6 Things I Gained by Moving To Canada

Cormac is just home from 2 years living in Canada and has shared with us the 6 most valuable things he gained from his experience.

1.  An Appreciation for Outdoor Activities

During my time on Vancouver Island, I went on a hike almost every weekend. I gained a deeper appreciation for the beautiful landscapes that surrounded the city of Victoria. Getting up in the morning and out in the fresh air for a 1-2 hour hike was always a great way to start a Saturday.

I also went on a camping trip every couple of weeks, especially during the summer months. I loved the simplicity of having a group of friends, sitting around a campfire, cooking hotdogs and having a few drinks while watching the sunset over the ocean. My favourite spot was a place called Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island, where anyone can just rock up with a tent and set up on the beach.

Kayaking in Canada

Kayaking out to Shediac island

2. Opportunity to Travel Across the Whole Country

I’ve always had a dream of buying a van and doing a big road trip with some of my best mates. Canada gave me the opportunity to live that dream and a friend and I spent two weeks driving from Victoria BC to Montréal, Quebec.

We crossed more than 5,000 km of Canada’s diverse landscape where we got to witness the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains and the magic of the vast Saskatchewan skies.

I also got to see the rest of the country by bicycle as I cycled 1,800 km from Montréal to Newfoundland in August, where I stayed in a cabin atop of Newfoundland’s amazing cliffs overlooking the Atlantic upon arrival.

Men with camper van in Canada

My friend Teean and I with “The Beasht”

3. A Chance to Try a New Way of Living

Canada gave me the opportunity to live a completely different lifestyle to what I was used to back in Ireland. I went from a 9 to 5 office job to bartending three or four nights a week and spending my evenings going to football training or the gym to spending my days chilling in cafés or jogging on the beach.

Bartending was a far cry from IT Consulting, and it posed a great challenge for me. Chatting with customers forced me to break out of my shell more and express my personality. I never had a problem chatting one-on-one with people but keeping a full bar happy required you to become somewhat of an entertainer rather than simply a good conversationalist.

Irish man in Canada

Bartending outfit for the Irish Times Pub, Victoria

4. Amazing Quality of Life

I recently saw a study indicating that Canada was the country with the best quality of life. While I haven’t lived in any of the Scandinavian countries that also boast an excellent quality of life, I can definitely say that I lived very comfortably in Canada.

The pay I got from bartending in Victoria meant I didn’t have to worry about money. I rarely ever cooked, instead choosing to eat out in restaurants almost every day. And even though the cost of alcohol was relatively high in bars, I didn’t need to worry too much about racking up a tab.

While living in Montréal I worked as a painter and this job also gave me more than enough money to spend on enjoying myself at the weekends with plenty left over to save for my current trip to South America.

Picnic Elektronik, Montréal

Picnic Elektronik, Montréal

5. Insight into Other People’s Perspectives

Moving to Canada gave me the chance to break free from all the noise and opinions that I had been surrounded by for years in Ireland. It gave me an opportunity to see things with fresh eyes and an open mind. When exposed to new situations or new people I would always try to ask myself “What can I learn here?” or “What has this person got to teach me?

Travelling with a curious mindset allowed me to learn a lot about the ways in which other people found happiness and meaning in their lives. It helped me to gain a better understanding of others and made me less judgmental of those who didn’t see things the way I did.

Relaxing on Sombrio beach

Relaxing on Sombrio beach

6. A Renewed Love for Irish Culture

Ironically, moving to Canada almost made me more Irish. Canadians love to hear the Irish accent and if you decide to open your mouth you better be prepared to keep talking. You will likely be bombarded with questions about Ireland or stories of how their great great great grandfather moved over from Cork during the famine. People in Canada are often proud of their Irish heritage and it’s nice to hear how well-liked we are across the water.

I must have described the uniqueness of Irish pubs, argued how Gaelic football was not the same as rugby and insisted that we do have our own Irish language, hundreds of times over the past two years. But somehow, I never got bored of these conversations, it only made me curious to learn more about our great culture and share it with others.

Read more about Carmac’s travels, check out his blog here.

Thinking about having your own Canada adventure? The 2020 Programme is NOW OPEN. Click here to start your journey. 


Rainbow across the falls in Canada

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