With April coming to a close, university finals wrapping, and summer upon us, travel season is here. With that in mind, I've recruited my boyfriend, Anthony, to help me share some of our best travel tips for those heading abroad. We met two years ago when he was a travelling Australian visiting Montreal during his 10 month solo trip around Europe and North America. Since then we've travelled across Eastern Canada together and are currently making our way throughout Australia. Needless to say we've acquired a few good tips between the two of us.
It’s hard to believe our tradition of writing lists for our birthdays with the corresponding age we’re turning started 7 years ago when Mad sent Teal a card from her exchange in Norway. It was for her 18th birthday with a list of 18 reasons why we were (and still are) soul sisters.
Needless to say, not much has changed in our friendship and the way we celebrate our birthdays. In honour of Teal’s 25th birthday, we’ve compiled a list of 25 things to achieve or get in the habit of achieving in our 20s. Some we have checked off, some are on-going, and some we’re still working on! Have a read to see if they inspire you, no matter if you’re 25, 45, or 85!
25. “Whatever you are, be a good one”- your 20s are a time to explore and try new things. The world is at our fingertips and we have so many opportunities to achieve whatever we want to. Regardless of what it is, make sure you do it to the absolute best of your ability.
Making a list like this is just one way to make sure time doesn’t tick by without consideration of things you really want to do/accomplish. Everybody’s list is different and everybody can interpret it in their very own way. Birthdays, like any landmark or holiday are a great time to reflect on years past and look forward to what you want out of the year ahead. Teal’s 25th birthday marks a pretty awesome 24, but it only marks the start of another amazing year ahead.
Taylor epitomizes bronze & gold and we couldn't be more excited to feature our long time friend as a guest writer! He humbly embodies the traits of many celebrity heart throbs. He's that kind of all around good guy who feeds his wild side cruisin' through the summer on a bad ass motorcycle. Taylor's insanely positive attitude and ability to make everyone he meets feel special is truly unparalleled!
When I was 17, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere other than Winchester. How could it possibly get any better? I have my own car, my friends live a short drive away, and my Mom makes my dinner every night.
At 21, I couldn’t believe that I was enjoying living in Ottawa so much. I mean, I finally felt like I had a handle on university, I lived a five minute walk from the canal, and although I now had to cook my own meals, at least I was becoming better at piecing together a recipe.
By 23 I had packed up and travelled the 401 to Toronto, where I would wake up every morning excited about my new roommate, my new school, and a new city to explore. My new home was less familiar than my previous two, but equally rewarding.
When condensing the last eight years of my life into 150 words, it can be laid out simply. That’s the beauty of retrospect- anything can be packaged and presented neatly, without conflict. I do, however, consider myself to be extremely fortunate, because so much of our lives are left up to chance; to plain luck. Nonetheless, we cannot forget that we have the ultimate influence to take the decisions we make, as well as those made for us, and spin them positively.
I myself, have never been terribly extraordinary. I am an average athlete, my academic performance has always been standard, only scratching the surface of the high school honour role, and I follow the social commonality that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Something that I do feel makes me special, however, is the ability to take that great luck I referenced and match it with a positive attitude. Staying committed to that optimism often results in my own productivity, allowing me to make the most of the hands that I am dealt. The following are only a few instances of my sheer luck and simple ability to seek out a silver lining and magnify it.
The Significance of Being Born in 1991
Shout out to my parents for great timing. This stroke of luck landed me in the midst of an amazing group of people. Winchester Public School class of ‘03 was an absolute gold mine of quality kids, which I would be fortunate enough to grow up with. Contained in this very same year was another flock of great people who came together to successfully navigate the emotional rollercoaster we call high school, as the NDDHS class of 2009. To this day, I remain conscious of this lucky break, and completely fond of the year that I was born and the people who distinguished it as special.
Being able to Growing Up in Winchester
Once again, this was another valuable decision made for me by top-notch parents; however, I like to think that I put in the leg-work to make the most of our rural surroundings. Now, I accumulated a healthy amount of city-raised friends later in life who couldn’t fathom a childhood void of a local mall or movie theater. “What did you do for fun?” they would ask in a tone loaded with pity. The answer I gave was simple and always the same: “We made our own.” From quarry swimming, to bonfire parties, or merely riding around listening to the radio, we were self-sufficient and we forged our own good times.
Being Introduced to the Idea of Residence Life
Leaving home for the first time to live on a university campus is a decision that I regard as one of the most profoundly influential I’ve ever made; although, this idea of departing for a new chapter in the city was not originally my own. Thanks to the encouragement of my then-girlfriend, Dara, and the rest of the Bowie family, I felt confident enough to embark upon my first year of pseudo-independence at Carleton University, surrounded by a busy streets, new friends, and a fresh routine. Being open to learning new things and meeting new people that year changed my life and thrust me forward as an adult, teaching me that the fear that “new” can create is worth its weight in gold, but also worth its weight in beer and chicken wings.
