August in Review: From Finland, to Cuba, to University!

I walked out of my apartment this morning and I could already smell that crisp autumn air. It’s hard to believe how quickly summer came and went, but I’m excited for what this next season will hold. The blog was a little quiet over the last two weeks while I went off to Cuba and then moved into my new home for the year, but I’m back with this little end of summer wrap-up.

The Cuban Honeymoon - Audrey & Sam 2014 August in Review: From Finland, to Cuba, to University!

Back from the Honeymoon

Cuba was amazing! After getting hitched earlier this summer, Sam and I just took our much awaited honeymoon to Cayo Santa Maria. Even though we’ve been ‘travelling’ for the past year and a half, this was our first vacation from blogging and video-making. It was a week of no Wi-fi, no work commitments, and we did nothing but spend our days alternating between the beach and the pool…mostly the beach! Those photos of turquoise waters are what’s going to get me through winter.

Visiting the Finnish Archipelago

Revisiting Finland

I had no plans to go back to Europe this summer, but when I got invited to come and take part in some summer fun around Southwestern Finland, it was something I couldn’t pass up. The focus of this trip was on experiencing the outdoors and that meant I got to take part in activities like biking, hiking, and midnight kayaking – the best! I’ve already written a summer guide to Helsinki and a post on my visit to Nuuksio National Park, but you can expect more Finland posts in the coming weeks!

Going back to school!

This week I strapped on my backpack, but not to go travelling – I actually just started university again! During my year working overseas in South Korea I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching and that it’s something I’d like to do at some point in the future. Over the next 8 months I’ll be earning my BEd at Queen’s University in Canada so that I’m qualified to teach internationally. It’s going to be a drastic change from country-hopping every few weeks, but I know I’m investing in my future and I’m excited for the possibilities this degree will open up for me overseas! Plus Queen’s has a beautiful campus with old stone buildings covered in ivy, so it’s hard not to feel inspired here.

A taste of designer travel wear

I’ve never been a big fan of travel wear because it seems every time you add the word ‘travel’ to a clothing line, what you get are cargo pants with a gazillion pockets and vests that put Crocodile Dundee to shame. I don’t want to look like I’m going on an expedition to the Sahara unless I’m going on an expedition to the Sahara.

Modelling travel wear by Anatomie Style

I was happy to try out a few pieces by Anatomie Style during my trip to Cuba because their idea of travel wear is that it should be fashionable and versatile. Their pieces are stylish, comfortable, breezy, and everything else you could want from travel wear. But what I really liked is that their clothing line is something that you can wear on a trip overseas or even back at home; it doesn’t matter if you’re in Monte Carlo or Los Angeles, Ubud or Miami. They’ve taken travel wear and turned it into something that works even when you’re not travelling. (Bonus – they’re having a sale at the moment!)

What I’ve been reading

To Hellholes and Back    Kite Runner

To Hellholes and Back – This is a book that I read over a year ago, but since I ran out of reading material while on vacation, I snatched it from Sam as soon as he was done with it and I read it again. Chuck Thompson is hilarious and this book is a stream of uncensored thoughts on places and people. As a seasoned travel writer, Chuck has ventured off to all 4 corners of the world, but there are 4 places he has purposely been avoiding; this book is about visiting his personal ‘hellholes’, including: Africa, India, Mexico City, and Walt Disney World. It’s a great read and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around.

The Kite Runner – I finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s second book A Thousand Splendid Suns earlier this summer, and after devouring that one in a matter of days I started reading his first book The Kite Runner. I really don’t know why it took me so long to pick up this book – it has been around for a decade! – but if you’ve been putting it off, you really need to read Hosseini’s work. He paints such a vivid portrait of Afghanistan and his people’s struggles, and his stories are filled with themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness that we can all relate to wherever we come from. His depiction of war-torn Afghanistan will break your heart, yet his writing has so much hope for the future.

Last week to enter the giveaway

And lastly, there are still a few more days left to enter the Versalette giveaway HERE. Just fill out the Rafflecopter box and leave me a message at the bottom of the post telling me where in the world you’d take your Versalette, and you’ll be in the running for this prize. (U.S. and Canadian residents only!) The giveaway is open until September 6, so you just have a few more days!

I hope you all enjoyed your last few days of summer. 🙂

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Bethany Dickey

    Queen’s is absolutely beautiful, I attended a conference there in high school! It must be a crazy transition, going back to school after this past while! Hope everything goes well!

    1. says: Audrey

      It is quite the transition, but after being on the move for so long, it’s kind of nice having a place to temporarily call home. I think the 8 months will fly by! 🙂

  2. says: Veronica

    Awesome summer! Congrats on your nuptials! I am currently teaching in South Korea and am intrigued by your university program. PLEASE share more as you continue your studies. I am curious about this program and the opportunity to keep on teaching internationally^^ Thanks much

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Veronica! I’ll try to write a bit more about the BEd program over the coming months. I’m basically taking it because it’ll allow me to teach various subjects in schools around the world, as opposed to just teaching ESL which is what I had previously done in South Korea.

