Stop Thinking About it and Just Take The Leap
The Classic Travel Changed my Life Narrative at its Finest
Full Circle Moments
For many years now, I’ve thought travel was just a means for me to see the word, for living the adventures I always dreamed of and for being free the way I always wanted to be.
It is only recently that I've really come to understand that choosing to travel the way I did was maybe the single greatest decision I have ever made.
It was the biggest pivot of my life and I chose it purely for me, which is what made it so remarkable.
I had had enough of seeking approval, of seeking validation, of acting and looking a certain way for other people.
I was determined to find that girl I had always wanted and known I’d be.
A girl that stood on her own two feet, who went on adventures, who had stories to tell and to live. A girl who wouldn’t be restricted by what anyone else had to say as long as she knew in her heart that she was a good person, and as long as, above all, she was choosing herself.
It took me years, many countries, and some detours to find her. But, here we are at last.
It’s hard not to be hard on that girl sometimes. That girl that let peoples opinions dictate her behaviour and life. It’s hard not to want to go back in time and shake her. Wake her up to how strong and magical she is all on her own. How capable she is. How wonderfully unique she is.
That’s the journey though.
I am certain that I would not feel as strongly in my own self today without having been her. Without having fought to be here. Without having done the wrong thing and made it right.
And, it all started with a plane ticket.
I’m not saying you need to buy a plane ticket to wake up to who you really are. Actually, I hope you are already there. Being that girl you always knew you could and would be. I hope you never had to find her because you never lost her.
But, for me, a change of scenery was what was needed. Many changes in scenery, in fact. I needed something to work towards. I needed something to drive towards other than the “future”.
It wasn’t until I took that leap that I realized how much I love leaping. How much I love jumping in feet first and knowing that I’ll figure it out.
It started with plane tickets but has now found its way into all facets of my life.
IT’S ALL “FIGUREOUTABLE”
Make the decision that feels right to you, what you really want. Then figure out the rest later.
Buy the plane ticket, figure out the semantics after. Decide you’re going to go because that’s who you are and that’s what you want to do.
I still do this.
Once I’ve decided I’m going on a trip, you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to make it happen no matter the circumstances I’m in at the time. Travel fills me to the brim and lights me up. So, that’s how I choose to prioritize my life.
I now apply this commitment in all other aspects of my life. My relationships, friendships, work, creation, health. All of it.
I truly believe that anything that I really want I can make happen. Because I’ve come to know myself and what I’m capable of.
Let me tell you, getting off a bus in the middle of the night in a city and country you’ve never been to with no plans on where you are going to stay or if you’ll be able to communicate, really ingrains in you your ability to just figure it out. To trust your instincts and to trust that you don’t need to have it all figured out all the time.
It’s only now, when I look back, that I realize how truly valuable those experiences were. I realize how much I came back to me during these moments. I realize how small I had really allowed myself to become before leaning into those adventures.
I could never go back to that girl now, I know what I’d be giving up. However, without having been her I could never be as grateful for who I am today as I am. I love her, and I am grateful for her (It has taken me YEARS to embrace that.)
Watch Out For Expectations Station
I didn’t really know how much I had let myself become influenced by my expectations before the unpredictability of the “just figure it out” moments. How much I had allowed myself to forget what I truly believed in. What my values were and what really mattered to me. I had put my dreams on hold for other people. I had let myself believe that they would wait (my dreams), that it was my dreams that should wait.
Don’t do that.
Act on your dreams as soon and as quickly as you can.
While strong boundaries and standards have become a huge part of my sanity and life, it was not always that way and had often been replaced by expectations (the worst). Expectations are a dangerous thing. A thing that almost never matches up with your reality. Not exactly anywhoo. And are guaranteed to keep you from enjoying the moment you’re currently in for what it is. Which, inevitably, leaves you feeling like life has let you down in some big or small way.
Traveling the world has allowed me to let go (or at least be aware) of my expectations. To check myself before I wreck myself with expectations. Expecting something of yourself is one thing but expecting something of someone else or of a place, or situation, is another thing entirely.
Sounds cheezy, but fuck it, you need to hear it because I needed to hear it. Stop thinking so much about where you're going, who will be there, and what you’ll do when you get there. Just point yourself in a direction and trust that you are going to end up where you are meant to. That you are going to have amazing memories as long as you are able to be present in that moment.
Stop in that coffee shop that you think looks cute, spend the day there. People watch. Don’t worry about the plans you had. Eat at that roadside pho place you found on your way to the restaurant you had planned to go too. These moments will stay with you forever. They truly will never leave you. They are a part of me today as much as they were then.
That is my favourite part of travel. That it is something that I do 100% for me. That doesn’t mean that I do not love sharing it with those I love, but every time I book a ticket or plan a road trip I am reminded of that girl I was. Of how far I’ve come. Of how proud I am of me for making it happen.
I think of this whenever I need a reminder that I can do anything. That I am only limited by what I say I can do. That I am only made smaller by the choices I make, and the way I choose to perceive them.
