Hello everyone, I am Amélie Gagné. I’m not from an adventurous, well travelled, or wealthy background. I’m a country girl. I took the plane for the first time at 21, when my mom, sister and I escaped to Cuba with my dad’s life insurance to commemorate one year of his passing away. It is still to date my best travel memory. A whole new world – literally – of possibilities and hidden paradises suddenly opened up to me. I dined on spicy black beans, sweet guavas and strong espresso where Hemingway once sat in a cloud of cigar smoke, and realizing that travel and food were two peas in a pod, I was forever hooked and that’s when I, Amélie Gagné, decided to do something more about it.
A few months later, I decided to get rid of all my belongings and go spend a few months in Vancouver on my own, with the goal of becoming fluent in English. And so, aged 21, “shit scared of the great unknown”, I set off westward with a backpack and an amazing feeling in my tummy. What I found in Vancouver is so much more than the ability to articulate my thoughts in another language: I befriended other backpackers and became a roommate in a crazy house with 9 other people from all over the world where I lived for 2 years. We were one great Canado-French-Mexicano-Germano-Swiss-Ozzy-Kiwi-Swedish family and thanks to a frequent turnover in tenants, I was always meeting new people and learning about their countries – one by one adding them to my “must visit” list. Vancouver gave me a thirst for adventure, but also made me realize this: everywhere I decide to go on the planet, there is a life full of wonderful people awaiting.
With that in mind, I reluctantly left Vancouver for San Diego, California to see if there was indeed another fun-filled life waiting for me elsewhere. And surely enough there was: in this youth hostel in the middle of the city, backpackers like me, from all over the world, with their arms wide open, my new family. Pedro from Portugal, Arpad and Aaron from Germany, Sylvia from Peru, Jim, Adam, Val and Justeen from the States, Anya from Ukraine, Take from Japan, Julius from Slovakia and Richard from the U.K. (I’m probably forgetting some people, apologies!) We lived and worked together as the staff of the hostel, with hundreds of other backpackers coming and going around us. We partied hard, played music on the rooftop at night, took the guests on day trips to Tijuana, cooked our meals together and shared the same dorm. I made lifetime friends and even more.
After nearly a year in San Diego, I journeyed to the U.K. to follow love (that Richard I met in San Diego) and this was the best decision ever. England and the whole of Europe was a brand new world of discoveries for me and I finally felt like I had earned my “traveller” label. England was my new home and before I knew it, 2 years and several new countries had gone past and I felt like I should perhaps pay home a visit and get some form of education. So I packed it up for Montreal, QC in 2007 where I spent 6 years, obviously not without doing many short travels. In the process, I got a second college degree in commercial photography and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Design. I have been working part-time as a freelance photographer and graphic designer since 2008, mostly in fashion, editorial and with musicians. You can visit my portfolio right here.
Life in Montreal was a whirlwind. I was overworked, stressed out, sleep-deprived. I got a full-time job as a graphic designer right upon graduating from University, while my freelance work picked up more and more, and I started landing crazy amazing contracts and meeting tons of awesome creative people in the industry. But it was too much too soon. I was part of a wheel that was spinning way too fast. I needed a break. So I escaped, to find myself and to find balance. And this is how Mostly Amélie came to be.
We booked a one-way ticket to Asia in January 2014, got rid of our apartment and most of our belongings and set off with only a small backpack and this great old feeling back in my tummy. I lived there the best two years of my life, with my partner of 10 years, until it all came to an abrupt stop when he announced to me that he wanted to continue his life journey on his own.
From then, out of an adrenaline rush, I bought a bicycle and set off to one of my craziest adventures of all: cycling alone 6000km between Malaysia and Germany, the final destination for my “new life”.
That alone was a whirlwind, but so was life in Germany.
I have been in Berlin for five years now, and still sometimes see it as a bit of a parallel universe I didn’t want to know existed. It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, but I have grown so so much as a woman (honestly, if the younger Amélie Gagné could see me now), and this blog continues to follow my journey through life, but also, there’s this one thing that’s kept me together since day one: yoga. From one adventure to the next, Mostly Amélie is the journal for my life as a sometimes lost single woman trying to navigate the world.
And I, Amélie Gagné, am glad you’re here.