Michaela 

Ouimet

Travelling has somehow become the new trend, even though people have been travelling forever? There are hundreds of Instagram accounts depicting bronzed women on white sand beaches, and I’m sure one of your Facebook friends has posted a “Why you should travel in your 20s” article. I know this can seem repetitive in an “everyone’s doing it” sort of way and negative people think its lame to do what everyone else is doing. This would be understandable if we were talking about Uggs or choker necklaces. But we’re talking about real, authentic experiences in different parts of the world. I love seeing the photos of people who just got back from a trip across the globe, and the seemingly endless amount of travel articles shared on social media. Why not be stoked for someone who gets to experience another part of the world? And just be plain old happy for them that they’re getting the chance. I’ve had people ask me about traveling and say things like: “Oh, you went to South East Asia… Let me guess, you got a tattoo, went to a full moon party and destroyed your liver.”

 

Fuck you, yes I did, it was sick.

 

As much as partying was a part of my experience, that’s not all it was. I also met the most unforgettable people, I got to see how different people live in different parts of the world, and it broadened my perspective on pretty much everything. It was a life changing experience that I think about daily, and am continuously astounded that people can look at travelling in anything but a positive way. It is a crazy, incomparable, sometimes overwhelming thing, but I believe that if everyone got to experience it we would all be better off.

 

There are moments that are absolutely surreal –floating in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea surrounded by friends, listening to Catch and Release (Matt Simons/ Deepend) is just one of them for me. I remember thinking, r u srs?! THIS IS MY LIFE? How did I get this lucky? You have these profound moments, like sitting on top of a lime stone cliff under the effects of a magic milkshake, standing in awe in a 700-year-old square, or whatever it is, that stick with you. But there are also low points, where all you want is to be back home in bed. It is not an easy thing. I can think of many missed flights, unbearably hot 14-hour bus rides, and poor sleeping conditions. For me, being stuck in the ICU at a Croatian hospital with no wifi, no means to contact my friends or family, and the possibility of a life threatening condition was probably the worst of the worst. Looking back on it now, even though everything ended up being okay, I think I handled hearing possibly the worst news of my life (really dramatizing this up for you, but that’s how it felt at the time) pretty well. It really was a hard experience that I had to go through almost completely alone (my friends ended up searching the whole ANCIENT hospital the next day until they found me), but everything turned out fine.

 

What I’m trying to say is that although social media tends to make travelling seem like a shallow luxury, it is full of both positives and negatives that make the experience. Something that you wouldn’t necessarily get in, say, the most suburby suburb in Alberta, Canada.

 

While on the other side of the world exploring amazing waterfalls, temples, beaches, and ruins, some of my favourite memories occurred in hostel commons rooms with people I had met that day. It is such a magical thing; to create genuine connections with people that were complete strangers just hours before. I fell in love 17 times a day. You are surrounded by such amazing, like-minded people, its hard not to. I honestly think PEOPLE are the most important part of travelling. I remember thinking how weird it was going to be coming home, not meeting 15 new people a day. I was so used to the “Oh where are you from? How long are you travelling for? Where are you headed next?” conversations, that it was sad to let that go when I had to. You could be looking at one of the most majestic landscapes, but the friends surrounding, the feeling of experiencing something so beautiful together, that’s what you’re going to remember. “Happiness is only real when shared.” Christopher McCandles

 

Living in western society, we are brought up believing that to feel valuable we need to be accomplishing something, whether it be making money, going to university, or whatever. We are conditioned to think that by a certain age we should be at a certain place in life. But there is beauty in not knowing where the next day or even next hour can take you, being so fully immersed in the moment that you’re open to every opportunity. This is what travelling does, it lets you break free from that strict way of thinking and allows you to really experience what is around you. You are no longer bound by a schedule and you are fully able to let anything and everything happen to you. I can’t even tell you how satisfying it is to climb into your hostel bunk at night completely exhausted from the spontaneous adventures you went on earlier that day.

You also begin to appreciate how good we have it here in Canada.  It is so neat that we have the opportunity to trek to different parts of the world and immerse ourselves in different cultures. It is a privilege that I am very grateful for.

 

The “travel bug” is real, its easy to come back and be bored by routine and the predictability of home. I’m not saying that’s bad, I like routine and I like home, I just believe there is so much more out there to see and experience. yOlo amiright

 

Alright, I’m not exactly sure what I’ve accomplished writing this, I just hope I’ve made you slightly more excited for your first, or next, trip.

CHEERS FRIENDS

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