Nov 18, 2019

We’re very excited to introduce our newest Stepabroad team member to you today!

Farren has traveled to dozens of countries around the world and has even done three working holidays. With all this travel experience under her belt, she is very excited to now be helping Stepabroad participants embark on their own worldly adventures.

We spoke to Farren about her working holiday experiences, watch the video below to hear about what she did!

Meet Farren. She’s traveled everywhere (and done a few working holidays too)!

Where are you from?

I am originally from the suburbs of Toronto and went to university in Guelph. After graduation, I moved back home and quickly decided I wanted to go traveling. On New Years Day in 2013, I set off on a trip that turned into a seven-year journey around the world!

When did you take your first trip abroad and where?

My very first trip outside of Canada was to Cuba during reading week in university. I had never even had a passport before I was 19! It was just a short trip to an all-inclusive resort, but I met so many people from around the world and quickly became interested in visiting the places I had learned about.

How many countries have you traveled to since then?

Since my first trip to Cuba, I have been to 41 countries, some more than once! My first big trip overseas was a 10-month backpacking trip which started in Guatemala. I went through most of Central and South America for a few months, then jumped across the ocean to Mongolia and China eventually making my way through Southeast Asia. After my backpacking trip, I did working holidays in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Living and working in each country gave me the chance to see most of those countries. I also sprinkled in a few shorter backpacking trips in between working holidays too, because why not?!

What has been one of the craziest things you’ve done while traveling?

I visited Fiji which is well known for idyllic islands and loads of underwater activities. I got the chance to dive with Bull Sharks while there which was amazing. There was a group of 12 of us and 6 staff that dove down to about 25m. We positioned ourselves behind a coral wall and watched as the sharks started coming. The staff were always on guard and would guide away any sharks that got too close so we were never in any danger.

At one point there were about 30 Bull Sharks swimming in front and over top of us.

At times they even got close enough for us to feel the current from their tail as they turned to sweep across us. It was the most incredible experience and not at all scary (once you got down there)!

Farren scuba diving with bull sharks in Fiji
Scuba diving with bull sharks in Fiji

What are your top three travel moments?

It’s hard to pick just three! As I mentioned in the video, I had the chance to swim with Humpback Whales while visiting Tonga in the South Pacific. They are so curious and are not afraid of you. There was a mother with her baby at one point and a group of 7 whales together. It looked like they were dancing in the water and I could even hear them calling to each other. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

I once spent a full 12 hours at Machu Picchu. You know those amazing places that get talked about so much that when you visit, even though it is incredible, it sometimes just doesn’t quite live up to the hype? Machu Picchu was not one of those places! I got there in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains, then wandered around and explored every nook and cranny. I hung around with the llamas that walk around the grounds and even took a nap (relaxing break) on one of the terraces. It was the best day!

It’s cheesy but I met my boyfriend 5 years ago while I was traveling in Australia. When I first arrived in Melbourne, I was working and living in a hostel and there was a large group of long-term stayers also living there. We all became incredibly close incredibly fast. 5 years later we’re all still friends! Now we are all in different corners of the world but still keep in touch regularly. Some of them also lived in New Zealand while I was there and others are here in Vancouver now as well.

Swimming with Humpback Whales in the South Pacific
Swimming with Humpback Whales in Tonga, South Pacific
A mom and baby Humpback Whale in the waters off the coast of Tonga
Mom and baby Humpback Whales

What’s the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever received?

Invest in a good backpack. Your backpack will be like your home when you are travelling around, so you want to make sure it works for you. When shopping around, make sure you try them on and ask the store to put weights in so you can get a realistic sense of how they will feel when packed. Also, try to get the smallest bag you think is feasible for you. You can get away with less stuff than you think but if you buy a huge bag you will always find a way to fill it!

What’s one thing you can’t travel without?

Honestly, a jar of peanut butter. Depending where you are peanut butter can be hard to find. But I always find it comes in handy for those long bus rides or to keep your energy up when you’re on the move. You’ll always be able to find bread, so add in some peanut butter and you’ve got yourself a pretty cheap meal!

What’s the best street food you’ve ever had?

It sounds cliché but it was for sure the Pad Thai in Bangkok. It was just so fresh and delicious and always hit the spot. I have been to Bangkok a few times and it never disappoints. Sometimes I would go several times in a trip because the food was just so good and so cheap!

What’s your favourite travel app?

WikiCamps. This app is great if you are planning a road trip in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and even Canada and the US. It has all the available campsites, rest areas, and even gas (petrol) station prices. You can view it all on an offline map if you don’t want to use your data and you can filter by loads of criteria. You can search sites that are for tents or campervans only, and which sites have showers and bathroom facilities. Best of all you can find out which ones are FREE (there are more than you think)!

What’s one cool fact about you?

In old English my name means wanderer or adventurous. My parents didn’t know that at the time they chose it, but it’s sure fitting!

Farren admires the view of stunning Lake Pukaki on New Zealand's South Island
Admiring glacier-fed Lake Pukaki on New Zealand’s South Island

What have you learned about yourself while traveling?

When I first made the decision to go travelling I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to figure things out or know what to do.

Through traveling I have learned that I’m more capable of doing things than I ever thought I was.

After taking the leap to go abroad, I found I could handle almost every situation I came up against, either on my own or with the support of people in the same situations.

What excites you most about joining Stepabroad?

Travelling and working abroad was the best decision I ever made in my life. I am so happy I will now get the chance to help make that decision so much easier for others. To be able to tell people about all the adventures I’ve had and inspire others to go out into the world and make their own experiences is really important to me. 

The newest Stepabroad team member, Farren, standing along a snow wall in Niseko, Japan
Standing in front of a snow wall in Japan’s famous powder skiing destination, Niseko

Thanks Farren! We’re looking forward to making our dynamic team even stronger and helping more Canadians go abroad on life-changing travel experiences such as yours.

Interested in chatting with Farren about her travel and working holiday experiences?

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