4th November: I’m Home

Good afternoon, or morning, or evening, from Toledo!


Not the best pic, but my balcony view!

So…it’s been two months since I wrote anything on this blog. Yikes. I think any “travel blogger” (or in my case, wannabe-travel-blogger) commits to writing a certain amount of posts before they take any big trip. But then, we actually get to our destination, and the adventure just takes over. Whether you’re cruising the Mediterranean, hiking the jungles of Brasil, or building a¬†life in a completely new country, it can be hard to remember to post. No worries to the few people who actually read this blog, because I am back, and pledge to write more every week!
In which case, you’ll likely hear from me again in two more months. ūüėõ

The main reason I haven’t posted on this blog is because I am super busy! Welcome to Spain as an¬†auxiliar de conversaci√≥n¬†or “language assistant.” I will post more about my school and a breakdown of the types of things I do in a different post, for anyone interested in doing a similar program in Spain and what to truly expect. But as a quick breakdown, I have been:

1. Teaching/Assisting
I work 24 hours per week (the maximum number of hours assigned at random by the BEDA program) at a¬†concertado, which is a school that is half-public, half private. Some things are paid for by the local authority while some are paid for the families who attend. I have 24 different classes of students ranging from 7 years of age to 18, from 2nd Primary to 2nd Bachillerato. In the Canadian education system, this translates to kids from Grade 2-12. It’s sometimes difficult to manage activities and games for such a diverse age range, but I love to prep for my classes and discuss ideas with my fellow teachers. They are all very sweet and eager to practice their English, but are also gracious in allowing me to practice my Spanish with them too! Every day we have a “coffee break” in the staff room which makes me feel super professional, haha. I am able to chat with the teachers there and we also have lunch together. I may work more hours than some of my other friends in different programs, and work Monday to Friday, with only weekends off, but I am really enjoying it and feel that teaching is, in some form at least, my true calling.

2. Private classes
Compared to Canadian cities of the same size, the cost of living in Toledo is fairly cheap, and the monthly stipend provided by my school is definitely enough to cover basic expenses like food and rent. I have leftover cash to go out with friends and grudgingly pay my student loan back at home since I wasn’t able to defer it. However, most people come to Spain with the plan to travel around Europe, which is half the fun! While I did save money before I came, I also took up the practice of doing¬†clases privadas here in Spain, all gained solely by word of mouth from my fellow teachers. Basically, I spend around an hour with each person (mostly children aged 8-15) providing English conversation practice. Education here in Spain is great when it comes to grammar and such, but like any language, English is best learned by speaking out loud! Parents know their kids can be shy in a class of 25+ and so they often get native speakers to provide this conversation time and pay a fee. I have 10-11 clients (depending on their schedule sometimes) that I do this with every week from Mon-Fri. Some of my friends also do lessons at English academies in their free time. It’s a necessary thing to do here if you want to save some money, but I really enjoy it!


Just some prep!

3. Making friends
Lame, I know, but I’ve met a tonne of great people already here in Toledo! Besides my fellow staff members, I’ve made friends with many other¬†auxiliares¬†through connections like regional Facebook groups. We love to go out to explore the city, and I’ll admit that it’s really nice to speak in my own language in a non-academic/teaching kind of way. I’m so happy I’ve met so many people, although I’ve yet to meet any fellow Canadians ūüė¶
I also spend a lot of time with my roommates, who are all Spanish and don’t speak too much English. But I don’t mind, because my Spanish has improved immensely, even in just two months! We watch TV together and hit the gym, which has been an interesting experience on its own, without the foreign language thrown in! The families of my private-class kids have also been super welcoming, often making me a meal or snack while in their home.


My roommates and I at the bar!

4. Trying to make the most of my down-time
Between teaching, private lessons, prepping for lessons, hanging with my friends, hitting the gym, and doing normal person things like, ya know, eating and sleeping… I’ve been trying to maximize what little down time I have by improving my Spanish! I got a library card to take books out in the target language instead of buying them, and that proved to be a big help, because the first book I checked out (a young adult novel) was written at a much higher level than I can comprehend. I have around a B1-B2 level in Spanish, which is to say, fairly conversation and can discuss a wide variety of topics with ease, but still not fluent and lacks significant vocabulary or grammar poignancy to be considered fluent. In order to learn more vocab, I borrowed some primary level books from my school, notably¬†The Adventures of Geronimo Stilton. I comprehend about 90% of the books, and although they’re a bit infantile, I love using the context of the words I know to learn new ones. Another favourite tactic of mine to learn is to watch TV with Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles. I’m at a good enough level to understand most of it, but if I have the Spanish subs on, it forces me to read it and think, not just see the translation in English. I find it helps to watch shows I’m familiar with already, like The Big Bang Theory, Spongebob, or The Simpsons.

