DL: Are you going to have a hashtag?
Me: *wrinkles nose* No… too much work
DL: Oh come on, you have to! How else will we follow your travels?
Me: No. Too lazy
And that, my friends, is how #onelifechangingyear came to be. My dear friend DL planted this seed in my head that stayed with me for weeks until I came up with the perfect hashtag. A hashtag that had yet to be claimed and a name that is reflective of my upcoming adventures.
It will indeed be one life changing year as I spend my time travelling around Asia. Living overseas to experience life outside of Canada was the original dream, but it has now evolved into perpetual travel. Well, just for a year or so.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
I must have come across Les Brown’s famous words at a young age because I have been dreaming without boundaries for as long as I can remember. And I’m lucky to have parents who are supportive of my nontypical thinking. As a child, I’d share my crazy ideas with my dad, to which he said “You can do whatever it takes to make you happy as long as you try. If you don’t, then you’re squandering the privilege you have by being born in Canada and wasting your potential. So just try, it’s ok. But FIRST, get a proper education and build a good career. You need financial stability because, without that, you have limited choices. Everything else, do it on the side but focus on those two things”.
So I took his advice
I followed societal norms and expectations to a T, studied like there was no tomorrow and got my designation. But the whole time, I had this romantic notion of living in Aussie for a year. And it was very much within my reach, especially since my designation is recognized in Australia.
Did everything as expected
Lived life by the script and worked like a maniac while studying during almost every free time that I had.
One day, some day, I told myself. I quietly went back to my usual routine while intermittently reminding myself of my dream.
One day… someday.
Over time, that some day became the day after I finish my studies.
When I completed my studies, it became the day after I work a few more years to build up my resume.
But then I had issues as a tenant and needed stability in my life
I was tired of living a transient life where I bought furniture based on ease of reselling (Hi Ikea) when it came time to move. Because I moved around a lot in that period in my life. Eight times to be exact, in less than a decade.
I’ll never forget the first day in my home. Finally, a physical place to call mine! I was so happy and so excited that I ignored that lingering voice inside my head as I lay on the ground of my empty condo. What about your dream? What does this mean for your dream?
I brushed it aside and continued with my life. What’s meant to be will find a way. That was my excuse.
But then I cracked over time…
On the outside, my life couldn’t seem more flawless. But on the inside, I was losing my identity and could barely recognize myself. My life seemed so perfect, but I didn’t want perfection. I wanted to be free, to feel free. I wanted what I had always wanted. Just a short period in my life to wander, explore, learn and feel small in this magnificent universe. You know that feeling when you watch the waves crash in a hypnotic flow? Or when you look up into the sky and see a gazillion twinkling stars? And when you start to think of the age of each star, you realize how insignificant you are? Yeah… that feeling. That’s what I call feeling small. It’s the most powerful and humbling feeling in the world. That is what I love most. That is when I feel alive.
But instead, I was following what others expected of me. It’s not even their dream, just their expectations.
For more than a year, I woke up every day with one thought; my life is not my own.
Travelling was my wake up call from the autopilot life
Gary and I booked an impromptu trip to Iceland with some friends. It was very last minute, and I had no expectations at all about the mini vacation. What I didn’t realize was how alive I felt throughout the trip. Was it from seeing the magical Northern Lights for the first time? Was it because I was in one of the most beautiful countries in the world? I don’t know what it was; all I remember was crying my eyes out while listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast on my way home from Iceland. I knew something in my life needed to change. And I needed to take action because I was miserable.
That thought was the beginning of the journey of pursuing my dream.
Up until this point, I had done everything that others have expected of me. Made my job happy, made my parents proud. But just this once, just this year, I want to do something that makes me super duper happy. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just one year.
What is your dream?
As I slowly opened up to people about my dream (or my One Life Changing Year Project, as I now call it), I had an array of responses, ranging from “You’re crazy” to “I admire you.” What stood out to me is the number of people who shared their deepest dreams and what holds them back from chasing after what they want in their heart.
