New Year, New Travels
New years has come and it’s officially 2016—can you believe it? In all honesty, I thought that we’d all be driving electric cars, cancer would be cured and our computers would be as thin as paper, but you know how it goes, you can’t always predict the future.
If I had to sum up my year in one word, I would say that it could be best described as one of growth: growth in terms of maturity, well-being and an appreciation for things that I may have once deemed as mundane. I started 2015 with a six month exchange to the University of Leeds in England, United Kingdom and from this point on, my fire was sparked. This was no doubt a terrifying experience for me considering I’m pretty prone to missing home, but it was a push outside my comfort zone that simply needed to happen. After this, I wanted to see more, do more, experience more and go places where few others get the opportunity to go. And I have to say, I checked a lot off my bucket list.
- Ljubljana and Lake Bled
- The Walk of the Gods
- Split, Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Cornwall and Devon
- The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland
- Edinburgh and the Highlands
- Joffre Lakes
- Garibaldi Lake
- Green Lake
- Drayton Valley
And of course, my own backyard…
The amazing part is, there’s so much more to come in 2016. 2015 gave me more opportunities than I’ve ever had in my entire life and I’m confident (and hopeful) that my journey will continue well into 2016 and beyond.
What have I learned this year? Well, first and foremost, I’ve learned that you can’t do it all. If you had seen my original list of “must see” countries for my exchange then you would’ve laughed at me and told me to win the lottery first (I had no idea that it wouldn’t be possible until I figured out the logistics of my trip and how shallow my pockets were). I’ve also learned that it’s okay if you can’t manage to do it all; there will be ample opportunities in life to explore and it will happen as often as you work to make it happen. When travel becomes a passion it also becomes a priority.
Beyond this, I’ve learned that you don’t beed the fanciest camera or the most money in the world to travel. Part way through my backpacking trip in Europe, both my Lumix camera and my iPhone were destroyed by salt water. I made do with using an older back up camera and I was still able to document the best parts of my trip. As for money, saving is key and I’ve realized that it’s worth it to save for what you love rather than spending your money here and there on food and going out—travel is what makes me happy and it’s where the majority of my money ends up going. My friends were a little annoyed at first that I was, well… a little stingy at times, but they eventually got over it and we found ways that we could still hang out and have fun while saving a dollar or two here and there.
And lastly, I think the most important lesson I’ve learned this year is that solo travel is not something that anyone should be afraid of—yes, that includes girls. Two weeks before I left for my trip in Europe, the friend I was suppose to travel with came down with a nasty case of tonsillitis and couldn’t come with me. I didn’t have the option of finding anyone else to go with because it was all so last minute. Despite the millions of worries that overwhelmed my mind, my solo trip ended up being incredible; I had the chance to meet up with people from back home in different cities and I even learned how to put myself out there and meet people from cultures very different from my own. It wasn’t nearly as scary or as lonely as I had imagined it to be and the best part was that I followed my own agenda. I saw exactly what I wanted to see and I did the things that I thought I’d enjoy most (aka more excursions than museums and more good food than alcohol).
Sugar coating aside, 2015 was a kick ass year for me and I consider myself so fortunate that I was able to see so much. Travel was never something that I invested in before 2015; heck, I wanted to spend my money on a car, get a job right out of university and wear nice clothing. Now, I’ve postponed finding a career until I’ve traveled more and I’d much rather take weekend to travel than go shopping. A lot can change if you just let it happen.
I’m exceptionally excited for 2016 and I hope that your year will also be filled with adventures, travel and the beauty of nature.