After seven months in the surf and sun, Nina Reed, 18, was ready to come back to the sludge and muck of the Yukon’s April.
Spontaneous Reed had set out on her own after high school to explore the section of the world she had once known as home. Originally from New Zealand, Reed and her family moved to the Yukon in 1998 because of a job opening for her father, a pilot position in Watson Lake.
Most of Reed’s later childhood and teenage years were spent in Watson Lake and Whitehorse. She and her family didn’t actually receive their Canadian citizenships until 2006.
“The hardest thing when I got to Australia was I knew absolutely no one,” Reed recalls about the beginning of her trip.
However, Reed feels that she gained a great amount of confidence and life experience from her pursuits. In fact, Reed thinks anyone who wants to travel should only research the destination, not actually plan the trip completely because, with this adventurous philosophy, everyday is a discovery.
Reed describes some of her favourite memories in a dreamy, longing tone. She found surfing a challenge but she never gave up. And every single day at some point she was in the water.
“I just love the ocean … when you jump into the ocean it totally invigorates you. It’s truly amazing!” Reed says.
Reed worked at a few different jobs while she was in Australia because, being a New Zealand citizen, she was able to work without the hassle of obtaining a work visa.
She worked as a nanny for an Australian family and worked as a server in a few cafés. She also acted as an extra on the Australian television dramas, Home and Away and All Saints, which Reed describes as one of the greatest learning experiences of her trip. She was astonished that a whole day of filming only captured about four minutes of actual footage.
On that note, capturing footage was something Reed was faithfully committed to throughout her travels. As well as filling three full diaries with detailed accounts of her days, she took about 3,000 photographs.
Photography is something Reed has always enjoyed and she considers herself an amateur photographer. She laughs when I ask her if she took lots of pictures of scenery. She shakes her head vigorously and explains some of her favourite photographs and why they are so meaningful to her.
“I’ve got this one of peanut butter and everyone else is like, ‘Why do you have a picture of peanut butter?’ But I ate a lot of peanut butter while I was there, so it is really quite symbolic!”
Reed made many friends that she is confident she will keep in touch with. Surprisingly, most of the people she met were not Australians but mostly English, lots of Swedish and many Canadians.
Reed says it was easy to connect with people, especially living in hostels, because everyone became like family.
She thanks both of her citizenships for the friendly treatment she was given. Australians and New Zealanders could relate to her because she was from New Zealand herself and, well, “Everybody loves Canadians,” Reed says with a grin.