But down-time with a lazy brain is also important. I finally watched¬†Stranger Things and loved it, I watch Vine compilations¬†a lot (RIP VINE), especially when I’m feeling down. I read books in English, write poems, research travel destinations, and make pros and cons lists of options for teaching/living abroad in the next few years. A big thing among expat friends here is that we feel we always have to be¬†doing something because, duh, we’re in SPAIN and should be maximizing every moment! But we’re also in Spain for seven more months. There is time. If you’re in a similar situation, just breathe, and take time for yourself.


A cable car in Porto

This is getting pretty lengthy, so without going into detail, I have also: traveled to Portugal (my fourteenth country!), gotten a really terrible cough¬†AND food poisoning, navigated the Spanish red tape of getting my ID cards in order, been to the hospital (for the terrible cough, I didn’t know how to make a doc appointment), been to a Maluma concert in Madrid, went to a few Spanish National Day events, cooked a lot more for myself, embarrassed myself countless times at the supermarket, and stayed awake until 5am partying Spanish-style.


National day celebrations (Guardia Civil)

I love it here, and encourage anyone who has a similar dream to go for it!

xoxo Cady


3rd September: Toledo Livin’

Well, I’ve made it! After a long wait at the airport in Toronto, a relatively quick-seeming flight to Madrid, an even quicker train ride to Toledo, and countless muscle aches from dragging my 60 pound suitcase all over the cobblestone streets, I’m here. I’m living in Toledo, Spain!


View of the Old Town about five minutes walking up from the train station!

Toledo is beautiful, but I can already tell I’m going to get a work out just by walking from my apartment to my school. There are so many hills! It appears to be split between the “old” town and the new and is fairly navigable. I’ve already downloaded a helpful city bus app, which also has information about out of town buses. (If you’re spending any longer than a day in the city, I’d highly recommend it; I found it by searching “Toledo Bus” in the app store.)

I spent my first two nights here in an Air BNB, my first one ever! I’ve always been a bit wary of things like Uber and related companies just because it seemed so sketchy to me. A room in a person’s house? For a night? Is it like a hotel or a hostel? I have the keys to their house? I stayed in a bottom floor flat with a room to myself, sharing the bathroom and common areas with two others who I rarely saw. My only complaint would be that the place was difficult to find. The street “Callejon de Cura” might as well have been an alleyway with how tiny it was, and signage in Spain makes it tough to spot the street name until you’re basically there. But otherwise, it was cozy and a great way to start my adventure in Toledo!
Click here for a link the one I stayed at, my hostess Manuela was very kind and helpful, especially when I told her I was looking for an apartment. She called a few of her contacts and told me about the neighbourhoods of Toledo.

Afterwards, the real work began: my apartment hunt. I’ve been back in Spain for almost five days now, and already I’ve experienced one of my least favourite things about the country…the attitude of “ma√Īana.” This Spanish word means “tomorrow,” but is also a common joke about how slow the pace of life is in Spain, because here, everything can wait until “ma√Īana.” I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be laid back, but I need an apartment! Hello! I messaged probably 40 people in total regarding their ads for rentable rooms, most of them on the Spanish renting site idealista.com. Around ten didn’t respond to my messages at all, more than fifteen were already rented out (then why is your ad still up? Because ma√Īana, probably), and a few ended up being out of my price range. I saw four places in total and ended up in one in the neighbourhood of Buenavista.


Buenavista is Spanish for “great view,” and that’s what I’ve got! -From my balcony

I have a different job than a lot of Spaniards, so it’s hard for me to say if life in Spain is low-cost. I mean, for me, it totally is…my room costs me 200 euros per month including the internet, cable, water, gas, electricity, etc. and came furnished with a bed, armario (I don’t know the English word for this lmao), an armchair, a desk, and a desk chair. The neighbourhood is beautiful and I’m on the 6th floor, the only fly in that ointment being that our elevator is currently broken… time to get fit I guess. I live with three Spanish women which will hopefully help me learn this language to fluency even faster. There’s also a POOL in this complex that will 1. hopefully be open for another couple weeks as it’s like 34 degrees here and 2. may have been my deciding factor in picking this apartment over others I saw. It might be a 30 minute walk to my school, but I’m committed to my fitness goals this time around in Spain, and if all else fails, the bus is right outside the gate!

