Julie Prankard: Island Connoisseur
The perfect summer job awaits me!
My 2014 has gotten off to an exceptional start with a trip to Carnival 2014 in Trinidad. As a "Carnival virgin" the experience was like no other and changed my life. Being immersed in a country's celebration and in the carnival spirit was exhilarating!!! Dancing across the stage with my new best friends and jumping up to the beat for two days straight has kept me on a high since my return. Travelling to Tobago for 5 days was just not long enough to spend in the best place on earth! Sunbathing in Pirates Bay, Blue Waters and snorkelling on the reef near Speyside exposed me to some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever experienced in my life. The reflection of crystal clear blue waters brought tears to my matching blue eyes. Bunji Garland and Machel Montano was a true bacchanal while dancing in the sand at Pigeon point was one of the highlights of my life. Nothing beats the Tobago night sky and soul-warming heat while taking a wine in the sand. I was flattered to be asked "what village are you from?" because of my first-class dance moves.
Living local and spending evenings on the Jedi while drinking "juice" with the locals of Charlotteville was unforgettable. Sharing stories and engaging in the culture opened my eyes and allowed me to realize that being Tobagonian is to be care free, kind hearted and always ready for a good time. You know what they say: "Come to the party Island!".
Taking a lime by local homes and dining on the local cuisine of cow foot soup was heavenly. It was astounding how a late Monday afternoon lunch transforms to an entire neighbourhood gathering into the late hours of the evening. The experience of living on the island of Tobago for just a few short days was life changing and has my desire to live in this paradise.
A priority in my life is travel and I yearn to immerse myself in different cultures. To name a few stops I have visited: Hawaii, Mexico, Italy, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nassau, Jamaica, Florida, and all across my homeland Canada. I had the opportunity to live in Paraguay, South America as an exchange student representing Canada. I know what takes to be immersed in a culture and lived as a local does. I also know what it is like to turn your life upside down, live in a completely different place and be on the move 24/7.
When I'm not off exploring the world, I make a living as a crazy high school teacher who manages to teach my students the importance of being adventurous. My favourite moments are when I encourage my students to step outside of their comfort zone and be spontaneous in the classroom. I love to pay it forward to my less fortunate students and for the past two years I have had the opportunity to send 3 students to Disney World on a special program for a day. It is moments like this that make my job worth while as I can give the gift of travel and adventure to others. If I had my choice I would take my entire class on a trip to Tobago to show them what heaven on earth really looks like.
In my personal life I am always up for a good time and the life of the party. In bad situations I can turn boring into the time of someone's life.
In the summer in Toronto I am an active member of the West Indian Community. I spend most weekends on boat cruises or backyards BBQ's and always look forward to "Christmas in July"...Caribana. Being a part of the parade here for 10 years has connected me to the amazing, positive and close connected culture of the Toronto West Indian population and has allowed me to become acquainted with many local people, some of which have become my very close friends now visiting from Trinidad and Tobago.
I am a responsible mature adult who knows how to have fun and experience the world while still taking on the responsibility of a full time job, putting experiences on social media and capturing every part of the adventure. I understand what it is like to be accountable as a representative and make responsible decisions in public venues.
I think I am the best candidate to be the next Island Connoisseur and tell Canada as well as the world about the best place on earth: TOBAGO! Help make me the "Happiest Women Alive" this summer.