Moving to Toronto and Making it Home
To become a teacher, I chose to shake things up and accept an offer from the University of Toronto. If I had learned anything from my time Carleton, it was that, with the right outlook, change could often be transformed into opportunity, and I was willing to test my own theory. Armed with my exceptionally beautiful partner in crime, Laura, and two sets of parents supportive enough to deliver us to our new home in Toronto, we bought a subway pass, a Blue Jays hat, and set out together to try our hands at becoming Torontonians. If city living interests you, even a little bit, it takes no effort at all to fall in love with this one. Toronto in the summer boasts lively patios, mid-day baseball games, and bike-paths connecting the city, while the winter brings bright Christmas lights, a plethora of Starbucks, and another NHL season with my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. This is not to mention a strong group of old friends paired with a classroom full of new ones. This new place became home very quickly, and this was because we were open to the fact that we could feel as affectionately about Toronto as we do Ottawa or Winchester, if given the chance.
Following a Lead and Finding Opportunity
Fortunately, one day in class at U of T, a professor of mine mentioned an upcoming job fair for Canadian Independent Schools. With slim job prospects of teaching in the public school board, my classmates and I dressed up, printed résumés, and hoped for the best. I left that day, after meeting with schools that seemed far beyond the realm of possibility of any new teacher, feeling humbled. With another stroke of luck, I was contacted for an interview by St. Andrew’s College, the school that I now work at every day. Never did I imagine finding a school so dynamic, with staff so welcoming and dedicated to giving truly amazing kids the opportunity to have what I did in high school: a place decide who you are and what kind of adult you want to be, but also to learn that we make our own luck by facing decisions head on with good intentions and the conviction to invent your own success.
We were both lucky enough to meet some pretty amazing people and make some lifelong friends during our undergrads. Unfortunately, graduation came with these friends moving home and on to different cities for graduate school and new jobs. We found ourselves in the postundergraduate world of being 20something and feeling a bit lonely. Gone were the days of dining hall breakfast that turned into lunch, of nights out at our old stomping ground where we knew everyone in the bar (including the bouncers), and the simplicity of just spending time with friends whether it was at the library or the gym. After going through some pretty lonely times, we realized that making friends in our 20s is easier said than done. That being said, we knew we were going to need to be proactive if we wanted a squad to rival Taylor Swift’s. Whether you’ve recently moved back home or moved across the world, we know we’re not the only ones who have been in the position of wanting to meet some new people so we’ve decided to share our best ways and opportunities to get yourself out there yes some ways may sound like dating tips....
Get involved- This has to be one of our favourite tips for being successful in so many different ways throughout our 20s which is why it has come up time and time again in bronze & gold posts. The simplest way to meet people and expose yourself to a new group is to join one. Whether it be netball_, innertube water polo, or a book club, you’ll be introduced to a whole group of potential new friends. Even if you don’t end up connecting outside of your weekly game or meeting, it stills gives you at least one social outing every week.
Take the initiative to set up an event- Elaborating on tip #1, we’ve learned that joining a team doesn’t necessarily guarantee new gal pals to go out for brunch with. There may be others who are just as eager to meet people as you are but since many will already have their own friend groups, it may be up to you to initiate an outing. Suggesting grabbing dinner or a drink after your game or meeting is an easy way to meet up outside of your activity. Even if only one person agrees it will still be a great opportunity to get to know someone new. That being said, if someone from work, a friend of a friend, or a teammate ever suggests an activity, say yes! Never turn down an opportunity to put yourself out there and connect with people, even if it’s something that’s completely out of your comfort zone. You’ll either have a great time or worst case scenario a great story to laugh at later on.
Take advantage of technology- Thanks to wifi and smartphones, meeting friends can be just a click away. We think it’s so cool that the internet realized we already rely on the web for shopping and dating, so hey, why not meeting new pals too! There are two avenues we are going to suggest here, not because we’ve used them personally but because we are curious: Girl Crew and Bumble BFF. We stumbled across Girl Crew on Facebook one day and love its premise. It started when a girl wanted to go out dancing but her small group of friends already had other plans. She changed her gender on Tinder to male (so she would come up on girls accounts) and used her profile picture to explain her situation. It didn’t take long for hundreds of girls who were also in the same situation to match and suddenly it grew into small groups of girls who wanted to meet up and hang out whether it was for a night out, a coffee, or a running session. Check out girlcrew.rocks to find a group in your city to join! We can’t wait to give it a go! By now you all know how pro Tinder we are so you may be surprised we’re recommending one of its competitors. Bumble is a similar dating app but it has now branched out and launched BumbleBFF, where you can be switched to “BFF Mode” and swipe through potential friends instead of dates.
As 20somethings we are so lucky to have infinite opportunity to meet and get acquainted with new people. We have travel opportunities out the wazoo where we grow our networks beyond borders. We are able to reach outside the walls of our small towns and connect with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. And stay connected beyond our time together through a variety of social media avenues. Getting involved, taking initiative, and using technology are just a couple of the awesome ways to meet new gal pals (and bonus: grow as a person!). If you’ve been sitting on the fence about trying new things, or sitting on the couch wishing there were new things to try, or sitting on friends who are dragging you down, now’s the time! If you’ve used any of these or something else to meet new pals please let us know in the comments! And keep us posted on any revelations, funny or awkward encounters, or creative approaches you took.
Teal & Mad