Tomorrow I’ll be finalizing the contract to live here, and I can’t wait! I still have two days after that until BEDA orientation, and on the 9th I’ll be off to Portugal to kill some time before classes officially begin on 18th September!

xoxo Cady

I’m Going Back to SPAIN!

Hi everyone! I’m a bit delayed in writing this post, but I’ve been so excited, I’ve barely had the time to think! Look what came into my email the other day:


That’s right, your girl got a spot in the BEDA program to teach English in Toledo, Spain from September 2017 to June 2018! Why would I want to do this, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons. The first is that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but over here in Canada, most of our college applications require some¬†experience. And I have none! So I figured why not gain some valuable teaching practice in a lovely place like Spain? That’s reason number two: I fell in love with Spain years ago and have been itching to go back ever since. Almost exactly three years later, here I’ll go! ūüôā


I’ll be teaching here! Image from:¬†https://nationaltokens.com/7-new-locations-toledo-spain/

Wow, was this ever an agonizing wait! I joined Facebook groups for both the¬†BEDA and¬†Auxiliar programs, and I’ve been anxiously watching others post their acceptances since I returned from Varadero in early May. I even racked up some pretty hefty roaming charges while in Cuba, because I was constantly checking my email for word! The year before, I heard pretty quickly from BEDA, but this year seemed to take more time. Finally, on May 17th, I had my answer!

The letter I got details my assignment (primary and high school students) and the amount of hours I’ll work each week. 24 may not seem like a lot, but in fact it’s the maximum you could be working with BEDA! Positions are assigned from 18-24 hours and are given at random. It’s a lighter work load because we’ll also be taking classes about teaching theory through the University of Comillas. I’m not sure what to expect from those, but I’m sure they’ll look great on a resume.


Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1328388/Spain-weekend-breaks-Toledo-steel-heart.html

I’ll be living in a city with roughly 83,000 people, but it’s only 45 minutes from the Spanish capital of Madrid. Heart eyes! I have to confess, even though I spent nearly five months in and around Spain in 2014 during my exchange, I’ve never been to Madrid or most other parts of Spain (broke student life). I’m excited to discover the castles and cobblestones of Toledo, head to Madrid for easy flight-hopping and¬†El Clasico¬†(I’m getting tickets ASAP, baby!), take a train down to Malaga, Cordoba, or Cadiz, and explore the rest of Don Quixote’s province. I also can’t wait to visit the friends I made while living in Bilbao!

The process of applying for a student visa, which we’re technically under since we’ll be studying at Comillas, is a long one, so I promise to detail the steps that lead up to my BEDA experience as I go along! I’ve already put in an application for my national background check to be able to work with children, and I’ve made a massive list splitting up my tasks in nice “To Do” checklists for June, July, and August. Classes start on September 18th, but I’ll be in Spain long before then to apartment hunt and settle in! Oh, and I’m going to Varadero again in two weeks, for possibly the last time for a year! ūüė¶ I’m very sad about being even further from my boyfriend for 9+ long months, but we’ve spoken about this at length, and on a sort of positive note, we’re already used to distance. I’m excited to explore Spain and the rest of Europe, and to be back in one of my favourite countries once again!

Did anyone else apply to BEDA, UCETAM, MEDDEAS or the Auxiliares program in Spain? Anyone in the Madrid/Castilla La Mancha area? I’d love to connect!

xoxo Cady

Travel Book Review: “Wanderlust” by Elisabeth Eaves

Hi everyone! I’m still emotionally unprepared to write about my recent trip to Cuba (in a good way though), but I really wanted to write something on my blog anyways. So, I decided I’d try something new, and write my first review of someone else’s travel writing!

As well as my fellow adventurers’ travel blogs, I am really intrigued by full books that are about or involve traveling in some way. They don’t have to be true stories, but I like those ones a lot more, especially if they’ve been written by women. It’s not that I have a gender bias, but as a woman, I feel more empowered reading a story written by a woman, specifically if she’s traveled to some more “risky” places around the globe. Anyways, the first book I’ll be writing about is one of the latter; it’s a totally true travel memoir written by a fearless female, and it’s one of my favourite books in any category.


