What is the most life changing experience you’ve had?
I would have to say that deciding to travel was the moment when everything changed. I used to travel for short periods of time; in the summer and whatnot. However, now that I’ve decided to spend my life abroad, the amount of new experiences, cultures, and lessons to be learned are unfathomable.
What does “home” mean to you?
Home is my one black suitcase and my backpack, and enclosed are the core essentials I need to continue traveling.
How do you think you fit into the world?
I think maybe I don’t fit into the world, and that might be why I decided to jump from place to place instead of growing roots in a specific city.
What is the significance of travelling for you?
Traveling has a different significance for everyone; it’s very subjective. My idea of traveling is spending enough time in a country to learn about the culture and the people, politics and history. Depending on how involved you are, this could take from 5 months to a few years. Then it’s time to move on.
What have you learned about yourself while travelling?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that I can be pushed completely out of my comfort zone, and believe it or not, it becomes addicting. Arriving to a new place with no idea what to do or where to go; that used to scare me. Now I live for it. I’ve also learned that the saying “if you truly want something, you can achieve it” holds true as a cliché for a reason: because it really is possible.
How do you think you are seen in the world?
I think people in general have a hard time understanding my choices. We’re all so driven to save money for when we get old, that we miss out on our young lives and arrive at year 80 full of regret. I’m happy that I’ve decided to live in the moment, because I can choose to change my life and do different things whenever I want to. In a sense, it’s like time travel. When I’m too old to do any of this, I won’t be able to change the past. In essence, it just doesn’t click with people. Questions like, “What will you do when you’re older? When will you start to save money? Do you think you’ll eventually decide to live a normal life? What about a career?” are the type that I receive on a daily basis. And the people who ask me those questions should be ashamed of themselves. Snap out of it, the definition of an accomplished life is solely my decision. I’d rather have a sea of memories than a business card which gives my existence a certain status.
How does this compare to how you would like to be seen?
I don’t care enough about how people see me to have an image of how I would like to be seen. People can create their own idea of me, and then sit on it.
What do you want from life?
I want to feel fulfilled, and I don’t think anything back home with ever scratch the surface of what that’s supposed to feel like.
Two years ago from now where did you think you would be? How does that differ from where you are now?
Oh wow, my predictions were completely different. I thought I would be well engrained into the film industry back in Toronto, working towards directing my own films. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’m in Colombia, learning Spanish, learning how to dance, teaching English and planning my future ventures.
Where do you think you will be in another year?
That’s the beauty of it. I have no idea, because I can pack my bags and go wherever I want, look for a job at a school, and start over again. I’m thinking maybe Brazil because I’d like to learn Portuguese and Samba.
What do you think it means to be kind to yourself? How does this compare to how we are kind to others?
Sometimes you have to be selfish. Do what makes you smile. I can’t travel with anyone else because I’m too selfish about my own journey, and I want to go wherever I choose to. I guess in comparison that would sound like I’m not very kind to others, but in the end we always put ourselves first and foremost. Some people are kind to others because it makes them feel better about themselves. It makes them feel happy. There’s nothing wrong with that.
What is the hardest emotion for you? Why?
At this moment, it’s hard for me to develop romantic relationships with people. Traveling like this has its drawbacks. People see me as a passenger, only temporarily passing through, and that stops them from wanting to get emotionally involved with me. I can’t blame them, because saying goodbye is gut wrenching. But like I said before, we are all so obsessed with the future and we over think it so much that nothing commences in the first place.
What words of wisdom do you live by? Why?
There’s an excellent quote that I read from Paulo Coelho which quite simply summarizes the way I think, and you’ll understand why when you read it:
“The Other is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money a possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it’s too late.”
What are your values?
Respect is of highest importance to me. I never ask to receive more respect than I give, however I think it’s fair to ask for an equal amount. For some reason, such a simple request frankly doesn’t make sense to most people.
What about yourself/your life are you most proud of?
I think I’m most proud of the fact that I eventually put my foot down and decided to pack up and leave my hometown. I always dreamed of doing it, as most people do, but to take the leap and actually leave was something I will always remember as one of the highest points in my life. I constantly hear “I wish I could do the same thing” from people I talk to. They always end up with excuses like their work, their apartment, their car, their cat. I left my work, my studies, my job, my apartment, my car, and all of my belongings. So if you have the balls, nothing will stop you.
Do you have any regrets? What and why?
Believe it or not, my only regret is that I am 23 years old and I STILL wish I had started doing this sooner. That’s how much there is to see out there. I know I will not be able to see the whole world at my own pace, and that breaks my heart. But I’m cramming the most into this life I have before I expire.
Do you think you’re someone others can look up to?
I hope people do look up to me. Traveling is not easy either. Your heart will shatter, your friendships will disappear, you’ll constantly fight the “I want to live here forever” voice that’s smashing your brain with a hammer, and many, many tears will be shed. But when you look past all of that, you realize that traveling will teach you things that no university will ever teach you. It teaches you about yourself. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to die confidently knowing that I’m aware of who I am. That’s a satisfying life. Your marketing position and your international business degree doesn’t mean shit to me.