I love to travel. It’s not the only thing about me, there are lots of thing about me, but the thing that is most relevant to this blog is obviously my love of travel. It’s why I can leave the life I have set up for myself here in Vancouver – a life that I love – when the idea and opportunity to go live overseas popped up again. And don’t misunderstand, I absolutely love my life. I have a loving and supportive family, the best sister and the best friends a girl could ask for, I had a stable job with great co-workers and benefits, and a great apartment in Kits near the beach that wasn’t too expensive. But once that travel bug rears its head, nothing can be done.
Loving travel has been a big part of me for a very long time. I don’t even remember when it started, but my mom was definitely a huge part of it. She joined the Rotary when I was young – one of the first female members of her club, and the first female president, go Mom! Rotary has all sorts of travel opportunities and exchanges for youth and Mom was always encouraging my sister and I to take advantage of them. She wanted us to go on high school exchanges, to go live overseas, do a year abroad. I tried not to take it personally that she was trying to get rid of us. She was maybe a bit too enthusiastic about how great it would be if we went away for a year, but then again we were teenagers, so maybe I understand.
I was in French Immersion right from the get-go. learned German from Au-pairs we had when I was little, I learned Mandarin for a couple of years in Elementary school. My parents took in a few exchange students. I did my first exchange when I was 15, living for a month in Belgium. I did a year long student exchange in Australia when I was 21 (and boy did I live that year – my liver is still having a hard time forgiving me for the damage I did!). I lived for another year in Shanghai doing a co-op when I was 23. Then I tried to settle down, I tried to focus on getting a career, to find a nice boy and get married, have babies, the house, the whole nine-yards. But nothing in life excited me the way travel does. Except maybe talking about nutrition or reading tarot cards. Maybe.
I love to travel, but travel to me isn’t just going to a new place for a couple of days and sightseeing. That’s fun and sometimes it’s the option you have; I’ll be doing that during the backpacking portion of my trip. But what really fires me up is getting to stay longer. Getting to know a place. The opportunity to settle in, to learn the language, the slang, to get to know the locals, to eat the food and drink the beer or wine, to see what every day life is really like in this place, whatever place it is. To listen to the stories about the day-to-day, year-to-year, to see it and to live it too. To really settle in to a place, so much that it starts to settle in you. It changes you. I love being changed by a place.
I am passionate about travel. If I could figure out a way to get paid for traveling the way I like to travel, I would do it in a heartbeat. That’s a hint, by the way, to anyone out there who wants to pay me to travel! Subtle, I know. Travel and adventures like the one I’m embarking on are what fire me up about living, fire me up about life. I love my life here in Vancouver, but just the idea of traveling makes my heart beat faster, my mind race with possibilities, and I can feel my whole body humming with a kind of joy and excitement that has its roots in deep peace, so that the more excited I am, the calmer I get, which is a weird and cool oxymoron of a place to live inside.
So that’s about me, that’s why I do the things I do, why I travel. I follow my passion, otherwise what is the point of life?