My well-worn copy

The book in this picture is my own, and would likely appear even more worn-out if it were my original. I joined a book club that involved swapping our favourite reads with others to borrow, and then we were to return and discuss them and swap them back. Needless to say, the book club never met again, and the girl who had my first copy moved away from my university town. I went to Chapters to buy another copy of this book because I started to miss it. I read it‚ÄĒor at least pieces, excerpts, or chapters of it‚ÄĒevery week. I have read the entire book more than 100 times, probably, and highlighted anything that has stood out to me in times of need. This is how I felt without it; I needed this book back, hence the second purchase. It is¬†la biblia, it is my comfort object,¬†it is irreplaceable.


Wanderlust is written by Elisabeth Eaves, who is now a journalist and frequently posts on her twitter (@elisabetheaves) about current events. Her tumblr, however, is much more travel-centric, and although she hasn’t updated in ages, it’s still worth a browse too (elisabetheaves.tumblr.com).

I hadn’t realized at first that the book was a memoir. I picked it up because I thought the cover was pretty, and I had always felt that I had Wanderlust too, even if it was only thinking about going up the Eiffel tower someday. It only hit me, once reading that the characters referred to the narrator as “Beth,” that I was glimpsing into something much better than fiction. The wild stories and exotic locales had all¬†happened to her, had all been touched by her, and recounted by her. This was new. This was fantastic. It made me think that I could do these things too.

Wanderlust follows Elisabeth from her shiny introduction to travel around age 9 during her father’s sabbatical, in Spain, to returning years later as a nanny in the same country (during which she gets up to a lot of naughty and raucous adventures‚ÄĒthis is probably one of my favourite segments to the story, since it reminded me a lot of my own experiences in Spain), to living as an adult in London, England and backpacking through treacherous trails in Papua New Guinea. I tried to count how many countries she visits throughout, but I always lose track. The narrator is Elisabeth herself and she tells her story¬†with an honest, thoughtful voice, with no detail spared. She has mentioned that the details came straight from her own journals. It feels, as well, that in nearly every country she ends up with a lover or several. Sometimes they last only the duration of her stay, or sometimes for years after she’s left the country, which is a feeling I can relate to that I’ve also carried ever since I first stepped off of a plane myself. Not necessarily lover-related, mind you, but the feeling of a person met or connection I’ve made haunting me long after I’ve left.


One of my favourite passages from Wanderlust

But the sexy, sensational parts of this book aren’t the only reasons I enjoy it so much. In between the trips, the author details the tedious parts of life which must¬†occur: falling in love, settling down, breaking up, changing jobs, being broke, feeling trapped. No matter what she has in front of her, there always seems to be a singular desire to get away from it. She calls herself “an eccentric, who can’t find pleasure in quotidian life, and would rather pursue adventure and adventurers than stability in New York.” After a breakup with someone who I thought was the love of my life, this book really resonated with me, and reminded me that it was okay to pursue something other than a settled house + car + kids life that everyone around me seemed to expect. No matter where in the world Elisabeth is in Wanderlust, her words always hit close to home for me.

I’ve realized I can’t encompass everything that this book means to me into this review, and it’s beginning to get a little lengthy. The book itself smells like sunscreen right now because it accompanied me every day to the beach in Varadero, both the first and second times I went. It’s crossed both big oceans in my bag, going East and West. That’s how much this book means to me, and I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy, and discover this book for yourself.

Rating: 10/10
Would recommend to: women, only because it is fairly feminine-centric, but I feel like a lot of men would enjoy the stories too

Do you have a favourite piece of travel writing? A book, a blog, a magazine? Please tell me, I am legitimately always looking for good books about travel!

xoxo Cady

Pre-Trip Anxiety and How I (Sort of) Deal

It’s around 11pm on a cold Sunday night here in Ontario, and I’m feeling fear again. I’ve been sipping tepid water and brushing my teeth like mad. Tomorrow, conveniently timed 5 days before my trip to Varadero, I have my very first root canal scheduled. Every single person I’ve told has said the same thing: “It’s going to hurt.” The right side of my mouth throbs intermittently.

I’m not afraid of the dentist in the slightest.

I truly am not. I’ve sat through fillings and deep tooth scaling like a champion ever since I was old enough to even see a dentist. I have friends who won’t sit their bum in a chair until heavily medicated with laughing gas, whereas I could just as easily walk into a dental office as I would walk into work every day (disappointed to be there, but not uneasy…hahaha). It’s not that I’m looking forward to a root canal per se, it’s just that it’s not what’s driving my nervous feeling.


