Feet to move, places to roam
Over the weekend, I met a boy who told me: “I was a ‘rare type’ of girl to come by”. Regardless if he was a few rum and coke drinks in or his flirtatious charm captivated me for a whole 20 minutes, he mentioned I was intriguing because of my passion to see the world, and admired my commitment to becoming a primary school teacher because of the “patience it requires”. He was under the impression I had my whole life figured out. Either way, countless people continue questioning at my age (early 20’s): “Does anyone actually know what they are doing with their life, or are we all just winging it?” My answer? I am somewhere in between knowing what I want, and going with the flow. I change my mind as often as I change my outfits in the morning, which is several times until I am completely satisfied. I know where I want to go and where I want to be three years from now, however I have a feeling that wherever I go and whatever I decide to do, it will be far from boring.
I have rambled on in the past about how commitments are not promises, although that was seven months ago. I still stand by my same philosophy which is “Why should I be tied down to something I am not absolutely, head over heels, in LOVE with?” At the time of writing that particular post, I was discussing and experiencing mixed emotions about upcoming final exams for the school year, what my purpose is in life, and ending a relationship. My head felt like it was about to explode. Since April, I feel like a completely transformed person after a wave of wisdom came over me and I put into perspective what it was like to work hard for something I want more than anything, which is to travel. So I worked three jobs, 7 days a week and eventually reached my goal by the time I boarded my flight out of the country. Since the time of my departure abroad, my outlook on life has done a 360 and revamped for the better. I am ecstatic to share what I have learned with others, to express what makes me happiest and try to assist those who are looking to live their life to the fullest potential. What works for me will not necessarily work for someone else, although I can try to help them get there.
I cannot repeat enough that travel really does change you. You realize that material objects are nothing when you have a lifetime of unique experiences under your belt. It all of a sudden hits you like a brick wall that you are able to live off of a handful of shirts and one pair of shoes, that you eat when you are hungry not because you are bored, that there are more good than bad people on this planet, you just have to go out and search for them. Everything that seems important right now, is not even a priority whilst out exploring. Solo travel did not change me, however it has altered the way I see the city and the world we live in and the way I go about my day-to-day life. We have all heard from various people in our lives who travel “It was a life changing experience” however, those particular individuals neglect WHY it changed them. From the last three adventures I have taken this year, compiled all together this is what I have taken from them so far:
I am okay with being alone: I am 21 years old and I can honestly say, (which has left multiple people with their jaw dropped), I do not want to be in a relationship. I do not want a boyfriend now, next month or next year and I am beyond happy with it staying this way. On the other hand, this is not to say if someone I happen to like comes my way in that span of time I will turn them down. I do not want to commit to someone when I am constantly hopping from place to place every few months, even if it is not for a long period of time. I love my freedom too much which includes not having to worry about someone else besides myself at this stage in my life. My thoughts are consumed by the next time I can escape the city rather than when the next cute guy will pass by me on the sidewalk. I have learned that I want a husband and an ever lasting adventure buddy somewhere down the road, but for now, I will never travel with a significant other. “You can love her, but leave her wild”.
I know what I want in life: Knowing what you want and how to get there are two different things. I believe that everyone should keep a short-term and long-term goal in the back of their minds, something that will keep them motivated, something to count down to, and something to look forward to in the upcoming years ahead. If you think planning for three years in advance is a long time away, before you know it that time will have arrived in the blink of an eye, might as well start planning for something extravagant now, right? I have a mental picture currently placed in my mind of where I will be three years from now; preparing for the graduation of my B.Ed degree and hopefully putting my dream into reality and pursing teaching jobs over in the U.K. I do not plan on living in the city I am currently in for longer than I need to because I am a strong advocate in saying that without change, we do not grow. I realized early on in high school my purpose in life was to teach and to wander the globe on a mission to do something for others and myself, and I will continue down that path for as long as I possibly can. My goal with my own students one day is to help them notice that learning the basics in education is just as important as learning from the world around them and the experiences they happen to create in their own lives.
You never try, you never know: Have you ever experienced those days where something deep down inside of you is starting to brew? Kind of comparable to the way butterflies in your stomach feel when you get nervous or excited. That is how I feel every time my heart tells me to book a flight no matter how little money I currently have saved, I find a way. I pick up shifts at work, I cut back on buying bagels and Starbucks drinks and find the cheaper alternative in the everyday activities I do in order to make the next adventure happen. I only wish those who complain about not being able to globe trot enough, would figure out this simple formula. More and more people have started to text, Facebook message, or stop and ask me while I am out in public where my favorite place I visited was, how much my trips costs or how I save enough money to travel frequently or how I would recommend for them for travel. Some will say “I’m so sorry for all the questions!” but trust me, I could sit and write back to you or talk with you for hours about the topic. I may not have made my way over to Asia, South America or Oceania yet but it is not my list. I have not traveled as far as millions of others but I travel often because it’s not even a want anymore, it is a need.
If my curiosity and sense of wanderlust never kicked in as hard as it did, I would be a completely different person. I would be someone with less stories and nothing to show for my 21 years of existence. My mind is in a dream world now more than ever. I get excited when my phone beeps at 4 in the morning because my friends on the other side of the world are eating lunch and replying to our ever lasting chain of inbox messages. I have stronger friendships with people who live a 23 hour flight away from me than someone who lives down the street. “Memorable people during memorable times are not forgettable”, when you experience music festivals, cliff jumping, Eiffel Tower picnics, gypsies trying to steal your food, long layovers, etc. whatever it may be, with someone you just met, you already have a unique bond that cannot be duplicated with another person, these are the strongest relationships. Experiences lead to better stories, I am sure the couple hundred dollars you spent on clothing or other material objects is not a story you can tell your grandchildren one day. Travel forces you to leave your comfort zone and to experiment with activities you would not be able to get your hands on back home.
I never want you to feel like you are wasting away the most precious years of your life because you feel you need to be attached to a certain commitment or a certain person. If your gut is telling you to do something, go out and do it.