Guyana will Change your Life

Guyana: A Country Like No Other
The African, Caribbean, Latin American, Indian, West-Indie, and Asian cultures are all prominent throughout Guyana. WalkingSt. George's Cathedral through Georgetown was as if I was walking through a cultural time warp block to block from the various styles of music blaring from a distance, the varieties of aromas available with each step, and the colorful sights to be seen. The combinations were endless. Guyana was unlike any place I’ve ever visited. Continue reading

Have you ever Considered Volunteering While on Vacation?

Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.

In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and vol­unteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitat­ing games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading

When One Journey Ends, Begin Another

Yarmouth Light HouseOver the last couple weeks, as I’ve been summarizing my last 14 months of travels, I have been asked the question: what’s next? by numerous bloggers. That’s a really good question! I’m unable to answer this question in entirety, as I do not know what the future holds. I do know that I’ll be starting on another journey. When one journey ends, the only thing to do is start another one. Regardless if I am traveling, my journey continues. Each of us is on our very own unique journey. Continue reading

My Journey is Far From Over

AustraliaIn a world where so many are out of work, I am thankful I have a job. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken a leave from my teaching position to travel for 14 months. Few jobs have such flexibility. Yes, of course I’d like to continue traveling the world, but unfortunately my sabbatical is up and my funds have run out. The time flew by. Time to be back in the classroom. At this point, I’m just thankful to have a job. I need a way to save up for more trips right?
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Three Months and Going Strong

Sacramento River

Sacramento River

So I have been traveling for 3 months already! The time is going by so quickly! I still have 11 months to travel before I go back to work. I am really cherishing the time I have to travel, explore, and to do all the things I didn’t previously have time for. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have an opportunity such as this. It is not everyday that someone can take a year off from their job to travel. I do not take this opportunity for granted. I’ve been saving up and waiting for this opportunity for 6 years; I am blessed that the time is finally here!  During my ‘waiting’ years, I taught for 6 years, changed grade levels, bought a house, completed my Master’s in Education and principal’s certificate, and saved up. I worked hard to earn my year off. Continue reading

Completed Bucket List


I started completing items on my “bucket-list” when I was in high school. Even though I have no intention of kicking the bucket anytime soon, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of having a rolling adventure to-do-list. Each year, I add new items to my list and try to accomplish them before the year is done. Often times, I find myself experiencing an activity I didn’t even know existed!  I get anxious with excitement just thinking about the next journey I will take or new thing I will try. Until I can’t think of another place to visit or another activity to do, I will continue to live my life to the fullest by checking off items on my ‘loving-life-list’. There is still so much more for me to see and do.

This is what I have been able to complete thus far in no particular order:


  1. Snorkeling
  2. Scuba Diving
  3. Surfing
  4. Whale Watching
  5. Swim with Dolphins
  6. Swim with wild whale Sharks
  7. Swim with wild sting rays
  8. Catamaran tour
  9. Deep Sea Kayaking
  10. Canoeing
  11. Wind Surfing
  12. Water Skiing
  13. Tarzan Swing
  14. Canopy Tour/Zip lining
  15. Rappelling  
  16. Visit an active volcano
  17. Swim in the only lake in the world with fresh water sharks
  18. Drive-In Movie
  19. Christmas & New Year in NYC
  20. Back Pack throughout Mexico & Central America
  21. Travel by myself
  22. Stay in hostels
  23. Ride on the back of a motochonco
  24. Hitch Hike
  25. Downhill Ski & Cross Country Ski
  26. Snow boarding
  27. Ice Skating
  28. Snow Shoeing
  29. Ice Climbing
  30. Rock Climbing
  31. Cruise
  32. Stay at a resort
  33. Hiking
  34. Visit the Mayan Ruins
  35. Swim in a Cenote
  36. White Water Rafting
  37. Horse Back Ride in the mountains
  38. Parasail
  39. Visit the aquarium at Atlantis
  40. Camp on the beach
  41. Boogie Boarding
  42. Body Boarding
  43. River Boarding
  44. Drive on the left side of the road
  45. Ride in a horse and carriage
  46. Tent Camping
  47. Drive a jet ski
  48. Disney World
  49. Live in a big city
  50. Visit Hollywood
  51. Fishing
  52. Ottawa for Canada Day
  53. Watch the Canada Day fireworks from the roof top of the Chateau Laurier
  54. Helicopter Ride
  55. Fly an airplane
  56. Caving
  57. Sailing
  58. Driving Range
  59. Buggy Tour
  60. Parliament
  61. White House
  62. Drive a Mustang
  63. Hotel Hop
  64. San Diego Zoo
  65. Lazy 5 Ranch

