21 Countries in 21 Years- A broadening perspective….
As my six month backpacking trip through Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia comes to a close, it can’t feel like a better time to return to blogging and reflect on my experiences overseas.
Travelling has always been a passion of mine. I’m currently sitting in an airport waiting to board a plane to my 21st country. By 18, I had backpacked across Europe and East Africa on my own. I have always welcomed new experiences with open arms.
When I returned home from my first solo trip, I distinctly remember the feeling of a shift in perspective. At the time, I was quite young. I felt as if I had developed a new set of beliefs. I did. But what I didn’t realize is that this set of beliefs would be ever-changing. The more I travel, the more I experience a shift in my perception of the people around me, my morals and my overall outlook on life.
Learning the new Aussie lingo, adjusting to the extreme heat, overcoming ‘Bali-belly’ and experiencing life as a factory worker in New Zealand were all things that I had to get used to. There is no better way to adapt to your new surroundings than to completely surrender yourself to them.
I have a habit of keeping myself uncomfortable. I often question whether it is a good trait to have or a bad one. What I mean by this is that I tend not to stay in one place long enough to develop a stagnant routine or to settle into my comfort zone. My friend’s at home often wonder why I am never there. The reason is that I’m constantly pushing forward — ready to meet new people and discover unknown places. I always cherish the memories and friends that I make along the way but have a good sense at knowing when an environment is no longer challenging my character.
People often tell me that they’re jealous or that they wish they could trade lives for a while. The truth of the matter is that travelling is not always a glamorous lifestyle. There are highs and lows just like anything. Yes, I’ve summated mountains, walked along white sandy beaches, snorkelled among colourful fish and slept under the stars. But I also share the same common problems that other Canadians face: debt, bills, school and trying to stretch my savings so that I can reach all of these places.
My encouragement to you is to always place yourself in an environment that challenges your character and has potential to change your perspective. It doesn’t have to be in the Amazon forest or the Himalayan mountains, but being able to recognize when you need something different is the best way to achieve personal growth.
I am about to board this plane to India and I know with all of my heart that I have made the right decision.