of the island), so I am well and safe. It is supposed to continue raining for the rest of the weekend, but I really REALLY hope that it doesn’t because I need sand in between my toes again!

Wednesday, I officially booked my flight to come back home and then back to Barbados in January. I can already feel the days slipping away and I haven’t even been here for three whole weeks. I want to do and see so much stuff but at the same time I have to focus on school, which not going to lie, sucks.

Last night I was as I was just about to fall asleep a massive centipede crawled on my leg. You see at the time I did not know it was a centipede, I felt something move on my leg so I jumped out of bed in a panic not knowing what type of bug was in my room. I flipped on all of the lights and looked everywhere and finally after pulling out my bed I saw it still on my covers. I was kind of in panic mode after this so I’m not really sure how i got it off of the bed, all I know is that I had to step on it several times and then eventually jump on it before it died. Overall, I did not sleep well last night, though the cleaning lady told me it is a good thing it didn’t bite me otherwise my leg would have swelled up.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and a great weekend. More adventures to be written about soon!

Love,

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I’m Jealous of Myself

Almost every time I talk to someone from back home they’ve said “I am so jealous that you are in Barbados” or “I’m so jealous that you’re living on the beach”. I’ve started responding with “I’m jealous of myself”. I am beyond blessed to have been given the opportunity to live abroad for the second time in my short life. Two weeks ago, I was crying because I didn’t want to leave (mainly because I was nervous and anxious about moving abroad again), and now I keep thinking you were an idiot Libbey. I am living in such a beautiful country and I only have 9 months to live it to the absolute fullest. So that’s exactly what I am doing. The hardest decision I make every day is deciding what bikini I should wear.

Every single person in university should go on exchange. If you have the opportunity and you don’t take it, you honestly don’t know what you are missing out on. 

School started on Monday and so far my classes have been going really good. It is super weird to be back in school though, I really got used to the work/strike life. My French class is probably my favorite and my professor is from the Democratic Republic of Congo which seems like the coolest/craziest thing to me. Tuesday was the first day since I’ve been here that I wasn’t able to go to the beach which was a big bummer, but I will definitely be making up for it this weekend!

Our tutorial classes haven’t started yet so I only had a three-day week which was a good way to start off the school year. School might take a little bit to get used to, the way that classes are taught and the fact that they have 60% exams here, which I am not looking forward to.

I know this was just a quick little post but I just wanted to pop in and say hi! I’m going to be putting out a post early next week on my adventures this weekend!

Love always,

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Hello September!

Is it just me, or has this year flown by? Maybe it’s because I haven’t been in school since March, but I am literally shocked that there are only 4 more months until 2019! September is the start of new beginnings, it marks the end of summer, start of school and a fresh start. I can’t believe that I am starting my third year of university in two days. It feels like just yesterday that I was packing up to move to Glendon for the first time.

I’ve been in Barbados for almost a week and things are going really good. I am starting to get used to the heat at night (my dorm room doesn’t have any AC), so I’ve mostly been sleeping on top of my covers with shorts. I’ve gone to the beach every single day since I’ve been here (except the day I arrived, because I didn’t get to school until 7:00pm), and I’m loving every second of it. I can’t believe how dark my skin has gotten already and I can only imagine what it is going to look like in four months when I come home for Christmas.

On Monday, there was a small lecture for all of the exchange students so I got to meet everyone which was really fun. This year UWI – Cave Hill is hosting 36 exchange students, 4 of which are staying the entire year. Probably 3/4 if not more of the students are here for first semester, so next semester there will only be a few of us. After our lecture we had a Bridgetown tour and the school showed us which grocery stores are nearby and whats more expensive where. I made a friend with another Canadian from Barrie, named Meike (pronounced Meika) and she showed me where the closest beach was to the school.

Tuesday we had another meeting with the exchange students and did a treasure hunt around campus to get to know it better. We played games in the early afternoon and had a pizza lunch during which it started down pouring. Usually, rain only lasts 10 minutes or so before it passes, but this was different. Meike and I had to wait over 30 minutes before we could walk back to residence. We went to the beach in the afternoon, with another exchange student named Grace, and soaked up the sun all afternoon.

Wednesday, the school planned a Safari Tour for all exchange students who wanted to participate. I am so happy I went because it was so much fun, plus I got to see the East side of the island and the Atlantic Ocean. (My school is on the West side of the island and the water is the Caribbean Sea.) Afterwards, Grace, Meike, and I walked to Jordan’s Supermarket which was a pretty long walk in 100 degree weather. I honestly thought that I was going to spend more on groceries, but I think as long as you try new things instead of buying all American products you can really save a lot of money.