Life Moments:

  1. Start a blog
  2. Become a teacher
  3. Book a flight and just leave
  4. Dye my hair Rihanna red ombre
  5. Fall in love
  6. Road trip with friends
  7. Study Abroad
  8. Study at a private School
  9. Meet Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers
  10. Mom and daughter trip
  11. Bachelor of Arts
  12. Bachelor of Education
  13. Master’s in Education
  14. Volunteer
  15. Meet new friends
  16. Learn Spanish
  17. Tutor second language learners
  18. Try new things on each trip
  19. Train at a Crossfit box
  20. Try a new class
  21. Learn to make my own jewellery
  22. Buy a house
  23. Pay off my student loans
  24. Plan a vacation for someone
  25. See my favourite band in concert
  26. Sing in front of thousands of people
  27. Sing in a band
  28. Fly first class
  29. Travel with carry-on luggage only (a big deal for me)
  30. Visit a new place in my home province
  31. Remain pen-pals with childhood friend
  32. Reunite with old friends
  33. D.C. & L.A. Holocaust Museum
  34. Fly in Diamond Aircraft across 4 provinces
  35. Run a 5km marathon
  36. Play varsity rugby
  37. Coach high school soccer and rugby
  38. Principal’s Certificate
  39. Throw a surprise party for someone
  40. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child
  41. Go to the movies solo
  42. Teach at a college
  43. Move to a new city
  44. Try different jobs
  45. Stay in touch with a childhood pen-pal

In every city that I visit, I try to experience as much of the culture as I can by visiting as many of the iconic landmarks, monuments, museums, parks, restaurants, markets, sporting events, and festivals as I can. My fast-track travel style enables me to see much in a short amount of time. Although hyperactive traveling can be exhausting, it is also rewarding. I always make an effort to try something new in each destination that I visit. I would rather have memories of experiences had, rather than souvenirs.

I’ll continue to add to my bucket list in progress by creating yearly goals for myself; there is no better way to look forward to each new year!

Check out my other bucket lists: countries I’ve visited & around-the-world bucket list


Turquoise Compass is on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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Teacher For Life: Tips for New and Struggling Teachers

When I first started teaching, I honestly had no idea what I got myself into. There were any things I learned during my first year that I was not made aware of during my Education degree; some things cannot be taught in the classroom, like the different ways boys and girls learn. Many surprises included the endless paper work, phone calls, meetings, organizing, lesson planning, and involvement in extra-curricular activities. I did not fully realize that when I signed up to be a teacher, I would not only be an educator, but I would take on many roles. I soon realized: I have a lot to learn.

Playing with Fruit Loops

Playing with Fruit Loops

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Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn

Freedom Writer Teacher

Freedom Writer Teacher

A few years ago Harry Wong, a teacher and classroom management guru, wrote an article about my journey as a teacher when I first started out in the classroom. It is hard to believe where I started and where I am now after eight years of teaching. I started out teaching high school English for four years, which I later switched to middle school to challenge myself further. Challenge accepted. Throughout the last three years I’ve taught K, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 at a kindergarten to grade eight school and taught music, art, physical education, health, social studies, and English. Challenge indeed. It feels as though I have taught it all. I have learned more about myself throughout my teaching career than I could have otherwise. Being a teacher is part of who I am. I was born to teach. As most teachers can relate, when I started out it wasn’t easy. I had to learn how to teach and in return teach to learn.

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Over the Hump: How Turquoise Compass Came to Be

In 2012 I added ‘start a blog’ to my New Year’s resolutions. TurquoiseSand Dollar Compass did not come to fruition until 2013, not because I didn’t have the desire, initiative, or drive, but because I did not know what I was going to write about or what I wanted it to become. I love writing and much of my life revolves around writing. As an English teacher, I teach others to write. I am also actively involved in writing articles for my province’s teacher publications and district magazines. As some of you know, I just recently finished my Master’s in Education in June of this year and much of my program consisted of writing research papers and designing training modules. On average, for the last year, writing 7000 word papers every other week definitely kept me busy and delayed the starting of my blog. When I finished my Master’s I finally had the time (and guts) to accomplish my goal of starting a blog! Another bucket list checkmark for me!

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