Awww, you wanted to learn more about me! I’m so flattered! I figured that in order for us to become BFFs, I should introduce myself first. So hope you have a tea or coffee, here we go!
My name is Viola, and I hail from the country of -10 degrees winters and maple syrup. Did you guess correctly? Yes Canada! I am the humble human behind The Blessing Bucket blog.
My back story
I was born in China and moved to Canada with my parents when I was 10 years old. Yes I can speak Chinese 😛 欢迎和我聊天哦!
Growing up, I was a timid girl. I would get really nervous talking to people and wished that I was more confident. I never really thought that I would fall in love with travel. Airports intimidated me. So many people pushing stuff around. What is this check-in process? What do you do at a security gate? Ughh sounded scary.
The Turning Point
By university, I was still very much a kid. I wondered when, if ever, I will start feeling like a mature adult. In my third year of university, I decided to participate in an exchange program going to Australia. It was my first international journey alone. So needless to say I was hella nervous. But a big part of me told myself that this was my chance to see the world and break out of my shell.
And….Break out of my shell I did! Like a wild bird released into the jungle, I went all over the place (in a good way) during my time abroad. I did things that totally surprised myself. I took surfing lessons even though I was afraid of the ocean, I camped in the Australian desert with a group of strangers, I tried sky diving and jumped out of a plane 15,000 feet in New Zealand!
In these 5 months, I discovered the adventurer in me. It felt amazing every time I accomplished something and I wanted more of that feeling. With every mountain conquered, every waterfall found, every city navigated through successfully, I became more confident in myself. No longer was I a timid girl, I became a curious soul with a hunger for seeing more of earth!
But that on top of the world feeling didn’t last long. After going back to school in Canada, I got thrown right back into my old life. I constantly thought about my time in Australia and longed to live in another country again. However, the traditional teachings of my family and formal education were ingrained in me. After graduating university, I started working for a corporate company in Toronto. What a shame it would be to waste a degree that my parents helped pay for right? So with that guilt, I sat in a building every day, wore clothes that looked nothing like myself, and pretended to care about things that really didn’t interest me. I remember feeling like a sardine every morning when I would get packed into a subway cart with what seemed like a million other people to get to my job. I looked around at all the other “sardines” and thought, “This is insanity. Life is not supposed to be like this!”
I wish I could tell you the classic story of “I quit my corporate job and bought a one way ticket to Bali”, but the fact is I stayed. I stayed in my monotonous job because I was too scared. I was afraid of many things that you would expect. How would I make a living if I quit? What will my parents think? Blah blah…So instead, I took days off to travel whenever I could, and continued to felt like I didn’t belong whenever I went back to work.
One day after a year into the job, I was suddenly told that I was laid off. Instead of feeling sad, I was relieved. I felt like my world opened up again with loads of possibilities. It was as if they gave me a hand out and set me free! I did something that I was very proud of at that time. Instead of letting the monsters of financial and security worries get to my head again, I said YOLO! Let me take a breather and think about what I really want in life. I went to New York, Los Angeles, South East Asia, and traveled back to Australia.
Where I Am Now
Life is full of unexpected turns. Fast forward four years later, I am currently living in Japan. I decided to apply for teaching English abroad and move to a country that always fascinated me, “the land of the rising sun”! I have been here for almost two years and absolutely enjoy the experience. During the week, I teach English at Japanese public schools (My students are the sweetest kids ever). And at night and on weekends, I like to roam around with my camera, while I look for my next new favorite ramen restaurant and hot spring spot.
Where will I go next?
I may not be staying in Japan forever. Very bittersweet thought for me. In fact, I will be moving on to somewhere new in the near future. Where will I go next? I can’t tell you for sure. Maybe Australia, maybe South Africa, maybe India. Most likely everywhere! Now I have faith that wherever I choose to go, I can make life work for me and fulfill my travel dreams. Somewhere along my self-discovery journey, it clicked inside my head that we are often so worried about living in the future, we forget to enjoy the present. The result being we don’t live in the present or the future. As cliché as it sounds, life is fricken short! How will you make the most of it?
“Okay Viola, that’s some real hippie dippie stuff you are saying there. But you still got to make a living at the end of the day right?” Yes of course we all have to make an income somehow. But there are so many more options that we realize! Options that will allow you to travel, live your passion, and find your purpose.
You don’t have to nosedive into the deep end right away. You can take baby steps. Teach English abroad like I chose to, get a freelance job online, start a blog!
Beyond sharing fun itineraries and travel guides on The Blessing Bucket, my goal is to inspire you to dream a little bigger. I hope you’ll come along my journey as I explore colorful corners of the world and try my best in building a life of freedom.
I love it when people tell me that I made their bucket list a bit longer. I want to cry “Yaassss, you go get’em tiger!” but I don’t want to freak them out so I just root for them quietly in my head…The point is, travel changed my life and I hope that it will one day change yours too. And if I can be of help somewhere along your journey, I would have accomplished my mission.
If you would like to keep up with my adventures and tips, please join my mailing list here. I publish a newsletter every month with updates on new blog posts and FREE printable downloads (i.e goals planner, destination bucket lists, packing lists, and more). There is no spam ever! Promised!
If you would like to collaborate with me or have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I look forward to chatting with you!
“With every experience, every footstep, every story, a secret blessing has been collected in to our little bucket called life.”
– The Blessing Bucket