Fearing no heights in Varadero 2016 – Photo credit to Victoria Chiasson

Nope, I’m feeling the fear for five days in the future. On Saturday I’ll be taking my first solo plane ride since China and my first solo trip since China, and while I’m majorly excited about it, my old travel anxiety is creeping back up as well. If you’ve never read my blog before, you may be wondering why often it always goes back to my experience in the Far East, which I detailed here.
Well, I just think of how awful I felt at that time. I was so panicked and on edge at every moment of the day, and couldn’t even enjoy sharing time with new friends without worrying about what was to happen to me. My anxiety disorder tends to focus specifically on my health; I’m always concerned when and where I can find a doctor, a hospital, my medications… the list goes on. I never want to repeat my China disaster, and cut a cool trip short for a fear of nothing in particular.

To be honest, I know that my trip to Cuba will differentiate from my trip to China in many ways. I’ve already been to Varadero and am somewhat familiar with the hotels and the airport. I speak Spanish semi-fluently, at least well enough to let someone know if I’m hurting and where in my body. I take my anxiety medication steadily, I’ve been eating well, and I’m going to meet someone in Varadero that I already know. I’ve got it planned out; I’m staying at a resort. I’ve read countless articles about solo travel in Cuba for girls, and it seems like it will all be okay.


Does my fear trump my wish to be here again? No way!

Still, I have that impending fear. I know I’ll have to fly, which is something I’ve dealt with enough times to become somewhat okay with, but still don’t love. I always think: “What if? What if I have to go to the hospital? What if the plane goes down? What if I get food poisoning?” (That last one is very unlikely for me, as I have an iron stomach, but even that can’t get past my anxious mind sometimes.)

But I’m determined. I read accomplished travel blogs by men and women alike, and I continue to be inspired by the various hiccups that people overcome in order to travel: money issues, long distance relationships, processing visas, etc. Also, given the current situation in the United States right now, I feel blessed to even be able to travel freely with my passport to so many different countries. I know I’m privileged to travel to Cuba as often as I am, and I have high hopes for this trip.

Do you get nervous before a trip? What worries you most? Tell me!

xoxo Cady

Go For Spain 2017: BEDA and Auxiliares

Wow, it sure has been a long time since I posted on my blog! This stems from the fact that I declined my BEDA offer last year and instead opted to stay here in Ontario to make some money. Did it turn out to be a good decision? Honestly, I’m on the fence about it. I really do like my job (and its benefits), I’ve met a lot of great friends through work, and I’ve been able to save some money this year which can hopefully go towards a job in Spain in September/more travels. But in contrast, I’ve also been shivering away during yet¬†another Ontario winter, wishing I was eating churros and watching futbol in a tiny bar in Galicia (the place I was supposed to go to with BEDA!). But as they say in El Sal, #socks: eso si que es. I’m back with news though: I’ve applied to both BEDA and Auxiliares de Conversacion for the 2017/2018 school year! I never really planned to stay long here, but I did want to earn some money so that I’d be more comfortable if I did move abroad soon. Here’s hoping I get a job with either one, and here’s an update on both!

BEDA:¬†I applied to BEDA as soon as applications opened in early December, and I received a notification for my ¬†Skype interview several weeks later. I’ll be having it in a week from tomorrow (!), and I’m not too nervous, except for the fact that I did defer my position last year. I hope this won’t affect my chances! I wrote a bit about my experiences with the application process here, and getting the job with BEDA last year¬†here. The interview last year was pleasant, straight-forward, and completely in English. Applications are still open although it does say until January 2017, so I’m not sure when exactly they will close. If you’re interested, apply now through this link!¬†ūüôā

Auxiliares de Conversacion:¬†Last year I ran into a few problems with my application for the known-to-be-disorganized ADC program, which I wrote about here and here. Today I finished my application for the 2017-2018 year, and I’m inscrita (application number) 715. I wanted to be earlier, but I forgot that the applications opened on January 9th at midnight SPAIN time, and not Ontario time. Still, I submitted it, and 715th is not too shabby. I’ve heard that generally return applicants get their first choices and then it all trickles down through the ranks from there. Surprisingly, this year’s application offered not only a choice between your top 3 Spanish autonomous regions, but an option to select Andorra as a first or second choice over Spain. As far as I know, this is the first year that Andorra has been open on the program. I picked it as my second choice, because I really do love Spain, but if I got placed in Andorra I wouldn’t be disappointed. Applications officially opened today and go until 18th April 2017, but placements are on a first come, first serve basis, so apply now if you want one here!

Both programs start giving placements around the end of April/beginning of May, so you may not hear anything for awhile about that, but if I have any updates I’ll be sure to post them. I’ll also soon be writing about a recent trip to Cuba that I took, which was my first big trip since my 2015 China disaster. I have trips planned in 2017 for Cuba (again) and possibly Mexico or the Dominican Republic too. Hopefully September will also be bringing me to Spain or Andorra!

