I’m not getting any younger.
And I have no intention to insult you.
I’m turning 28.
When I was 16 years old, I wouldn’t have had a clue I’d end up being in an English relationship.
If I had known, I might have paid attention in English classes.
When I decided to move to Montreal at 17 years old to study, I had no clue this would only be the beginning.
I learned how to live away from my family. I learned that I was able to count on myself, that I wasn’t always making the best decisions but I was only a kid, wasn’t I?
When I got my first passport, I had no idea what would happen, if I would like it or not, if I would be safe, if I would make it without running out of money.
All these risks led me on this path.
The one-month trip became too short. So was the two-month trip. Now, I’m about to hit my third year anniversary on the 6th of June.
Of course, I visited home at some point. Twice to be exact. My craving for poutine and Tim Horton always win. Of course, my family does too!
Who would have thought I could become closer to them by being further away most of the time?
When I packed my stuff that June, 6th 2014, I was only hoping I would be able to practice my English skills in the marvelous Canadian Rockies. I had a simple dream.
I didn’t know what was waiting for me. Life had bigger plans. Adventures were calling my name loudly… somewhere between the mountains and the vitamin sea.
Since then, I’ve found myself traveling to 20 something new countries. I fell in love. I got a tan. And I briefly returned. And more importantly, I’m still out there.
Who would have thought I would have become a dairy farmer, a fundraiser or even a digital nomad? Add an English bonus on top of that.
I wasn’t expecting to become a travel writer when I spent so much money studying to be a social worker. I guess life does its job. It surprises us when we don’t expect it and sometimes it goes beyond expectations.
But I wasn’t all that wrong. When I was just 15 years old, I was passing my first interview. I was seeking that very first job in the all too popular Mcdonald’s. The lady who interviewed me asked me what I’d like to do later on in my life.
The younger version of me was surely wise.
“I want to do something I like, something I love.”
“As long as I do what I like, I should be happy, right?”
Many years later, I sometimes surprise myself complaining. I can be jetlagged, hungry or impatient. My lifestyle isn’t perfect. I feel exhausted most of the time. But, I could probably blame the fact that I’m not getting any younger. I might not have the hidden energy of an 18 year old fit young woman – but I do what I like, what I love most of the time.
Some of you call it a dream.
Some of us call it a life.
I’d prefer to call it: living.
I’m turning 28. I’m okay-healthy. (Tim Horton distracted me last time I visited Canada, sorry about that!)
Perhaps, I missed the 10-year-later-reunion last year. Perhaps, I wouldn’t be able to pay a cash up-front deposit on a house and most than likely I’ll never have a family of my own… and it’s okay.
This wasn’t meant to be.
I was made to follow an unusual path of mysteries, last minute deals, and craziness.
I may or may not be saving for a retirement plan but I sure will have no regrets at the end of it all. Let’s face it; you could work and save your whole life and never even make it to retirement… or to your dream trip you might not even get to go on. Seize the day, they said.
I might be missing out on “the real life” but believe me I feel more than alive.
I’m turning 28. And I might be on the decline of the shiny-gorgeous-25-ish-golden-age…. But I would not even dare to ask for more.
If I close my eyes today, I’ll happily remember these long drives in the Australian Outback when I was living in a van. I’d smile thinking of these incredible rice fields and the happiest Filipinos out there. And I’d sigh hearing the mountains calling my name over and over.
They say it’s just the beginning.
I’m not a happy house owner. I don’t even own a car anymore.
I don’t possess. (Whatever I still have, fits in a backpack or two.)
To many more years of dreams, adventures, and love.
Happy 28th Birthday Mel.