My name is Lynne Marion. I am from a country characterized by four (4) seasons (i.e. Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall), that has breathtaking natural landscapes across its 8,893 km (5,526 miles) width from coast to coast, and contains the most fresh water sources in the world- Canada.
My website is www.lynnemarion.com
2. Where do you currently live and what is your occupation?
I am currently living in the province of Quebec (eastern Canada), in the suburbs of Montreal.
I am an Intuitive Life Coach. My mission is to illuminate people & inspire them to tune into their inner wisdom and, simultaneously, align themselves to their true desired lifestyle.
As an Intuitive Life Coach, I help people journey within… I guide my clients into seeking for answers & inspirations, by connecting themselves to their inner wisdom. In essence, I accompany them to travel within and to tap into their infinite array of possibilities.
3. What is the first country you traveled to internationally? What were your impressions?
My first international backpacking experience was in beautiful tropical Costa Rica! I was 18 years-old. I left with a group of five friends (including my boyfriend at the time), to backpack around this ‘rich coast’ country for one month. The only fixed plan we had was a departure date along with a return date. Everything in between was to be created by us. It was a blissful experience!
I discovered the different micro-climates the country has to offer. I visited volcanoes, snorkeled off the shore, walked along beautiful natural sandy beaches, danced under the stars, listened to Bob Marley music play everywhere, drank 2$ bottles of rum, camped on the beaches, sat amongst the rich biodiversity in the National Parks, swam in waterfalls, got awakened in my tent by a loud population of monkeys hanging outside in very tall trees, learned to speak Spanish with the local populations (with the help of my portable mini dictionary), enjoyed fresh fruit every morning, …
In sum, this first backpacking adventure trip was a.m.a.z.i.n.g!
4. When did you first realize you were bitten by the travel bug?
In 1999, I was studying at the University of Montreal towards a Bachelor’s Degree of Psychology. As an elective course, we had the possibility of participating in an international volunteer project. It was an elective course that ran throughout the school year that involved several components.
This volunteer project involved fundraising, learning a new language, pre-departure trainings, receiving proper vaccinations, budgeting, and attending meetings with the coordinating professor as well as the international development organization, to name a few.
After 8 months of preparation, along with 7 of my fellow female bachelor colleagues, I flew off to Bolivia to work for an institution that offered different services to handicapped children (mentally and/or physically). The final stage of the project, i.e. the actual internship, was held during the northern hemisphere’s summer months (May to July). Each volunteer was assigned in a different department between physiotherapy, educational psychology, outdoor activities for autistic children, and speech therapy. Personally, I worked in the educational psychology department to help elementary level children with learning disabilities.
I distinctly remember that, as our plane was landing in La Paz (the capital city), I was absolutely speechless upon seeing the massive impressive mountains surrounding us… Welcome to the world of La Cordillera de Los Andes Lynne! I had never experienced such proximity with elevated mountainous altitudes before. I was beyond mesmerized by the energy emanating from this chain of mountains…
The capital city of La Paz has varying elevations, ranging from 3,200 to 4,100m (10,500 to 13,500ft). Hence, adaptability was the first lesson learnt on the field. At this altitude, my body was intensely reacting to the 50% oxygen level (?!). It was such a strange, unique feeling. It is hard to describe with words the effects of less oxygen on my body.
Throughout that summer, I learned to speak Spanish, I enjoyed working with the children, I made new Bolivian friends, I discovered the bustling city of La Paz, I witnessed a heap of manifestations in the streets, I sipped the famous tea el mate de coca (made from coca leaves), I hiked several mountains, I visited the beautiful Inca influenced island: Isla del Sol (where there are no motor vehicles or paved roads), I smiled at friendly alpacas, I offered dynamite + cigarettes to the young employees of the Potosi Mines, I discovered the incredible salt flat: Salar de Uyuni.
What an unbelievable summer! It exceeded all of my expectations! It represented much more than an elective university course.
At that moment in time, standing in the middle of the streets of La Paz, with the breathtaking blue sky, I KNEW with all of my heart that I wished to travel for a living! I loved, loved, LOVED living & working abroad!!! I had found a new passion: international development work. I could picture myself traveling to diverse countries, learning new languages & making new friends while simultaneously contributing to community projects. It was the perfect fit! I thought to myself ‘this is the beginning of an incredible life chapter for me ’.
And so it was…
5. Do you have a travel mantra?
My travel mantra… I assume it would be to connect & respect the local populations in the country that I am visiting or living in.
As an international soul (as I like to declare myself), it is very important for me to sense & feel the lifestyles of the populations. When I live abroad or travel somewhere, it is essential for me to share & connect with places and people.
In my eyes, the richness of international traveling is held within the exchanges between me and the people or the environment. This explains why I love to live & work abroad as opposed to punctually experience sightseeing or tourism.
6. If you could spontaneously pack up tomorrow and head anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
My next destination would be Asia. I would go to 2 countries I have never been before.
I would firstly fly to the island of Bali, in Indonesia. This island seems very spiritual & zen. The beaches, the culture, the traditions, the language, its people, everything inspires me about Bali! I would spend time discovering the island’s treasures and enjoy the beautiful beaches. I would probably opt for a yoga retreat, eat healthy delicious foods and experience the Balinese vibe. (I have been wishing to go to Bali for over 20 years now…)
Secondly, I would fly to Chennai, in India. Why Chennai specifically? To spend time at the ashram and meet my wonderful spiritual guide/guru/Master! I would spend as much time as possible to take time out, benefit from this exceptional spiritual environment, and focus on my meditation practice.
The ashram holds space for 10, 000 people to meditate at once. How amazing must that be, to meditate surrounded by 10, 000 other souls… It will be a rejuvenating, inspiring experience!
I would like to share advice for the travelers of this world …
From my different travel experiences, there is one important element that I find has always benefited me and is to be considered before embarking on an international journey to ensure fulfillment & satisfaction… that is to identify the purpose of your travels.
This may seem trivial, but I assure you it is not. Throughout my travels, I have met fellow travelers that have not had such successful travels because of not considering their initial purpose for traveling (especially those traveling in pairs or with their partner or in groups). I have even witnessed couples/groups separate and stop being friends because they had not initially considered each person’s purpose to travel.
The idea is not to have the exact same tastes or interests for everything, but it is to see if your interests converge overall or not. For instance, if your best friend wishes to accompany you on a European Tour and your purpose is to see as many museums as possible and to visit historic sites whereas his/her purpose is to party as much as possible, enjoy the nightlife and meet new friends without caring too much about history, then the probability of your trip being a success might be jeopardized.
Thus, the next time you are planning a trip, I suggest you ask yourself: what do I wish to gain from this experience? What am I seeking for? Why do I wish to travel to X place/country? Is the purpose of your travel to be distracted? To learn a new language? To taste different foods? To make new friends? To see as many sites as possible? Etc. The clearer you are on your traveling purpose(s), the easier it will be to experience a trip that best corresponds to YOU. (Rest assured, no matter how much planning you do in advance, there will always be room for unpredictable adventures & anecdotes)
May your travels be enriching & blissful!