Glad to be back in the travel game ūüôā

xoxo Cady

Where to? Not there… The reality of traveling with Anxiety Disorder

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this and even longer to be able to write about it, but simply put, there are places in the world I may never be able to travel to as long as I have anxiety disorder.

Travel anxiety is a real thing. It has to do with the worry one experiences when going away for an extended period: How will my friends and family be? What if something happens to them? What if something happens to¬†me? What if my credit cards get stolen or my luggage lost? From some of the travel horror stories we’ve all surely heard, it’s not difficult to see why travel anxiety can take over even the most experienced travelers at times. The anxiety I have, however, is a bit different.


Posing with a common sight in El Salvador: the armed guards

Generalized anxiety disorder can manifest itself in different ways, but for me it can go from vague unease to full blown panic attacks, especially in situations that trigger my biggest fears (which are personally airplanes, and anything to do with my health being compromised i.e. heart attacks). For these, I take a daily sedative that helps to control my anxiety. For more intense situations, I rely on Ativan (Lorazepam), which I take a low dose of before hopping on a plane. Yoga works for some, exercise works for some, and these meds work for me. I’ve been on them for about three years now, and dealt with all of the stigma associated with. I didn’t want to be that person who “relied” on pills, but you know what? They’ve helped me a lot, and I’m no longer ashamed to have them for daily life.

I’m talking ¬†daily life in Canada though. When I travel, my fears still run wild, and it can start before I’ve even left my country. I’m constantly thinking:

  • If I have to go to a hospital/clinic/emergency room, do I speak the language?
  • Are ambulance services reliable (or do they even exist)?
  • Are they at the same standard as my home country?
  • Would they be able to help me if I had *insert medical condition I am very unlikely to contract here*?
  • Are buildings up to code? What if there’s a fire? What if it collapses?
  • What about smog? Will I develop some kind of respiratory infection or lung cancer?

Some people might read that list and find it kind of funny, but mostly nonsensical and irrational. Surprise! It is, because that’s what anxiety does. It makes me worry about things that aren’t occurring and are not likely to occur at all.¬†These worries don’t tend to come when I’m in a place I’m well aware of the health care standards (USA, UK, etc) or I speak the language (Spain, El Salvador), but if you read my previous post regarding a very short trip to China that was cut short by my anxiety (note that during that trip I was not on anxiety meds), you can see why my list of worries grew. I know everyone experiences culture shock, and I know countries around the world have great health care even if they’re not in North America or Europe. For me, it’s more about the unknown, and how culture shock maximizes with already-present anxiety that I can’t control completely.


Paris’ catacombs — not for the claustrophobic

In addition, you might think that hopping a plane to Japan or Dubai–two modern, developed countries–would be less of a concern for health-worried me. Unfortunately, travel to certain countries is and will continue to be restricted for me because of one very important thing: drug import laws. Every country has them, and some are a lot stricter than Canada or the USA. Sure, most countries would frown upon you bringing in cocaine or meth, but what about prescription medications, especially those considered narcotics? Even with a prescription, doctor’s explanation, and original packaging, many countries don’t allow certain types of drugs in. My long term anxiety medication is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which I’ve seen on the restricted¬†drug list for Japan and Dubai, unless you contact their embassies weeks before you travel and even then, you could be in trouble (even jailed! for bringing in certain amounts of these medications. Forget about the meds I take for planes; they’re in a whole other category of even stronger drugs sure to be off the “possible” list for a lot of places. Even if I did get them in, what would happen if I was teaching English in Japan for a year? A year’s worth of medication is rarely prescribed, and since it’s on the hard-to-get list, I highly doubt I’d be able to grab it at the local pharmacy for a refill. There goes one of my potential TEFL dream spots…

This is just a personal post detailing my own experiences, of course. Some friends I have are completely fearless. Some of them have other conditions that require medications that have nothing to do with anxiety or being afraid. Others have fears of things I don’t consider “rational,” like snakes or spiders, but they shrug at the idea of taking a plane, while I shake. Sometimes we just need to get used to things to be more comfortable. I know other people deal with their anxieties in different ways. I’m not a doctor, and who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be able to forgo my anxiety medications and have an easier time traveling. That would certainly be the dream. That being said, has anyone ever gone to a place where it was difficult to get the medication you needed? What did you do?

xoxo Cady