A Brief Update.

Things have changed quite a bit since my last post (except the last one about Hawaii, that I just added the tags to yesterday). Here’s a quick run down of the last few months in my life, and a few of the posts that I will hopefully get done in the coming months

IMG_20191017_150816689_HDRMy Canadian IEC Visa expired, and my efforts to get Permanent Residency hadn’t been successful, so I made plans to head back to the UK for a while, but not without at a least a stopover. So it was that I did a little train trip around the major cities of Ontario and Quebec – starting in Montreal, then up to Quebec City, over to Ottawa and finally down to Toronto and Niagara Falls. It was certainly a fun little trip, that came with a few surprises and a lot of good sight-seeing.

Once back in the UK, I moved back in with my Dad for a little while while trying to figure out what I was going to do next. It wasn’t long until I had a job offer from Nevis Range Mountain Resort in Scotland. With this in the bag and a start date over a month away I made a plan to head out to ‘somewhere’. Thanks to the Skyscanner ability to search the destination ‘Everywhere’ I found some cheap flights out to Estonia, and back from Lithuania. Then, borrowing my brothers little van I made a trip up via Shoreham-by-sea and Oxford to see some family and friends before flying out.

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The Baltics were wonderful, and while my timing was a bit off (late Autumn) so I missed the Christmas markets, I did get to experience Latvian independence day. The countries were cold, but not snowy, which is something I would like to see. Still I found them easy and cheap to travel through, with Estonia feeling the most sophisticated and Lithuania the most welcoming. I stayed in the worst hostel I have ever stayed in, out of who knows how many hostels in more countries than I’d like to count. A great experience overall, and definitely a recommendation for anyone who can get out that way, a long weekend would be plenty to see the capitals, but I do think taking some more time, getting a car and doing a bit of exploring opens up a whole lot more.

IMG_20191214_121904596_HDRBack in the UK I had arranged the purchase of a motorhome, something to live in while in Scotland, so Bertha (the van) and I made our way slowly north to get back to work. Stopping off in Bristol and Dumfries again to see friends and family on the way made the journey much more bearable. Once in Scotland I found an incredibly welcoming group of active and adventurous people to spend time with, and quickly made myself at home, both at work and not. The local climbing wall was a hub for outdoor people who were driven inside thanks to the rain, so new friends were made and trips to the pub were frequent. IMG_20191222_110344117While the social side was excellent, sadly the weather did not play ball, and after a month and only two days on the snow, I was getting itchy feet. With almost constant rain, and the energy to gym waning alternatives were searched for.

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Thankfully an opportunity came up – not for me, but for my new partner – a job in Tignes in the French Alps. So after speedily packing up our bags and organising a whole new life, which lead to me leaving Bertha in Milton Keynes, and a non-stop 36 hour journey from Edinburgh to Tignes for Michelle, picking me up in London on the way. That’s where I currently am, unemployed and without a lift pass, but finding ways to get up the hill and enjoy my situation. A job will probably come along soon and my free time limited, so until then, when there’s sunshine and snow, I’ll ride as much as I can and enjoy putting my feet up.

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I have recently confirmed my Irish Citizenship and got my Irish Passport, allowing me to continue being an EU citizen, which means I can work in Greece and Turkey this summer for Busabout again. It also means that I have been able to re-apply for the IEC visa to return to Canada for another 2 years, during which I hope to get Canadian Permanent Residency.

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Benjamin Duff

@versestravel

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