I can’t say I ever really knew what I personally wanted to get out of life. I always just went with what I was told the flow was meant to be: do well in highschool, go to a good college, get a good job, have a happy life. So I followed the path to the best of my ability.
Over time though, I realized there are many other options. I remember being fresh out of college and seeing my friends going traveling: snorkeling in South East Asia, teaching English in China, hiking the Himalayas or exploring ruins in South America. Why was that never one of the options I was given? Why don’t I do this? I should just go.
Well, I had some student loans. Obviously I can’t be in debt while traveling so I decided to pay them off and then go. And eventually they were paid. Time to travel, right? But then I then realized I should really have somewhere to live when I come back. So I decided to first mortgage out a condo, make sure I have enough saved to make my payments for over a year of travel and then go. And eventually I had that too.
By then, time had passed, my career progressed and I got a job I really enjoyed, where weekends and weekdays were interchangeable because I never dreaded Monday. But I became comfortable and all but forgot about traveling. After working very hard one year, I went home to Vancouver for the holidays. While there, I spent a day hiking with my mom and sister through the gorgeous local mountains. That’s where I had a moment when I realized how amazing this free activity was. I could be happy a simpler life, filled with this. I don’t have many responsibilities so hard work leads to a larger number in my bank account but no other immediate benefits. I had a great job but I was still working very hard. I say I never dreaded Monday but maybe that’s because I was often working weekends anyway so it was all the same. I never hated it but it was definitely not my desired activity.
It was during that hike that I remembered I had done everything I set out to do before traveling. It was the beginning of January 2015; I realized I had to go, now or never. I decided then and there to spend one more year working – one more year to save up. December 2015 I’m leaving, and this time, the thought felt like a fact. There was no doubt in my mind that it was happening and I never looked back. I gradually told the people in my life, starting with my sister, then friends, parents and eventually boss. I’m writing this on December 26, 2015 in the YVR airport, waiting to board my one way ticket to Thailand!