Guest blog by Jacqueline Buonocore
I graduated with my undergrad in April 2014 and that summer I went to go visit my friend who was living in Ottawa. We were sitting in her apartment talking about our life plans and the idea of travelling came up. After talking about different places, I decided I wanted to go to Thailand. I asked a few friends to go with me, but no one had the finances, or it wasn’t the right time for them. So, I thought to myself, I am either going to go now or I probably won’t ever have the chance to go again. I knew my parents wouldn’t be comfortable with me travelling alone across the world so I started looking up travel groups based out of Canada.
My search led me to a company called Free & Easy Traveler. I began reading about them and knew this was the company for me. I loved their attitude towards travelling. I loved how they were based out of Canada and it was all young people who travel with them. I knew I would be out of my comfort zone and meeting new people so I wanted it to be with other people I could relate to. Their website was full of detailed information about all their destinations and trips. It was easy to book with them and their staff was always so friendly.
I decided to tell my parents “I am going to Thailand for 40-days and I am leaving in January 2015 and I already paid the deposit”. Well, even though I was going with a group they still weren’t very comfortable with the idea of me travelling across the world. But I just knew it was something I had to do for myself. I wanted to experience new things and just put myself out there. And what better way than with a bunch of other people who are around my age probably feeling the same way as me.
Well it was the best decision of my life! I met my future husband in my travel group. We hit it off right from meeting in Bangkok and the entire trip was just like a fairy tale. We still did everything with the group, but it was so great doing it alongside him.
After our 40-day trip to the Land of Smiles, he continued to travel to the Philippines with FnEZ and I returned to Canada as I had another trip booked with a friend. We ended up returning to Canada from our trips the same day in March and decided we would do long distance for a while. Well, in July of that year, I moved from Ontario to Alberta to be with him. A couple years later we bought a house, and we got engaged the summer of 2018. In February 2019 we got married! We went on our honeymoon in the Philippines and Vietnam and came home to the best surprise… we are expecting our first child December 2019.
Travelling has changed my life completely and Free & Easy helped me with that. I always encourage people to travel because you never know who you will meet or what experience you will have that can change your life. Going with a group made me feel at ease knowing I wasn’t alone and having two leaders who have been there before was a comforting feeling. Don’t think twice about travelling. You won’t regret it!