When stringing together all the pieces of my life, seeing how each and every little thing unfolded, and knowing that all of those things (painful or not) brought me to the very place I am today, I find myself questioning if it was all for something, or just a series of scattered coincidences? How did this string, holding together the major events and memories of my life, contribute to the person I am today? Was every failure, disappointment, struggle, broken heart, and insecurity part of life’s important teachings? On the contrary, was every success, achievement, full heart, confidence booster, and nuggets of wisdom, a counter act to balance me out? Did all these things help me grasp and understand the world around me, and more importantly, how I fit into it?
The human experience is a subject that has interested me since I was a kid. I started asking my Mom and Dad about Nature verses Nurture debate around the age of 10. For those of you who need a reminder, this is the study on whether our genetics or environment influences us most in regards to who we become as a person. I wondered why some people were talented musicians, others not so much. I wondered why some people could learn to play sports quite naturally and easily, while others struggled. I wondered if I was born as a social and outgoing person, or could I have just as easily been introverted and shy.
Being an observer of human behaviour came quite naturally to me. My curious mind enticed me to ask questions around this. I’ve been writing things down in a journal since I was eight. In University, I constantly talked to my housemates about ideas, thoughts and reflections that I wrote down about our experience there. They used to say, “Cat, one day you’re going to write a book.” Well, who knows if that will ever happen, but I suppose creating this blog space was a way for me to unload and express different things. While the focus is (of course) around travel and living a nomadic lifestyle, the essence of my life seemingly comes out of those stories anyways. I enjoy doing it, and I hope those who read it can get something out of my posts as well, even it’s merely saying, “Yep! I’ve been there.” Or maybe you find it valuable solely for tips and information. Either way, I write it for myself, and for my readers.
I believe that our profound transformations and life changing experiences, say a “Eureka” moment, can only really happen through our own experience. In other words, gaining understanding and clarity around something that feels really important to you, something that might have confused you in the past, or put pressure on you in some way, cannot be told or explained by someone else, but rather experienced through you. However, there are many leaders and mentors who can help lead the way, but if you solely rely on others support, it becomes empty inspirational words that lead to dead ends, inaction and no results.
At times, I myself can get caught up in reading personal development books, and stories of other people’s success, without doing anything about my own life. That being said, there are a few particular authors who supported me through some confusing times. For a whole $14.99, I was able to read pages upon pages of their wisdom. Essentially, it’s like having a life coach or psychologist for a much better price. Not to mention, it can give us the kick-start we need and the tools on how to do it. Really, I can thank my older siblings for introducing me to some of the books that I call, “game changers” in my life. These books seemed to find me when I was ready, and needing them most. By that I mean, the reality in the book, felt like the same reality I was in, and so had a much bigger impact.
For example, when I was 18, I faced some personal dramas that lead me to read, ‘The Mastery of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz, which talks about our beliefs around relationships. At the age of 22, I went to the Amazon jungle with my brother for an Ayahuasca retreat. That’s a whole other story, but afterwards I read ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, a fictional book with numerous important lessons, but mostly about following your dreams. When I was 24, I worked in a demanding corporate job in Toronto, where I became suffocated by the lifestyle and daunting cycle of working hard in something that felt mundane, to earn just enough money to cover bills and buy a few material possessions. That’s when I found ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle,’ a book about shifting human consciousness to add more meaning in our lives. When I was 26, I was living in Sydney, Australia, hoping to make a drastic lifestyle change where Jack and I could save up enough money to travel indefinitely and sell all of our personal possessions. That’s when I found, Stephen Covey’s, ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ a self-help book that offers invaluable advice on how to make things happen from an ethical and moral high ground. When I was 27, I was exploring the possibility of monetising my travel blog, that’s when my brother recommended, ‘The 4-hour work week’ by Tim Ferris. Tim explores a new way of thinking around how we work, and assumptions we’ve taken on without question. He validated some of the things I’d been feeling for some time. Additionally, he offers a useful step-by-step guide on how to change your circumstances. These authors had an impact on my life, strangers or not, I’m grateful for it.
Now, I find myself in Java, Indonesia. I just celebrated my 29th birthday. We’ve travelled to 10 countries since leaving Sydney and are still going. Curious Wanderer is making some progress, and Jack and I are feeling effortlessly content, enjoying each day as it comes. If that string of events is what needed to happen to get me here today, then something tells me it wasn’t just a series of scattered coincidences. More and more, I’m finding ways to understand the world we live in, but most importantly I’m finding ways of how I fit into it. As cliché as it sounds, it’s all part of the journey. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.”
Thanks for reading!