    1. says: Audrey

      I really like Cuba – this was my fourth time visiting! As a Canadian, the most affordable way to visit is as part of an all-inclusive package, but once you get there, you can take a lot of side trips around the island so it’s not like you’re restricted to the resort. The transportation infrastructure in Cuba isn’t great which makes it a bit hard to try and do it on your own, but there are lots of tour companies that can help you get around the country.

  3. says: Melanie

    (Regular) teaching was the job I wanted while I was growing up, and I still think of it as an option. Teaching English overseas is something I’ve thought about a lot too. It’s cool to read about someone going further with teaching after teaching ESL overseas!

    Beautiful pictures of Cuba, too! I’ve always wanted to go there.

    1. says: Audrey

      If you’re interested in teaching, you definitely have lots of options both at home and internationally. I like that it’s a career that you can pursue anywhere in the world – I’d say go for it!

  4. Good luck with uni 🙂 i hope it goes well for you.. every time i read your updates theres always something new and exciting that you have done or are about to do 🙂 congrats to you and sam, i saw some wedding photos on Instagram, very lovely 🙂

  5. says: Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    back to school, how exciting! I was a little OCD student and loved taking notes in class, I love handwriting so much more than typing and I actually miss being in school. Good Luck! Also, those clothes from Anatomie are SO cute! I am going to check out their site now.

  6. Ah wow! What a 180 degree turn. Traveling to schooling. It will be great though. You should also look into teaching online! It’s obviously a job very conducive to being a traveler, and it’s a great way to chat with people from around the world too. I love speaking to my Brazilian and C/S American students in the morning and my European students in the afternoon. Super interesting and can be decently lucrative especially with your extra degree and experience. Have fun! 🙂

  7. I can HIGHLY recommend the wonderful world of International teaching! So far, I have taught in Vietnam, Sweden, and now India. It’s perfect. I get to travel often (especially here in India when literally every other weekend is a long weekend), but I get a great salary too 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s great to hear! I’m not sure I’ll jump straight into a contract after I graduate (I still want to do some solid travel!), but I am excited about the possibilities this degree will open up once I’m ready to teach. I hope the new job in Mumbai is going well! 🙂

  8. Congrats on going back to school! I’m an international school teacher and I also originally started out teaching in South Korea (I first taught there in 2006! Wow- so long ago now!). Like you, I ended up going home and back to university and I got my PGCE (it’s a post grad degree we can do in the UK if you already have a BA). Now I’m a primary school teacher at a large international school in Beijing. It’s a great way to see the world. Give me a shout if you even need/want any info about teaching at international schools. I’m always happy to help another teacher out.

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Joella! It’s great to hear so many positive things from teachers working internationally. I have a few friends doing the same, and their enthusiasm is what convinced me to go and get the degree.

  9. says: Naomi

    I love, love, love the Anatomie Style stuff you’re wearing. I agree about the whole travel fashion, whilst it’s very functional, fashionable it usually is not. But I could totally wear that! Cuba looks amazing too, hope you had a lovely time off the radar!

  10. says: Sarah

    Congrats on going back to school, I can only imagine how different your life will be! But a change of lifestyle every now and then can only do good, if not only to appreciate certain things more. Good luck! Love your outfits from Anatomie! Checking out their site right now.

  11. says: Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Audrey,

    This sounds like a wonderful chain of events for you. From getting married, to trips to Cuba and Finland, to going back to school. How fun!

    Congrats on it all. Cuba looks amazing. Gorgeous shots all around, and hey, even by my travel-a-lot standards you’re absolutely killing it on the globe-trotting front.

    I read a post about Finland and how it’s where the largest chain of islands is located on the globe. Amazing stuff. I never would have known this, thinking Indonesia was the country with the largest archipeligo.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I’ll tweet this in a bit.

    Signing off from Savusavu, Fiji.


  12. says: Betty J. Ogburn

    …SO MANY exciting occurrences!!…Congratulations on both your newlywed status AND continuing your education–I wish you success in both, :-)…

  13. Great choice of University! Queens is a great school and the campus is indeed a beauty! Good luck!

    I assume that you already have your TEFL certification after teaching in South Korea, curious to know why you felt that wasn’t enough to continue teaching around the world? Did you find that it was limiting to be able to only teach English as opposed to a wider range of subjects?

    1. says: Audrey

      Hi Oksana,

      I did earn my TEFL certification before moving to Korea, but I decided to upgrade to the BEd because it’ll allow me to work in both public, private, and international schools. With my TESL I was teaching English as a Second Language, but with the BEd I can teach actual subjects. My goal with this degree is to eventually work in international schools around the world. Plus, the pay is more lucrative than teaching ESL. 😉

  14. says: Justine

    That’s exciting that you’re going back to school and investing in your future. I’m sure you’ll be so glad you made this decision. I’m super jealous of your trip to Cuba. Cuba is my all-time favorite country. I’ve spent over two months traveling there and I NEVER made it to Cayo Santa Maria! Was it amazing? I’m curious about what you thought of Cuba overall!!

