life coach & mentor

TRISTA GUERTIN

Here we go! Part I

May 16, 2021

Welcome to Trista, All Over the Place! My name is Trista and this is my blog!
This first post is to introduce myself and give you a bit of my background. I’ll give you the backstory as to how I can to be a life coach for expat women.

I plan on publishing a weekly post that will pertain to all things travel, work and coaching. I’ll probaby include books I’m reading, movies, etc., probably a bit of whatever crosses my path or that I’m doing that might be interesting to share.
Currently I am a humanitarian aid worker by day, working and living in Lebanon for the past 4 years. Recently I completed the Coach Certification Program at The Life Coach School and have become a certified life coach. I will be working as a coach part-time for the time being. I’ll explain more about this in the next few posts.

To start with and one of the most important things to know about me is that travel and living internationally has been a huge part of my life since childhood. I tend to think I have a terrible memory, particularly when it comes to my childhood but I can vividly remember the trips my parents made when I was a child. Sadly, they left me and my brother at home, but we had a globe, which always fascinated me (along with maps) and my mother deligently put pins into the cities and countries to mark where she and my dad travelled to during the March break trips my dad organised for his high school students. Off they went, leaving us with a babysitter for the week (although it didn’t turn out too badly for us because we would get to drink Tang and they always left money for us to order pizza and other junk food), returning with presents and photos that they ambitiously made into slides and sat us down, setting up the home projector and screen, so we could sit through about 300 slides of the highlights of their trips. They also brought us back many souvenirs and treats from those trips. I have an eclectic doll collection which remains in my mother’s basement to this day (I think beside the boxes of mom’s slides).

Their trips fascinated me. I spent hours studying that globe. My first international trips included a trip to Florida with my dad and a weekend trip to New York City with my mom when I was in my early teens. I loved travelling to the States to discover Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and a clothing store called Banana Republic!

Finally, in March of 1988, it was my turn to join my dad on a March Break trip to France. I was 16 years old. I was a terribly moody teenage girl, but I immediately fell in love with Paris. I thought it was the most wonderful place on Earth. I never wanted to go home again. The rest of the my teenage years were spent plotting to get out of my hometown of St. Catharines and live a more exciting life anywhere but there.

It was during my final year of high school, a friend and I started planning a backpacking trip around Europe for the year after graduation. I decided university could wait a year and I was anxious to return overseas. However, as planning progressed and the time to buy tickets and make reservations approached, my friend’s mother refused to let her go. I decided I had a choice – cancel my plans or go by myself, so I went ahead and landed up travelling to Europe for 3 months in 1991 by myself (this was a pivotal decision for me, but I’ll come back to that later). It was great. I travelled to about 14 countries including a Yugoslavia just about to implode and a newly disintegrated Soviet Union. The first McDonald’s had just opened in Moscow. (Yes, I did eat there). I sailed in Greece and visit Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. I ate bread everywhere and gelato twice a day in Italy. I probably put on about 20 pounds, and my mother STILL tells anyone who will listen that I “rolled off the plane” upon my return home.

Anyway, it was a great adventure and back at home I promptly starting looking at other options for places to travel, further postponing my entrance to university. I discovered that Australia offered one year work visas to Canadians under the age of 24. A close family friend was there at the time and it seemed like an opportunity to pass up! I worked at home for about 5 months taking tickets at Niagara Helicopters in Niagara Falls and then boarded a plane with my visa and about $1,000 in my pocket. I landed up in the small suburb of Sydney called Manly near Shelly Beach, sharing a house with an Aussie and two Kiwis. I will never forget the size of the spiders! I went through a lot of bug spray in those days (pro tip if you go: don’t walk under the trees at night). I somehow got a waitressing job at a seafood restaurant on the beach despite never having waitressed before. I don’t remember exactly how long I lasted in that job, but I don’t think it was long. I was a terrible waitress. After that I moved in with a family in Vaucluse as an Au Pair to two small children. It was OK, but the job also involved a bit of cleaning and the husband and wife weren’t in a good place in their relationship and I was bored (and eating a lot of ice cream and chocolate) so I left there too and went off and backpacked around the country for a month before returning home via Hong Kong.

I only spent about 3 days in Hong Kong but it completely blew me away. It was so radically different than anything I had experienced every before. I remember the temperature was about 100 degrees and the humidity was a 99%. I walked the streets going into one air conditioned building/shop after another. I remember every one of my senses being vividly assaulted by everything I was seeing, smelling and hearing. Everything was so different, so exotic. The McDonald’s offered french fries with seaweed seasoning! (I promise I no longer make it a habit to visit McDonald’s in each country I visit).

Returning home I eventually went to university and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies. The 4 years I spent at Bishop’s University in the Eastern Townships of Quebec were fun years during which I made some amazing friends but which involved almost no international travel except for one Spring Break trip to a 2 star hotel in Cuba (I’m actually not sure it actually had any stars at all, to be honest). However, we were able to make a day trip into Havana and I remember finding it so fascinating. Very little of the development you see today had started and it was a crumbling but regal city filled with vintage cars. I subsequently made it back to Cuba again a few years later with my mom and at that time we upgraded our hotel and made another day trip to Havana but I have been back there in over 20 years and I sometimes dream about going back and spending a few months in Havana to work on my Spanish and learn to salsa dance. This is still on my bucket list.

Post university I spent the following 3 years: teaching English in South Korea, interning and learning to speak Spanish with a Canadian non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Guatemala and Honduras and interning at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC) in Nova Scotia. After a year at the PPC, I moved to Halifax and enrolled in a Master’s degree program in International Development. I won an award which funded me to travel to Mozambique to conduct research on demobilized women soldiers. It was my first trip to Africa and landing in Maputo was somewhat scary for me. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was fine. The women I interviewed were amazing but sad and somewhat at a loss after returning home post-civil war. I was unprepared for their emotions and wounds that had yet to heal. Over and over again they told me how I was the first person who had asked about their experiences during the war. It was also my first time travelling to South Africa, a country which continues to fascinate me. I spent a few days camping in Kruger Parka and we were charged by a mother elephant who had been separated from her calf by the car ahead of us. She took it out on us and luckily my guide/driver was skilled at driving fast in reverse!

Alright, well this is much longer than I expected to write! I think I will leave it there for now and write a part II next week. The adventure continues…..

Leave a note

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you're interested in 1:1 coaching, click the link below to access my calendar.
Select a time for a free session and get coached!



Contact me

Email 

Name 

message

If you have any questions, please reach out.

book your
freE session

Submit

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM

Your message has been sent. We'll be in touch shortly.

Thank you.

@tristavguertin