Joker Hill, Aurora, OntarioWhenever life gets tedious and boring there’s a little voice that urges me to pack up and get out while I still can. While listening to this voice has led me on some unforgettable adventures, my impulsive travel decisions are not without consequence. Being 28 and essentially penniless, living back at my parents place after a year-long stint in Australia and New Zealand has forced me to take a long hard look at my life and has forced me to face the possibility that it was time to get serious about life. But what does that even mean?

For much of my adult life I floated in a fairly happy state of contentment, I finished school, got a decent job and had a nice boyfriend. After the demise of my long-term relationship I began to question if the life I was living was fulfilling and what direction I was going to take next. Travel offered everything I felt my so-called-life lacked. I was on my own, meeting new people, having fun-filled and crazy misadventures. I finally had stories I felt were worth telling. Being homeless in Barcelona and living in a communal apartment with a bunch of Australian hedonists, sleeping on beaches, volunteering to save turtles in Guatemala, working in 46 degree heat on a vineyard in Western Australia, these were adventures I had longed for and I couldn’t get enough. It took some time to realize that whatever void I was trying to fill was still gaping up at me. Now don’t get me wrong, I saw and experienced many amazing things and grew as a person in many ways, but I was waiting for travel to give me something that I felt I lacked.

I recently watched the film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ which tells the story of a middle-aged woman who is on a journey to “find herself” through cultural indulgence, spirituality and finally, the love of a man. Now for those of us more based in reality, the road to self-fulfillment isn’t quite so smooth and is often littered with confusion, loneliness and self-doubt. I guess the big picture I was missing was that you can’t find something that isn’t lost. I think the wise old Dalai Lama said it best “Right now, at this moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness”, although he was referring to monetary gains, fame and success, I think world travel can sometimes fall under this scope as well as we are always looking for the next trip, the next adventure to bring us happiness. I feel I need to point out that I feel at my best when I travel. The intrinsic rewards of learning about other cultures and meeting wise world travelers is unparalleled to anything money can buy in my opinion, however the danger of travel to avoid facing myself was a real danger to me and one that I’m still battling with. Here is my conclusion: Self-honesty is the key. Knowing yourself well enough to know when to forge ahead and when to turn back, when to let down the sails and when to let your roots set. That being said, I’ll be sending all my love from wherever it is I end upl.

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