Most of the time, it is fear that prevents them from chasing after their dream
Fear of failure, fear of what other people will think of them, fear of not knowing where to start.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t stop dreaming. If it warms your heart and the thought of it puts a smile on your face, take my father’s advice.
Try. Just try.
Read next: One Way Ticket To…
If you want to read about my monthly highlights where I share my thoughts about the nomadic life, you can find all posts here.
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Inspiring! Our family has taken a leap of faith as well, being full time RVers now, traveling the country. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us all that living outside the norm is so much better for our souls!
That is so amazing! I will make sure to visit your blog and follow your journeys 🙂 I’m sure there are some similar things we share being full time travellers 🙂
First of all..that photo of you and Gary! Wow! If that doesnt make you to discover and explore more then I dont know what can!
I am glad that you finally listen to your inner voice of following your dream to travel! And it was a very good idea to have a solid education and working experiences beforw jumping into the wild world! Good luck with your travels and enjoy!❤️
Thanks so much! That photo was taken with a point and shoot (crazy huh?) and it definitely lit a fire under my bum to go back to buying a proper camera! Hopefully, I’ll be able to take better photos during my travels.
That’s a great idea! I had never thought of creating a hashtag! Definitely an interesting idea for those who really want to follow our journeys 🙂
Thanks, Sam. Credit goes to my friend who egged me on to create one 🙂
Keep shoot to the moon girl! Your story is so inspiring.
Happy travels! !
Thanks girl 🙂
Jamil Ahmed says
Very inspiring. I was not able to make any plan for the last 2 years even outside my city. Just busy with working. But, I think its time to take a break and travel for someday. Thanks.
It will happen when it will happen. Everyone has their own time 🙂
HUNG THAI says
Dreaming is free 🙂 Trying is free (sometimes). But living your dream… well, that’s worth everything.
Indeed it is 🙂 I cannot wait to follow your journeys as you launch your dream!
I believe it wasn’t easy in the beginning. But eventually you will.. Keep on pursuing as I am pursuing mine, too. 🙂
Yay, dreamers unite! I’m curious about your dream now 🙂
Exploring Curiously says
I love your writing style! I work full time & am able to travel quite a bit as I have a lot of time off. But I am very close to quitting my job in June and traveling for a year. I find myself seeking out blogs of others who have done the same. Maybe you wrote about it, but I haven’t found it yet: Did you sell your condo, rent it, or something else? What about your adorable dog? I look forward to reading more of your posts!
Thank you so much for the kind words! I haven’t written about it, but I can share here what I did with my condo. I rented it out and left my dog with my parents. She’s forgotten about me by now as my parents spoil her with timbits (aka donut holes) and food! I hope my blog helps you with your journey prep and if you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂
Exploring Curiously says
Thank you! Those are the same things I am thinking I will do with my condo & pets. I might take you up on your offer of asking questions.
No problem! Good luck on your travel journey! 2018 will be exciting for you!
James Ahlan says
I have read your blogs and I understand where you are coming from. Kudos for your drive to explore Asia for a year. Our son did a similar journey, from Canada to Nepal visiting the Asia-Pacific countries along the way. He took a year off to travel across these places before starting his postgraduate education. I will leave you with two quotes: 1) Travelling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. It offers you a hundred roads to adventure, and gives your heart wings” – Ibn Battuta (1304-1639). 2) Photography – It remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything” – Aaron Siskind (1903-1991). On these terms, you are doing fine with your blogs and your images. Remember, first and foremost, that you are travelling for your memories. Take notes and make images along the way. To your better half Gary, I would say: “Go with the flow. You’ll not regret this adventure”.
Hi James, thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement! That is so cool that your son had the chance to travel for a year at a young age before he began his studies!
I love those quotes and I agree about travelling for the memories. I also think travel helps to open one’s perspective and mind as well 🙂