I don’t live a traditional life. I live a life far from Western society’s expectations of an SUV in the driveway of a house with a white picket fence with a husband and children tucked inside, all funded by a successful nine-to-five career. But that’s completely okay. I am very thankful to have chosen to live the lifestyle I do.
Most of my twenties have been spent wandering this huge planet of ours, exploring different cultures, different ways of thinking and different lifestyles. In return, there are 4 things I’m thankful for because of travel.
1. My Privilege
I am so thankful to have grown up with the opportunities and means to participate in extra-curricular sports and activities when in high school. I was able to attend a good university to complete two degrees and then successfully obtain a job that allowed me to save money to travel the world. I am thankful I live in a country where I have the freedom to pursue a future I envision with few barriers preventing me from achieving everything I dream of. I am also thankful for the travel freedom my Canadian passport offers me in 172 countries.
Traveling through so many different countries on my own has increased my self-confidence. I’m never too scared to strike up a conversation with a stranger and I don’t mind showing up to events on my own – not to mention eating out by myself. This self-confidence helped me during my year as the Saskatchewanderer where I explored Saskatchewan on my own. It currently helps me as a freelance digital media content creator. Every day is a new adventure, meeting new people and working together with them. It is sometimes a little nerve-wracking to show up to conferences, banquets and events alone, but before the night is out I always seemed to have made new friends.
3. Ability to Go with the Flow
Flexibility and adaptability are two of my most valued traits I’ve learned from the unpredictable nature of travel. When things go wrong, instead of getting upset about it, I immediately start figuring out an alternative plan. This summer, my new camera broke before I was to film two weeks of a cruise in the Mediterranean. Then I became sick with a local parasite and needed medical attention. Finally, my luggage was lost for 8 days before a business cruise on the Danube. Thankfully, I was able to problem-solve and figure out alternative options to make those events go smoothly. It was still stressful and a bit expensive, but because I am used to plans constantly changing, I was able to effectively deal with all of the mishaps and work around them.
4. Access to Family and Friends Through Technology
It’s not easy spending time away from my loved ones. Thankfully, technology makes it easier and I am able to Whatsapp, Facetime and Skype home to familiar faces. My friends and family have also been supportive of all my adventures. Despite very real concerns, like when I went to Africa during the Ebola outbreak, my support network stood by my decision.
Travel has been the best educator to see first-hand different lifestyles and cultures around the world. It has taught me so much and I honestly wouldn’t be the person I am today without all the amazing experiences I’ve had.