Some people dream of taking a gap-year to travel the world and discover something new about themselves. For Canadian backpacker Kristen, this dream became the ultimate reality when she saved up her money and planned a trip around the world. She’s been blogging abour her adventures on her website Hopscotch the Globe and shares with us what her life has been like since leaving Canada:
In September 2010, I said goodbye to my parents, friends, boyfriend and Canada to set out to explore this wonderful world we live in. Since then, I’ve traveled throughout eleven countries and three continents.
I’ve bathed in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, attempted to make a guard smile in England, explored my spiritual side in India, partied it up in Thailand, hiked through the jungle in Malaysia, had a Singapore sling in Singapore, explored ancient ruins in Cambodia, came face-to-face with a shark in Indonesia, got lost in the medinas in Morocco, flew in a hot air balloon in Turkey and relaxed on the beautiful islands of Greece. In less than two weeks from now, I’ll be boarding my twelfth and last flight in the past nine months. It’s hard to believe that the trip that I have been dreaming about for the past four years has finally come to an end; however, I don’t feel sad about it. In fact, I’m excited to return to Canada.
During this trip, not only have I seen and done many new and interesting things, but I’ve also discovered who I am and what I want in life. Traveling the world to find myself seems cliché, but it wasn’t something I set out to intentionally do. Before I left for this trip, I had a great life back in Canada. I had a great job that I absolutely loved, amazing friends and family, busy social life and a nice pad. I decided to take this long journey because I love to see the world, meet interesting people and learn new things. Nothing could have prepared me for what I actually got out of this trip. At times, I was learning way more than I could take in, and I had many down times as I had ups. I’ve learned a lot about the things that are most important and make me the happiest in life. For me, those things are developing and maintaining great relationships with people, animals and nature, appreciating each and every moment, and never giving up to achieve your dreams.
If I didn’t go on this journey around the world, it’s hard to say if I would have realized all of things I have about myself and what makes me happiest. This is because when you travel for an extended period of time you leave your comfort zone and are in a way faced to start over. You are challenged to find a home in a new foreign place, make new friends and learn new things. You are able to be whoever you want to be, because no one knows about your past. You are able to step back from yourself and learn what type of person you truly are in some of the most extreme situations you will ever be in. It is a life learning experience that should be mandatory for every individual to do at some point of their life and the earlier the better.
Many people are under the assumption that you need to be rich to travel. This is terribly wrong. All you need is the willingness to leave everything you’ve ever known behind for a while to discover the unbelievable beauties that this world has to offer.
Thinking about taking a round the world trip for yourself? Contact one of our Round the World Specialists who would be happy to help you plan the trip of a lifetime!