Thursday, I had to enroll in my courses and I am happy to say that I still have Friday’s off! I got my picture taken for my student id card and I didn’t realize until later in the day that instead of saying Social Sciences as my program it says Humanities and Education (which Mom thinks sounds a lot fancier LOL).

Yesterday, Grace, Meike and I decided to have a beach day and it was probably the hottest day since I’ve been here. All of the beaches in Barbados are public so we decided to walk down the coast a little bit and try a different beach. We ended up at Ranger beach which is right beside a very fancy hotel, which was pretty cool. It was fun to people watch all the hotel stayers, doing water sports and lounging. We walked back to school for lunch and then met up again at 3pm to go to our regular beach. As soon as we got there it started to rain, so once it passed we walked back to school. There is a little grocery/ convenience store on campus so we popped in to grab an ice cream. I had a coconut ice cream bar and it was amazing, it reminded my of the coconut ice cream in Mexico.

Today we are off exploring again and we are going to take the bus to Speightstown. We are going out for lunch and going to spend some time on some fancy beaches in the area! I hope everyone is well and has a good labour day weekend! For everyone going back to school at the end of this week, good luck and have fun!

If you have any questions or want me to talk about something on my blog, shoot me an email or a direct message!

Love always,

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Our regular beach (10 minute walk from school)

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Grace and Meike

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East Coast Barbados – Atlantic Ocean

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I’m Out of Here Y’all

And so it begins again. 

One week ago I was driving home from Fushimi Lake with the Glamping Squad (Mom, Gramma, Ivy and my Aunt Karen and Aunt Chris) rattling off everything I had to do before I had to leave. Well somehow I managed to get it done because I am now sitting in the plane on my way to Florida (how cool is it that my plane has wifi?!). 

Tuesday the whole family took a party bus to Detroit to go and see the Tigers play the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs only play the Tigers in Detroit about once every four years, so we all went to go and honor our Uncle Doug who was the biggest Cubbies fan of all time. We tailgated before the game and after a small sprinkle of rain the most beautiful rainbow came out. We had a lot of laughs, some tears, and some of us a whole lot of beers. 

Thursday one of my best friends (Michelle) from Glendon came down to see me which was amazing. We didn’t do much Thursday afternoon, just hung out and watched a movie which was nice. Friday, we went to Point Pelee and to Windsor. I really wanted to go to Spagos (my favorite restaurant) one last time before I left so we headed to the Casino Friday night. There was a show going on so Spagos was jam packed, which ended up working to our advantage as we got free tiramisu due to the wait for our food!

Yesterday we had an “empty nesters” party as everyone will be heading out of the house within the next week. It was nice yet sad to be saying goodbye to everyone for a while. This exchange is a little bit different than the first though as I will be coming home at Christmas time and spending a month at home before I head back to Barbados.

This morning I woke up at 3am, packed my bags in the car and headed to Detroit. Mom, Dad, Ivy, Gramma and Grampa came to the airport to say goodbye (Elle couldn’t come because she had to work). We all held our breaths as I put my bags on the scale, but somehow I managed to get 98.5/100 pounds (which is not a personal best) of luggage packed for the beach. After getting a full body scan and pat down, I had to watch security open my carryon and take out my peanut butter. Who knew you weren’t allowed to bring “spreads” on the plane either? I stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast and went to wait at my gate for boarding. Somehow I lucked out and my plane needing people to check their carryon bags instead on putting them in the overhead bins. I jumped at the chance to have my bag checked for free, meaning I didn’t have to lift a heavy bag into the overhead bins while people watched me struggle and I didn’t have to lug it around Florida on my layover.

And so, I have started my journey towards the Caribbean islands. I am super excited/ nervous and I can’t wait to see my new school. I will be updating everyone in a few days, so stay tuned. (A little tip; you can subscribe to The Blonde Traveler and you will be emailed every time I put out a new blog so you don’t miss any of my adventures!)

Love Always,

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Northern Living

Well, I’ve been living in Northern Ontario for over a month now and I am loving every second of it. The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy with work and I apologize that I haven’t been able to post anything for a while. With limited internet access and cell service, Ivy and I tend to spend as much time outside as possible to pass our time. The weather here has been gorgeous and it has been perfect for swimming and kayaking, which we do a lot of here. Last week I went wake boarding (snowboarding on water) with two girls I work with and had so much fun. Even though I only stood up for a few seconds every time, they were super impressed and said next time I will for sure get the hang of it! The day after I paid my dues though; my arms, legs and back were in pain and I felt like I was 100 years old (LOL).

