I’ve been back in Canada for a little less than a month now and have had some time to decompress and to think about my trip. At first, I thought I hadn’t really changed at all during my travels, but it actually has in a million tiny ways. I’d like to share that with you now:
10. The Journey is the Thing
My trip had no specific goal, other than to relax, enjoy and experience the world that was far away from home. This turned out to a great way to travel and, for me, to not focus on the result, but to really take the journey for what it was – an adventure into the unknown.
9. We are all the Same
I included this in my last list, but I want to say it again. I love people, and the truest realization I had again while I was overseas is that we are all, at our most basic level, very similar. We just want to be happy; to have enough food to eat, a roof over our heads, some people who love us and a purpose in life that brings us joy. I saw all kinds of people living in many different ways as I worked though six countries, but they all have this in common. We are all part of one big human family, and it doesn’t matter where you are from or what you are doing with your life, some things are the same within all of us.
8. Travel is as Easy and as Hard as you Want it To Be
PATIENCE. This one virtue has eluded me my whole life, and nothing cures the need for control than a less than smooth travel experience. I learned about the essence of the journey in my search for patience as I met setbacks and mishaps along the road. I learned how to be more adaptable, to let things slide, and to only care about the most important things along the way.
7. Roll with the Waves
This one is a good follow-up to #8. When I rolled with the upsets along the way, the journey got even more interesting: I saw some things I would otherwise have missed, or had a completely new experiences I wasn’t expecting to have. By saying “Yes!” I got into more trouble, saw more unexpected things, and had more impromptu adventures than if I had stuck to a strict schedule and followed it the whole way along.
6. Pay Attention
I learned that there is beauty in the details. That every city is an intricate mess that somehow works in its own unique way. That the road less traveled sometimes results in a washed out car or monkeys attacking your windshield. To stop and save the kittens, get lost on a bike and get found again, and that fun can be found in every airport, bus station, or boat ride. By paying true attention to my surroundings, I was also able to glimpse into the local life of the people, and have real experiences from the country I was visiting. That, to me, is priceless.
5. Embrace the Inner Hippie
I’m normally a goal-oriented, round the clock, by the book kind of person. To escape that mentality for a while and embrace my inner beach bum was an enlightening experience. I had whole days with no plans and nothing to do, vague ideas of where the day would take me, and days where I just went with the flow. That rarely happens in my “real” life in Canada, and it was refreshing to break out of the bubble of who I think I am and step into the sandals of my inner Hippie Goddess. She is someone I want to know better, and a side of me that I won’t soon forget now that we’ve been re-aquainted!
In my travels I stayed with family friends, friends of friends, new friends and people I didn’t even know at all. I was welcomed into countless homes with open arms, to people eager to share in my travel journey and get to know me. I feel SO blessed to now have friends from all over the world, and want to thank each and every one of you for your hospitality and help in exploring all these new places 🙂 If you ever travel, and someone recommends that you stay with a friend or you have family/friends to stay with overseas, DO IT! It will completely change your perspective on the country you are visiting, because you get to see it through the eyes of a local. A thousand thank-you’s again to all those who put me up while I was abroad! You are welcome to return the favour here in Canada anytime!
3. Comfort Zones are Boring
I did something new and crazy in every country I went to: Surfing in Indonesia, Parasailing in Philippines, and even Skydiving in New Zealand. Get out of your comfort zone and try some new and crazy stuff. It will enrich your travel experience and add a whole new level of fun. Besides, that’s what travel is for: new experiences and adventures! It doesn’t matter how scared you are – do something wild and crazy! eat that cricket off a Bangkok bug cart! Take the jet boat ride through the canyon! Throw yourself out of a plane! These things are the highlights of my travels as I look back on them now, the times I challenged myself and really went for it.
Canada is an amazing country. I learned this while I was abroad through other travellers stories about my home country, that it is a well-loved place in the world and worth exploring in its own right. Talking about it with others made me realize how much I love being a Canadian and how lucky I am to call this place my home. I never really appreciated it until I left for a long time and realized what a phenomenal place it is.
The fact that I was able to pull off this trip still boggles my mind. There was so much planning involved – a years worth of time and effort went into it, and now that I’m back I can see what a privileged position I hold as a citizen of Canada. I have enough food to eat, a roof over my head, and friends and family who love and care about me. The rest is just gravy! Upon returning I went to my bathroom and turned on the tap, thinking back to all the times I didn’t have access to fresh water on my travels. Something as simple as turning on the tap can take on new meaning after travelling: it represents all that we take for granted, being from a first world country were every comfort is provided for. I feel that, now, I am able to name how lucky I truly am.
Well. That’s it! I’m sure I will update this blog again in the future as life takes me on more travels, but for now I am happy to have landed back in Canada, ready to take on the world 🙂
- Back to Canada at Last (fearlessadventure.wordpress.com)
- The Secrets of Travel Bloggers (thenomadgrad.com)
- What are you thankful for? (toricopper.wordpress.com)
- Travel – The Gift That You Owe To Yourself (qualityicecream.wordpress.com)
- The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step… (biddlegoesbackpacking.wordpress.com)