Yesterday was a difficult day. Since I’ve been home, I’ve assessed my life situation over and over again. On a couple of occasions, I’ve managed to bring myself to a state of anxiety over where my future will lie. While it seems normal for any young 20-something year old to feel that way, I’m a usually laid-back kind of girl. However, I’ve always been goal-oriented, and have pushed myself to the limit and beyond. Lately, I’ve seemed to lost sight of what I’ve gained from letting myself pursue a lifelong goal of mine: travel the world. Why? Well, for many reasons.
Before I begin, let me start off by saying that I have no regrets about leaving a somewhat stable job right-out-of-school situation to explore the world. For about two years, I’ve lived in Madrid, where I grew to learn more about myself than I had in the five years preceding the move to the Spanish capital. I also explored a lot of California for a few months before I jetted off to live in Europe, meaning that I haven’t lived full-time in my hometown (for more than three months) since 2011.
Do I sometimes think that might have been the wrong choice? Here’s the astounding answer: no.
A lot of people my age are currently settling into somewhat more stable positions in their lives. I’ve seen a lot of people go through some incredible changes – school programs, jobs, even marriages and kids! – whilst, at first, wondering whether I was progressing at the same rate. I’ve since realized that I’ve progressed in my own self-development more than I ever could have imagined those two years ago. I never expected myself to be where I’m at today, to feel so satisfied with my choice to explore the world. I also feel grateful and lucky to be able to go after what I wanted.
Often times, people tell me they wish they travelled for a few years when they were younger. The worst is when people my own age, or younger, tell me they want to do it too, but that they can’t. Instead, they’ve opted for pursuing stable lives, which is also great, in my opinion. Still, I find myself being an example of how some goals – or dreams, as some call them – simply can’t be ignored by those who possess them.
Though I’m currently in a state of limbo – despite studying for an advanced degree – I’ve been ridiculously hard on myself. I’ve wondered how I, a 20-something year old, could live at home with my parents. It’s not something I’m accustomed to anymore, and while a lot of people my age are in the same position, I chose to be here. I chose to leave Madrid, to travel for those two years instead of taking a job here that could have paid for my own place. Many people wouldn’t have done the same thing – in fact, most people don’t. Even though this generation of young adults is being described as the age group with the most freedom to travel, the actual numbers tell a less exaggerated story.
While I’m having to swallow the hard pill of welcome-home-life, I know I’ve had to do it for a reason. My life of travel isn’t over; it never will be. As I type this post, I sit in a Montreal-based hotel, ready for a flight to California. You simply can’t cure a love for exploration. Despite that, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I’m not in Madrid anymore. Although my life is now on a different track, and it can sometimes be less ideal than going off on weekend trips, I’m excited to see what comes next.
Now, though I’m not married with two kids (which, to be clear, I wouldn’t want at my age!), I’m happy with my decisions. I’m happy that I lived in Spain for two years. I’m happy that I’m visiting my favourite (American) state for a little over a month. I’m not delighted about not being completely independent yet, but I know myself as a hard-working, goal-oriented, consistently-curious person. It took an intense desire to travel to pick up and live in Madrid. It was also an intense desire to learn Spanish that took me there.
I’m in Canada now, but later I’m headed to the USA. Travel isn’t just a hobby or habit of mine – it’s what I know. Thus, as I write this out in a somewhat lazy attempt to remind myself of my appreciation for my life, I’m aware that this autumn, things will be different. Let the challenges begin.