Last week, my parents came up to visit and we had a great time. We spent lots of time outside and in the water, relaxing and taking in the gorgeous sunshine. The last two days they were here it rained which meant we were stuck in the cabin but we still made the best of it. It’s crazy to think that in 25 days I am going to be getting on a plane for Barbados. Speaking of Barbados, I have been participating in a bunch of conference calls regarding exchange, payments (which have been coming in in buckets full) and meeting faculty at UWI via video. It officially hit me that I am leaving. I knew this was going to happen, as it did when I went to France on exchange but I have been waiting for that “a-ha moment” and it has finally happened. Because I am only going to have few days when I get home before I get on a jet plane, so I’ve been doing as much online shopping as possible to get everything I need before I go.

I hope that wherever you are reading from that your summer is going great and you are taking advantage of the beautiful weather. After all there is only 21 weeks until winter begins and this year I’m only going to have to deal with it for one month instead of four.

Love always,

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100 Posts and 100 Thanks

I’ve hit a milestone on my little blogging adventure, 100 blog posts. 100 different stories, adventures, cries and above all a lot of laughs. In 2014, I started The Blonde Traveler so that my family and friends could read about my adventures while I was living abroad in France. My goal was to publish a few stories and when my year was done I would shut down the blog.Alexa's Adventures.png

3 years passed by and I developed a love for writing, telling funny stories about my day-to-day activities, living in the moment and of course giving fashion advice. I decided to start using The Blonde Traveler as a way to share an inside look at my life and I am extremely proud of how far this blog has come. The Blonde Traveler has been viewed in 56 countries all around the world from North America to Africa to Asia. To the thousands of people who are reading about my adventures and stories each year, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be where I am today without all of you readers and you have inspired me to continue my blogging journey.

I am extremely excited to be bringing the traveling aspect back into my blog when I leave for Barbados at the end of August. I hope that I will find a way to bring you smiles and laughs as I share my adventures on my second year abroad.

Thank you again for all of the love and support,

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The Blonde Traveler Readers 2014-2018

Two Months Today

It’s officially official. I am moving to Barbados (how freaking cool does that sound?!?). Yesterday I booked my flight to Bridgetown, Barbados for August 26th. It’s really happening and I have thousands of emotions running through my head, but overall I am excited for this new adventure and chapter in my life. The past week I’ve been finalizing my acceptance to UWI – Cave Hill, finishing my visa requirements and handing in a bunch of paperwork. When I haven’t been focusing on my exchange things, I’ve been working (my new job) and enjoying the beauty of my summer home.

Last week I moved more than halfway across Ontario for a job that I didn’t know much about; and I have never been happier. I decided that I needed a change in my life and this job opportunity was just that – a big change. I’ve been living in Northern Ontario just outside of a town called Hearst for over a week now and I have already done so much. I am working at Fushimi Lake Provincial Park as customer relations rep and inspections officer. This job was a huge jump for me, since I haven’t worked in Ontario Parks for three years and it is unlike anything I’ve done before. I have so many things to do, which is perfect because I am always busy and the days have been flying by. The main component of my job is to inspect everything in the Park, make sure everything is in working order and is in compliance with the standards and write a report about it.

Because I have to leave my job early (since I need to go to Barbados), I have been working a bunch of extra shifts in order to make up the days I won’t be here for. As of right now I will be coming home on August 21st and then will be leaving from Detroit to Barbados on the 26th. I have already started to make lists, checklists, and more lists about everything that I need to do in the few days I am home before I leave.

Another update for everyone! My university is officially not on strike anymore, so I have been finishing up a few little assignments and waiting for my marks to start coming in. I am so glad that I didn’t end up losing any of my classes or year because of the strike and I will be able to continue my schooling as normal.

Everything is starting to fall into place, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love always,

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On To New Adventures

The past two summers (and the start of this summer) I have worked at Talbot Trail Golf Club. I am very sad to say that yesterday was my last day working at Talbot Trail Golf Club and I am moving on to a new adventure with Ontario Parks. I am absolutely blessed to have made many new friends and “family” members during the time I worked there. I have grown in many different ways, gaining new strengths (and learning my many weaknesses), developing a new appreciation for bartenders and cooks, and trying to make people smile on a daily basis. I will forever be in debt to my coworkers as they have not only taught me many different skills, but life lessons that I will never forget. Each and every single one of the people I worked with share a bond that I’m sure will last a very long time. I’m grateful that three years ago I was given the chance to work at a course that means so much to my family, and it is with a very sad and heavy heart that I am leaving.

Today I am making the 15 hour drive to Fushimi Lake Provincial Park where I will work for the remainder of the summer. I am very excited that I get to return to the Park where I worked my first summer job and spend the summer with my sister Ivy.

Thank you to everyone for their love and support the past few days, it has meant so much.

Love,