Feet to move, places to roam
Most people long for the day when they finish their university finals for the semester to drink, party, sleep in, spend endless hours binging on Nexflix, and here I am. I concluded my last exam just over three days ago and all I have wanted to do was have a few silent hours to sit down and write. I have waited for December 11th to roll around so I could get around to responding to lengthy messages from friends, plan other peoples trips, catch up on what other bloggers have been up to and to actually try and relax which is nearly impossible for someone who constantly wants to be moving.
December is naturally a hectic month. There is Christmas around the corner and everyone is shuffling from store to store aiming to find that perfect present for the special people in their lives, students are ripping clumps of their hair out hoping on one of those strands contains the answer to the equation they just cannot seem to grasp the concept of, and December also happens to be reflective time while taking the opportunity to ponder what you have accomplished in the last 12 months. 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days, how did you choose to spend those 8760 hours? I am still in complete awe of how much has taken place in just this one year, it has flown by. I can honestly say I have no regrets, since I have done 10 countries and an estimate of 12 different cities. I called it from January 1st that this was going to be a whirlwind of a year and my prediction was dead on because I could not have asked for more. I am sure plenty of people surrounding you in your life will begin to discuss what they want to accomplish in 2016, but for now here is what I have manged to learn in 2015.
Your best friends are not determined by who you have known the longest: Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends who live in the same city as me and have known all my life, but I have also managed to create new friendships with people I have known for less than 42 to hours that I connect with on a whole other level than someone who lives 5 feet away from me. People who I met 2 years ago that I talk to every few months have a genuine interest in what is occurring in my life and are actually curious what I am doing in a whole other time zone, on a whole other day different from the one they are on. They ask who is that cute boy tagged in your Facebook photo, how is teaching going, what did you get up to this weekend, the questions you do not ask the people you see everyday because you simply just don’t think of it. The friends that are worldwide, are the ones closest to my heart because the way the bond was formed is different than any other person in my life. Long distance friendships actually requires commit from people on both ends to maintain a solid relationship miles away. Although nothing can replace the memories I have with my elementary best friends, you cannot determine or measure the worth of a friendship just based on the amount of time you spent with someone. I miss people who live hours away more than the ones I can walk over to in 10 minutes and exchange a hello with face to face.
“Instead of collecting things when you travel, try collecting new friends” – Brooke Saward
You are smarter than you think you are: I challenged myself academically this year by taking 5 university courses which is not something many people usually do if you want to factor in still having a social life and work part time. The first month of September was a breeze and then eventually the workload began to pile up through October and November but it was never anything I couldn’t handle. I received A’s and B’s all semester and was over the moon once I noticed that “Hey, I am a smart girl”. I completed 17 essays and wrote an exam once over the course of 3 months and excelled by my standards. For the first few years of university I was not confident in my marks at all and it frustrated me. However looking back I realized that the effort was never always 100% there, since it’s not hard to find something better to do than study. As I inch closer and closer to graduation with every month that passes by, I am more motivated to do better knowing that once I am done, I never have to attend university again if I don’t want too. In the end, I will have a degree and that is all I want from it. The lesson here was, if you want it bad enough, you will work at it no matter what it takes.
Nothing is wrong with being alone: People are STILL asking me if I have a boyfriend, want a boyfriend or if I am looking for one and the answer is still the same as 8 months ago, no. I have a hard enough time squeezing in yoga, work, eating, breathing, and making catch up dates with my girlfriends to keep up to date on what is occurring in their lives. So on my free days I cannot think of anything worse than spending it with a boyfriend, like it is some sort of requirement for my 20’s. Other than boarding flights and frolicking around new places, some of my favorite days are spent sitting in a coffee shop or nestled into a park somewhere, gazing at the people who pass by and I enjoy doing those activities alone rather than with another person sitting beside me. People ask if I ever get lonely or miss having a boyfriend and to be honest, I rarely ever do. So my goal for you is to try being alone, you might actually notice how refreshing it is. Don’t rely on someone else for your plans, for your company or because you are scared to be alone.
Which brings me to my next point.. Solo travel is something everyone needs to do at least once in their lifetime. It’s hard to believe at one point in time I was actually nervous about solo travel and now it is something I crave on a daily basis. I would not have met the incredible people that I did this year if I had traveled with another person by my side. Since solo travel requires you to put yourself out there, that is how you get exposed to the friendships that you will create. Since solo travel is becoming increasingly popular among the younger generation, I can promise that you will meet new people who are also looking for a buddy to hit up the hot spots in the country you are in, the chances are they looking for a friend also. So my goal for you, try traveling solo! It does not have to be across seas, it can be to the next province/state or even a solo road trip. Take the time to get to know yourself and other people in the world, because who doesn’t want a global friend base?
Happiness is based off of the things you do for yourself: Don’t suffer through a concert, drinking a bad cider, or going to a bar you hate, just because everyone else is doing it. Participate in the activities you do love and the time will be better spent. I suffer from FOMO (Fear of missing out) and have trouble saying no to things because I always wonder what will happen if I am not there, even if it really does sound like a bad time to begin with. Once I realized I do not have to attend every outing that takes place on the weekend, I discovered the things I would rather be doing. When I make the decision to travel, I do not even think twice about what is going on at home because I know what I am doing abroad will always beat the rituals that occur in my hometown, since they are all so predicable. The benefit of traveling will always be that every day is different than the last and just the thought of that is what makes me happiest.
If you have discovered some new life lessons today, yesterday, or over the course of 2015 I would love to hear them below!
I hope 2016 brings you plenty of new and exciting adventures, wherever they may be. xx