When I decided to take a year off before starting university, I had no idea that it would take me through the incredible journey that I’ve been on for the past 14 months. I could never have imagined that that one single decision would lead me to all the amazing things that I’ve experienced, all the people I’ve met.
I find it hard to look back on the time I spent in Asia, especially lately because within a couple weeks time it will be one year since I made my way to the airport, thinking I must be absolutely insane to join a bunch of strangers and travel to third world countries with them. And I know that the 3 months following this anniversary the thought of ‘Last year this time I was ….’ will be inevitably in the back of mind. I can already feel the weight of nostalgia on my heart.
I’m still trying to find the balance between remembering and consigning the memories to somewhere deep in my heart. Regardless, thoughts of my travels come and go throughout each and every day. Thoughts of falling in love so many different times, of poetry found in the mountains, oceans and people, of eyes I’ve stared into, of souls I’ve fallen into, of stories heard, of hearts touched. Each day was truly so divine and enriching. It honestly feels like it was just a dream. There’s no way any of that was real, right?
On top of the travelling I was so very fortunate to do, over the past year so many other things have changed for me. I’ve made so many new friends, lost some old ones. I’ve started two new jobs, started learning another language (all at the same time). I’ve gained a monetary debt I didn’t ever plan to have and I have worked hard to pay it off. I’ve pushed myself to limits, yet I’ve taken the time to stop and smell the flowers. I’ve weighed more than I ever have…and then lost it. I’ve had the worst haircuts (that’s right, multiple) of my entire life and am finally ending up with hair that is extremely healthy; and now I really appreciate my hair. I can now touch my toes. I’ve lost a lot of sleep, and have gained an appreciation for the opportunities to go to bed early. I’ve been the happiest and the saddest I’ve ever been, and realized how important it is to have a positive outlook and attitude. I’ve become a gardener; I’ve done a lot of ‘weeding’, and have ‘planted’ a lot of ‘seeds’. I’ve done so many things to purify the state of my body, my temple. I’ve been inspired, and shown a lot of love. I’ve been discouraged. I’ve cried tears of many different kinds. I think I’ve brightened days. I’ve learned the art of patience, of standing by and surrendering to the universe. I’ve learned to have faith. I’ve seen God in ways I haven’t before, I’ve seen God in myself. I’ve been to a wedding. I’ve gained an awful shopping addiction. I’ve been touched deeply by so many. I’ve healed. I’ve worked hard and experienced the payoff. I’ve experienced generosity. I’ve stayed up all night and then worked all day. I’ve felt new kinds of love and I’ve surprised myself with the amount of love that I am capable of. I’ve found pleasure in simple things. I’ve gained faith in karma, and belief in the possibility of reincarnation. I’ve gained insight, and maybe even wisdom. I’ve become even more independent. I’ve gained a true sense of the beginning of inner peace. I’ve learnt to prioritize, and gained an appreciated for time spent alone. I’ve remained vegetarian, and realized the importance of caring for the world that we live in. I’ve really become a glass-half-full kind of girl. I’ve read and I’ve wrote. I think most importantly though, I’ve attained gratitude.
I have done such an enormous amount in this one year. Yet, I’m about to step into the next chapter of my life where I’m supposed to change and grow a substantial amount.
What could this next chapter possibly hold that this past year hasn’t?
Last fall I had decided that I was going to take another year off after this one, then decided that I wasn’t going to go to school at all, and now here I am about to into Anthropology at the University of Calgary…and I’m surprising myself with the excitement I have! I have learnt so much more over this year not in school, I have no idea how university is going to compare. I don’t really know what to expect or where I’ll end up though all of this. But I know that I am so excited to learn. That’s always what I seem to be doing, one way or another. Maybe some structure with that might do me some good; especially when I’m choosing what classes, what I’m interested in what I’m learning and what schedule suits me.
Thank you to each and every single person who made this past year what it was, from my little sister in Tibet, to the friends that became family while backpacking , to the wonderful people who became my friends during my incredible summer job, and every single in between. It’s thanks to all of you that I’ve experienced, grown, laughed, learnt, and loved.
“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”
-Tracee Ellis Ross