GANDER, NL –
For CNA alumna Stef Janes, the countdown is on to tick off items on her bucket list.
Imagine sleeping over the water; swimming in the ocean off a private balcony every morning; snorkeling amongst the colourful fish; and, having a cold, tropical cocktail while watching the sharks, stingrays and sea turtles swim past her bungalow every evening.
Last spring, Janes was the winner College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) $10,000 dream vacation through the college’s annual Alumni Reconnect contest
. Her upcoming trip will see her board a plane on April 15, 2020 for considerably warmer climes than those found in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Where will her dream trip take her? To the Maldives, a small island nation in South Asia which is located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean.
“An over water bungalow in the Maldives is pretty much the top of my bucket list, and with one kid in post-secondary and another one heading out soon, this is not a vacation I would have been able to afford in the near future!” said the 2018 graduate.
Janes and her husband, Brian, will spend 10 days in this tropical paradise exploring the area. The family is no stranger to exploring as they document their home-province adventures on their blog Excursion Around the Bay
. You can also follow their adventures on Stef’s Instagram account @stefjanes
“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “I think surreal would be the best way to describe it. I can’t believe that it happened. I have never won anything before so I must have been saving up all of my luck for a good one. I entered the contest the year before since I only graduated from CNA’s Community Studies program in 2018, but it looks like the second time is a charm.”
The trip couldn’t have come at a better time for the Gander native who says her family had to put all thoughts of vacation on hold while she went back to school.
“It’s unbelievably perfect timing. We’ve never needed a vacation more than we do now,” Janes says.
“When I went back to school, my husband had to sacrifice a lot; the financial burden was fully on him and our budget no longer allowed for travel, so it’s nice that we now get to take this trip together. It’s funny that because I went back to school, we couldn’t afford to go anywhere, but because I went back to school, we won this crazy trip that we normally couldn’t afford to go on.”
One thing that is definitely on their list – exploring. However, the couple will wait until they arrive at their destination to choose what excursions they’ll try.
“I want to go snorkeling with turtles and swimming with the sharks, but the rest will be something I decide on when I get there. As for what I’m looking forward to the most, the warmth, the food, the over-the-water bungalow, the beach … I can’t choose just one!”
The Alumni Reconnect prize, valued at $10,000, was held in partnership with TD Insurance Meloche Monnex. CNA will launch the fourth annual Alumni Reconnect contest in February 2020.
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic