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How did I get here?

In the span of the past month, I quit my job, moved out of my apartment in Toronto, and bought a one way ticket to travel the world. I’m writing this on my iPhone, (no checked bags and no laptop) at the gate ready to board, and despite the deep exhaustion I feel of this past months whirlwind, I have this rediscovered excitement for life. I’ve been asking myself, 

how did I get here?

‘19 I had the incredible privilege of doing a semester abroad in Singapore. I was trusting in a knowing that I wanted to get as far away culturally as possible. There was a specific moment from that trip that changed my life

While watching a sunset on a rooftop in Malaysia with a incredibly well travelled new friend, Jasper, he had said something in passing that was particularly resonating.

“When I’m older, I want my grandchildren to be excited to see me for the stories I’ll have to tell, not for the gifts I’ll give them”

After spending the weekend captivated by some of his incredible stories (trading a massive tuna that he had spearfished for a car that he had then driven all over Australia, surviving parasites that laid a couple kilos of eggs in his brain and throughout his body, etc etc), I understood. He was trading the foundation building of his 20’s for adventure, uncertainty, and a global understanding of the world (which maybe is a foundation?). This was a perspective I had known, but hadn’t understood until that moment.

He went on, “Every one of my college mates wanted to go explore the world or travel” he explained. “I went back to visit them 5 years post graduating, and none of them ever left”. 

I felt that sting, that was me, and could continue to be me. There were aspirations I had already given up. I wanted to live life with more play, hope, and pursuit of those dreams. I wanted to keep travelling post graduation. That rooftop conversation changed the trajectory of my life.

One of my Singapore travel buddies Costner and I decided we were taking the leap into a year of travel post graduating. We had our credit cards out to book our flights, and then the nuke dropped, April 2020, Covid. 

Devastating.

It took me a couple months to wrestle with this. I couldn’t give up the dream. But I couldn’t just sit at home waiting to leave. 1) There was no travel 2) When we could travel was unknown, and infinitely far away.

In pursuit of living presently, and in acceptance of the ongoing reality, I decided to make the most of the scenario. This was tough, as starting a full time job, moving into an apartment, and getting into a relationship were all things that planted roots. The more roots, the more distant my dream of travelling became. However, these roots gave me so much life and appreciation. Thank you to you, if you’re reading this.

Jaspers line echoed. There was a comfort I developed that ironically, felt, uncomfortable at this stage of my life.

November ‘21, I text an old colleague, a fellow deadhead, about a upcoming music festival. We ended up on a FaceTime call. 

We had worked together for three months, and apart from a sporadic text, hadn’t spoken in three years. By coincidence, he wanted to take on the Everest base camp trek my cousin Jeremy and I had done in 2019 (remember this, I’ll come back to it), he picked my brain a bit.

January 2022, I check in with Jack. 

Do I wanna come?

February ‘22, something clicked one morning. My girlfriend Aisling, was in Copenhagen for a semester abroad, so we were already long distance. I knew somebody that wanted to go travel. For many, these pieces wouldn’t be enough of a catalyst to make a large life change, but it goes to show, opportunities are there if you’re open to them. 

Within the span of a week, I went from settled, travel a distant dream, to telling my roomate I would be moving out. At this point I hadn’t called Jack since November. I was operating on instinct. Make no mistake, this was impossibly difficult to do. 

Sometimes our gut tell us that somethings right, but we’re held back by the discomfort and risk required to take it on. It’s easy to put it aside, come up with an excuse, and move on. But if you’re not doing it today because of an excuse, tomorrow, next week, and next year, there’ll be more excuses. The time is today.

I’m at the airport early. I’ve been furiously typing this into my notes app on my iPhone. I’m awake off adrenaline and excitement. Tonight I’m off to Denmark to see Aisling. In two weeks I’ll be meeting up with Jack in Morocco.

They just called my boarding number, and seconds later, a song starts playing on the airport radio PA, “Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. The song Jeremy and I would sing over and over… as we trekked up Mount Everest.

Surely change will come, something is special in the air tonight.

Speak soon. 

J