I have 2 more days left in Surfers Paradise before I get on a flight and move to Sydney. This will be the end of my travels for a while as I start my new full-time job in one week’s time. As a result, it feels appropriate to sum up what’s gone on and what I’ve learned since I hoped on a plan to England 4 and a half months ago. It’s funny, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was leaving the airport in Toronto, but it also feels like so much has happened and it’s been ages since I’ve been home.
When people would ask me why I was travelling, I could easily come up with a list of reasons, such as I want to experience something new, bring some excitement to my life, figure out more about myself and who I am as a person, meet new and interesting people and so on and so forth. But there was that one reason that stood out above all of them, a reason that I told my parents and siblings over and again. I wanted to toughen up! I wanted to feel stronger and more independent as a person. I wanted to experience things on my own and start a life from scratch. I wanted to be put in situations that I had to figure out the solution without any help or support from others. I wanted to be taken out of my comfort zone to see how I would react to it. You might be wondering, why would I want that? There are a lot of people that don’t understand and can’t see the value doing something like this…just packing up your life and going. For me, I knew that I would feel sense of accomplishment by the end of it and I’ve been proven right, which has made all of this worth it. By no means do I have all the answers to life and I don’t have everything figured out. However, I have done what I came here to do, which was to prove to myself that I could go off and take a chance like this and be successful in doing it.
As for the valuable lessons I’ve learned, there have been a few. Some, I have had to learn the hard way. But like I said, I wanted to toughen up. For example, always zip your purse up so that your wallet doesn’t get sniped from skilled pick-pocketer’s in London. Also, be sure to always write down the address of your hostel before travelling to a new country just in case you miss the train, lose your friends, have no phone and don’t speak French in Paris. Moreover, you should definitely feel confident in the quality of the shoes that you wear, to lower the risk of tripping on cobble stone while drinking in Amsterdam and break a bone in your foot/ tear a ligament, which ultimately forces you to wear a removable cast for the next 4 weeks. Finally, ALWAYS wear sunscreen in Australia so that you don’t get second degree burns that push you into hibernation in doors for a week requiring constant care of aloe and moisturizer. Yes, all of those things happened to me. While it might sound horrible, it was part of the experience and looking back, I can’t help but laugh about it. That is, with the exception of my wallet being stolen in my first week of travelling. I still find it hard to get humour out of that.
Finally, there’s one lesson that I’ve learned, or rather something that I already knew, but has been confirmed… I’ve gone from seeing the most beautiful gardens and houses over 500 years old in the country side of England to the London Bridge to Westminster Abby. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and I’ve walked the enchanted city of Paris. I went to Tomorrowland one of the most infamous electronic music festivals in the world with decor that was comparable to a fairytale land. I indulged in an authentic Belgium waffle with whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate. I biked across cannels and saw old windmills that were used in the World War 2 and I ate a space cake in Amsterdam just because I’m allowed to, legally. I went out clubbing in Berlin, a city that never sleeps. I saw the Berlin wall and Hitler’s Bunker and buildings that had been bombed in WW 2. I saw the place where German soldiers burned the books of Jewish scholars. I went to the Top of Europe/Jungfraujoch in Switzerland and saw the breath taking mountains from 71,662 ft above sea level. I lazed in the sun on gorgeous beaches of Barcelona and Valencia. I’ve watched the sunrise from the ocean in the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia. I walked to alley ways of Melbourne, Victoria with art and graffiti that enclose all the little cafes and shops and have seen the Sydney Opera house of NSW from afar while walking along the water. Those are just some of the highlights of my trip that have contributed to making this travelling experience extraordinary. It might sound like I’m bragging but I have a point and that is this… I appreciate the beauty in everything I just listed. However, it wasn’t merely the places themselves that moved me, but more so the people that I was with while seeing them. In other words, what really makes a moment stand out are not the places or things but rather the company. It was everything in between that really counted for me.
Anyways, come Monday, I’m leaving a few close friends behind, which is going to be tough, but I’ll see them again. It’s time for me to start getting sorted out, get my two feet on the ground and find some stability. I’m shutting one door and opening another. I’m about to get up close and personal with Sydney. Here we go!