Day 69 of 100.
«When you go away, you get to be exactly the person you want to be» -Chris Halliday
I met him two years ago on a hostel rooftop in Montmarte, Paris with a painted cement floor and partial view of the Sacré-Cœur. Two months into a backpacking trip, without a phone (unceremoniously left behind in a taxi on my first day of Paris), I had made friends with a group of young travelers and the 6 foot 5 Aussie with a penchant for film cameras.
There was something instantaneous about my friendship with this crew. They were also all traveling alone, and had befriended one another at this hostel. One by one, they banded together, welcoming their newest member to the band.
There was Jenny, the Canadian photographer (digital and fashion was more her style), the 19 year old Aussie who braver than all of her counterparts had saved up enough to travel before starting «Uni», the ever so helpful French speaking Montreal Canadian who’s name I could not pronounce and Chris, the Aussie photographer who stopped in the middle of a conversation on a crowded street to take pictures of the beauty that he saw.
Paris would have been lonely had I met this lot. It’s romantic side streets and love lock bridges, the literal violin music that floated through the air and gorgeous, gorgeous men with accents that made ones heart melt.
As the group got to know each other over lunch at an «authentic» restaurant just down the block from the hostel, we talked about why we were all traveling.
Getting a group of solo travelers is electrifying. Despite having different cultures and being complete strangers, there is a wavelength that ties us all together. For all of us, there is something- whether it be a curiosity for the world or frustration with friends- something that pushed us all to do this. Within itself- that is like a brotherhood.
And the conversation always goes- «so what brings you to travel?»
I gave my textbook, now perfectly memorized response after dozens of times having the same conversation – I had turned 25, and had a quarter life crisis, never gone traveling before and hated my job, hated my life.
And most people had the same story, except for Chris.
When you go away, you get to be exactly the person you want to be» -Chris Halliday
Even now, I still think about those words. They mean so much with so little.
It’s true. Out there, away from work and family and life- no one knows who the heck you are, how you’ve failed and succeeded in the past, what you’ve done or didn’t do. You get to be, who you WANT to be.
I don’t mean this in the «pretend I’m a scientist» way, but in a «yea I’ll try wakeboarding or doing something different because no one would judge me on it».
And damn it feels good to be who you want to be, because in reality- it’s just the BEST version of yourself that you can be. It’s the upgraded 2018 model, with all the bells and whistles.
The thing about traveling is, that you thrive on that freedom and constantly moving environment, but what happens when your home and in your routine again. How do you become the best version of yourself?
I perceived myself as a brave, cultured traveler. People came to know me as that too.
But now I’m feeling a major transition period for myself. How the world perceived me as before this writing/sober experiment and who I realize I am NOW are a bit different.
Im like a new car with the same features, and designs on the outside, but just a new updates and safety features added. And so- I have to realize how to become the best version of myself, without traveling and other travelers, but by building a website and life that I truly care about.
What will yours be? Check out this great article below.