GOING NOMADIC

I remember the moment clearly. I’m fourteen years old. I’ve just started high school, a new and exciting chapter in my life. My best friends’ parents invited me over for dinner and a discussion about our future careers was brought up. My best friend at the time had her entire life planned out. Her parents were financially successful and her journey into the business world was doubtless. Her dream was not only accepted but also encouraged by her family. When it came to talking about my future plans, the conversation hit a bit of a halt. The only dream I had for my future was to travel the world. That was the one thing that I was completely and absolutely sure of. Yet, by conventional standards, that’s not only an irrational dream, but it’s also not something that you can pursue as a full-time goal. The conversation quickly moved on while I sat there realizing that I’d have to give up my dreams to fit into this society whose prominent model for life was encapsulated by a desire for an abundance of wealth, marriage by the age of twenty-six and children by the time you hit thirty. Although this model might sit well with some, I knew it didn’t for me, and that was something I continued to struggle with for the next eight years of my life.

There were numerous times throughout this eight year journey that I tried to make myself settle for the conventional life in the suburbs. The decision to settle down, work an office job in the city paying off a mortgage for a way-too-expensive townhouse in the suburbs, became something I convinced myself I had to do. When the relationship I was in progressed, it seemed like the rational thing to do. But every time I put my overthinking head onto the pillow, I knew that if I went on to pursue this lifestyle, it would be the ultimate form of settling. Every force in my life, from teachers to friends, all didn’t seem to understand the dream I had. “Sure, everyone wants to travel and go on vacations. But what about after? What will you do then?” They didn’t get that there wasn’t an after for me. The only dream I had was to travel and experience all that this world has to offer. To volunteer in Guatemala and teach English in Vietnam. To zipline through the mountainous forests of Western Canada and to sleep on a eighteen hour train through Eastern Europe. Doing the things that forced me out of my comfort zone and completely scared the crap out of me seemed like the ultimate way to discover my purpose in life. I couldn’t and didn’t want to put an end-date on this worldwide journey of mine. Through the countless frustrating conversations and looks of dumbfounded confusion that came my way, I somehow stuck to my fourteen-year-old self’s word.

Ten days ago I stood at Toronto airport, suitcase in hand, saying goodbye to my family. After a year of selling my clothes, furniture, books, and dozens of cluttering things that I never even needed, I was ready to begin my journey into a fully nomadic life. With tears in my eyes I walked towards the security check. Although I felt sadness leaving my family behind, I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I was meant to do. I knew that this next chapter of my life was what I was destined to do. Ten days later, I’m sitting in my staff housing in Canmore, Alberta, living the life of adventure I’ve dreamed of for years, and it feels incredible. I guess what I’m trying to say is to hold onto your dream. No matter how crazy, absurd, or unconventional it may be. No matter what people tell you, whether it a family member, friend, or your partner in crime. If you want something, do everything in your power to make it a reality for yourself. Never settle.

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