    1. says: Audrey

      Wow, you must’ve covered a lot of the country in 2 months! I did enjoy Cayo Santa Maria, but it’s more of a relaxing vacation spot. The hotel I stayed at is located on one of the smaller islands, so there aren’t any locals living there. The lack of nearby towns and cities means you lose a bit of the culture, but if you’re just looking enjoy the beach and disconnect for a week, then it’s a great spot.

  15. says: Maria Falvey

    Quite a year for you Audrey – congrats on all of these milestones and I know you’ll do well at university because its a passion for you.

  16. I’m really interested to hear more about that BEd program! And welcome back to Canada…just in time for winter! Yikes 🙂 I had a blast in Cuba when I visited in 2006, I would love to go again. And those Anatomie clothes are adorable – they look great in Cuba but I could see rocking them in the summertime in Canada as well!

  17. says: Oneika the Traveller

    Congrats on the B.Ed! I did mine 9 years ago and now am in my 8th year of international teaching… How time flies! What division are you in (Primary/Intermediate/Senior)? Queen’s has a great program with lots of exchange opportunities and of course they have the TORF (did I ever tell you I went twice and got my teaching jobs in Mexico and Hong Kong through that recruiting fair?). Anyway, as you know I’m a huge proponent of teaching in international schools vs. teaching ESL — superior pay, benefits, and professional development being a huge factor. Let me know if you have any questions about jobs/schools as I’m happy to help. Also, the “International School Teachers” Facebook group as well as internationalschoolsreview dot com are great resources for getting info on international school teaching! All the best Audrey!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Oneika! You pretty much talked me into it when we met in Hong Kong. 😉 I was still on the fence at the time – Masters or B.Ed – and hearing about your experiences really helped me decide between the two! I’m doing Primary/Junior but hoping to upgrade in the future. I can tell this year is going to be a lot of hard work, but so far it’s the kind of work I enjoy doing. And I JUST attended an info session about TORF – I’ll be checking that out this coming winter. I hope all is well in HK! 🙂

  18. says: Sara

    Congrats Audrey! My friend did something similar to you – taught English in Korea and then upgraded to a BEd when she came home (Canada). Now she has a great paying job in Dubai 🙂

    What resort did you stay at in Cayo Santa Maria? Such a beautiful spot!

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s great to hear about your friend. The Middle East seems to be full of possibilities. I’m kind of intrigued by the region, so who knows, maybe I’ll end up there in the future. 🙂 Oh, and the resort I stayed at in Cayo Santa Maria was called Melia Las Dunas.

  19. It’s a bit refreshing to know that you and Sam were offline for more than a week for the honeymoon. The problem with digital nomads sometimes is that we tend to go online all the time and just work instead of having a real ‘vacation’. Good digital detox for you :p

    Wish you all the best with the new journey in university! Aim high! 😀

    You look good on all the fashion pictures. Hope the next raffle will be open to Philippine residents too 😛

  20. Hey Audrey- what an exciting time for you! Glad you enjoyed Cuba, and congrats on your next career move. Teaching in international schools sounds like an excellent choice- you’ll never be limited to just one country! 🙂 (PS. Love those travel clothes- it’s hard to find that perfect balance between practicality, versatility and style!

  21. says: Franca

    Wow Audrey, what a month you had and so many exciting news coming too! It must be weird going back to uni after being travelling intensively like you and Sam did, but it’s what you want and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and hit the road again as soon as you can 🙂
    I read both Khaled Hosseini’s books too, which one did you prefer “A Thousand Splendid Suns” or “The Kate Runner”?

    1. says: Audrey

      I loved both of his books, but I think my favourite was “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. I really got attached to the two main characters.

  22. says: Heather

    That week of being totally disconnected in Cuba must have been wonderful! It’s so important to take some time for yourself every once in a while. Even better if it’s your honeymoon 😉

    Congrats on going back to school! It definitely is an investment in your future should open up lots of exciting opportunities for you!

  23. Hi Audrey!

    Every time I visit your blog I love it even more! The design is flawless and the content is so fun and interesting. 🙂 Congratulations on your marriage/wedding! You looked beautiful! A honeymoon in Cuba sounds like just the ticket for two busy travelers. Going back to school seems like a great adventure as well. What a beautiful school! The anatomie pieces that you picked are gorgeous! So perfect for a beachy honeymoon. XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  24. says: Karyn @ Not Done Travelling

    I’m way late, but congratulated on an exciting summer and good luck for the next 8 months! It’ll be a real change for you but it really will spin by so fast and before you know it you’ll be back overseas again. Do you have any idea where you might teach once you’ve got this next qualification?

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *