05/07/18 - Canada 
After months of hard grafting, working until 5 in the morning and emptying my student loan into the printer, I have finally finished my design degree. So what better way to celebrate than travel 8 hours and 5000 miles to Canada and start a 3 week trip from East to West with my girlfriend.
Straight out of the airport my eyes were bombarded with a multitude of huge adverts and flashing neons. Everything felt familiar but at the same time different - from crossroads to trains; everything is bigger, louder and brighter. Canada feels new, fresh and exciting like a newborn nation. Scaffolding and building work is everywhere as glass structures climb the skyline like trees in a forest. Canada has two seasons (said a friend from Toronto) Winter and Construction. This is where I was introduced to Mr Tim Hortons - one of the best places to buy amazing doughnuts and cheap coffee. Toronto was a rich and diverse city, full of culture and embrace. Every street was meet by Pride flags standing tall and proud. Toronto is a busy city, with 3 main subways and a thriving downtown district with banks and corporations. And yet, Toronto felt small with multiple communities scattered all over the city.
Our next stop was Banff. Located deep in the Rockies and surrounded by beautiful mountains, this for me was the highlight of our trip. Nothing but unforgettable views and a real sense of true nature. Seeing bears, elk and other animals free and unconstrained by fences was a breathtaking experience. The air alone was just on another level. It was pure, crisp and clean. Being surrounded by nature and the mountains felt healthy, both physically and mentally. Photos can’t capture the enormity and immense sense of accomplishment when hiking to the top of a snowy mountain. Up until that point, I had never climbed a mountain, and there I was climbing 2400 metres up wearing just everyday sketchers, with a camera and backpack (not a good idea btw).
We finished our trip in Vancouver, a city who prides itself on being home to the winter Olympic Games in 2010 and a place where nature is embedded through mountains, sea and rivers into the lives of its citizens. I was very fortunate to meet with Hulse+Durrell partner Ben for a coffee and chat on Canadian design. We discussed topics like Brexit, Trump and Greg Durrell’s (Ben’s partner) Design Canada Film. The film goes back through time to uncover the history behind many modern Canadian marks and logos. We then talked about how through its origins in sports appeal and then integration on to the Canadian flag, the maple leaf has become a defining symbol and container to hold the diversity and multiculturalism of Canada. The maple leaf is embraced throughout society as a symbol of unification, pride, ownership and prosperity. To top of the trip, we travelled on a boat into the Vancouver harbour to see a surprising 12 killer whales swimming in the sea. To view these animals in their natural habitat was truly something special. 
This trip left me feeling inspired and gave me a little more direction in life. It proved my love for travel, meeting new people and experiencing new environments. It has fuelled my passion for photography, making want to try new technics and push myself to take my hobby further. And with that to continue to launch myself into unfamiliar territory and redefine my limits. Canada is a beautiful amazing country and a place I hope to one day explore more.