It shines a light on how those choices have led me to where I am today. A woman (feels weird calling myself adult things) who leans into every moment, who consciously chooses to see the opportunity in every situation and who chooses to make every endeavour an adventure.
Because, to me, every endeavour is an opportunity for adventure. To go somewhere I haven’t been before, to be someone I don’t know yet, to have new experiences.
Will they all be comfortable? Maybe...probably...absolutely...not. But that is half the fun. Those are where the lessons lie.
Those are the moments you look back on and think. “Shit, I can’t believe I did that”, “Remember that time (insert memory here)”. I have so many come to mind that I literally can’t pin one down.
How Travel Prepared me for Small Town Living
A very tangible example would be my life as I know it now.
In mid-December 2019, my partner (Mik) was offered a position in a very small town (like 2500 people small) across Canada. We were living in my hometown, Ottawa, at that time, so suffice it to say it would an adjustment. Oh, and the position would begin the first week of January.
If I did not have the outlook I have on adventure and seeing the light in every situation, I may not have looked at these circumstances with excitement and opportunity. But, I did.
I’ve never lived in a small town, that’ll be interesting.
I won’t be able to work in restaurants for a couple of years, maybe it’s the universe giving me the kick in the ass I needed.
Think of all the time I’ll have to create and spend on myself.
I’ve always wanted to live in another province!
And the list goes on and on and on and on….
Sure I knew I’d miss my family and you know…coffee shops, but honestly, I also knew that I could thrive at a distance. That I could maintain those relationships at a distance (Professional long-distance relationshiper over here). That this was a tremendous opportunity to see my life from a new angle and to make a major pivot.
I could have very easily leaned into thoughts of “What the fack am I going to do in a town of 2500 people?”
But, what would have been the point of that? Seriously, get out of here Debbie Downers because I’m not having any of it.
I guess I could have told my partner to go without me, and that we could do long-distance again. That I didn’t want to leave my life as I knew it.
That never even occurred to me. Because,
I wuv him.
I was actually excited at the opportunity to do, and go somewhere I had never been.
I know very well the magic that can live in the smallest memories, experiences, and places. The most random road trips, hikes, and grocery shopping experiences.
I’ve realized (literally as I’m writing this) that at this point I basically just take on life as one giant trip. That that is actually how I look at things.
That it is just a given that I would uproot my life to a small town, and that I would figure it out from there. That I would be excited about that. What’s not exciting about starting fresh in a new place?
That I would lean into the opportunity. That I would welcome the experience. That I make the most of every part of it. That I would go into it without expectation. That I would be open to new possibilities (ones that aren’t even in existence in my brain yet). That that would be so thrilling to me.
How lucky am I to get the opportunity to live in a town people buy cottages in?
How lucky am I to have a partner who is passionate about his career?
How lucky am I to have the freedom to uproot my life?
How lucky am I to be given the opportunity to learn whatever lessons are in store for me?
How lucky am I to finally be able to commit time to a puppy?
The most lucky. The most grateful.
Embrace the Lessons
Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, about humanity, about the world. Whether you are conscious of it or not, every moment leaves an imprint on you big or small and provides you with a toolkit for taking on the next moment. For taking on the world.
I embrace these lessons wholeheartedly because I know how valuable they are. I know how life-changing and game-changing they can be if you are willing to lean into them. If you are willing to act on them. If you are willing to change, adapt, and remain open to the next opportunity/lesson.
Man I freaking love myself for having leaned into the adventure side of me. For having gone out into the world. For having said goodbye to that girl, and to the life she was living.
We encounter each other every now and again, but I’m more understanding of her now. More forgiving. Mostly grateful for her. She said “Fuck This Shit” to her life at that time, and just leapt feet first into a brand new direction. I love her for that.
I love travel for having been that tool for me. That literal and figurative escape. Because, while I understand that it is not always healthy, sometimes an escape from your life is exactly what you need to get perspective on it. To see it from the outside looking in. To realize your only goal should be to build a life you don’t feel like escaping from.
That you are the leading lady of your life, you have the power to steer it in whichever direction you want. You can write the script. It makes me emotional to think about. I’m now the leading lady of my own life, not the best friend (If you understand this romcom reference, I think we just became best friends). #theholiday
It took some seriously rough “Not So In Control” moments to get here, but that's the adventure, isn’t it?
Suffice it to say, travel, in all of its forms, changed my life. It is a love I will have for the rest of time. It has been the biggest eye-opener and teacher of my life, and the biggest kick in the butt of my life.
I would not be who, where, or what I am without it.
I would not be the badassery that is Laffy that you see here today ;)
If you dream of seeing the world, if you are waiting for that perfect time to travel, if you are waiting for someone else to be ready, please just do it for you.
Please just take that step.
Reach out to me if you like. I would be the most happy to talk you through it and help you any way I can!
The lessons waiting for you are beyond what you can imagine.
Just take a breath and leap.