It occurred to me the other day that my travels have created a pattern: In 2005 I lived in Australia for a year and travelled through New Zealand and Southeast Asia. In 2010 I lived in Zanzibar for 3 months then backpacked throughout Europe for another 3 months. And here Peter and I are in 2015 travelling through Central and South America.
Apparently every 5 years I get the itch to travel. Where will I end up in 2020 I wondered? Backpacking through Africa? Maybe Eastern Europe? Or perhaps I’ll choose to stay close to home, buy a van and drive across Canada and the US?
From a young age I grew up hearing travel stories from both my parents and my grandparents. My parents - the generation of lucky people who got to live through the hippy era travelled together in their mid-20’s. After having my two brothers and myself they didn’t stop, even as young kids I remember trips down to Mexico, Venezuela and through the US.
My grandfather himself was a travel writer. He wrote a column in the Toronto Sun telling his stories of travelling around the world. I remember Sunday dinners at my grandparents sitting around a slide projector listening to story after story as they flicked through their black and white photos.
I am so grateful for my upbringing, without it I’m not sure if I would have seen or experienced what I have. In the same breath I believe anyone has the ability to travel if they truly want to. I’ve often been told how lucky I am that I get to travel but the truth is it’s not luck. I’ve travelled because I made the choice to do so, and the choice is always a risk. Leaving a great job, a beautiful home with close friends and family to travel and not know what I will return to is a huge risk. It is a risk, but in my mind a risk worth taking.
So take a minute, look inside yourself and your life. What do you keep saying you want to see or do but are making excuses for? What are the risks that you aren't taking that could change your life? When my grandfather passed we had a table of his passports at the funeral. Each one was filled with stamps, memories of all the places he has been. My goal is to fill my passports as well, each stamp like a tattoo: permanent, each one with a story to tell.