Now that my departure date is looming near, I’ve become more and more vocal with friends, family, co-workers and even strangers about my upcoming adventure. I eagerly tell people about my plans when they ask because I’m beyond excited about the fact that I’m actually following my dreams. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Them- “Oh, you’re leaving Yellowknife? Where are you going?”
Me- “I’m going traveling!”
Them- “Oh how exciting, where?”
Me- “The world!”
The conversation then goes either one of two ways:
1- They are extremely excited for me, express their deepest envy and tell me how they wish they were brave enough/had enough money/weren’t tied down etc. to do the same.
2- They tell me I’m crazy. Straight up.
I’ve come to expect these reactions from people now, but the latter still bothers me. I’m traveling the world. I’m following my dreams of exploring and writing. I’ve worked my ass off to save money and prepare for this adventure so that I can live the life I have always dreamed of, and here you are, with the audacity to tell me I’m crazy? I understand that some people are just concerned and think that the world is this big, bad evil place and we should never leave the safe comforts of Canada, (unless on a safe and overpriced all inclusive vacation to some tropical island where you don’t really even experience another culture, but simply immerse yourself in a westernized version of the ‘exotic’) but that doesn’t mean you should condemn another person’s dreams simply because they don’t align with your own. Some people try to be polite about it and express some concern for my safety as a solo female traveler, and then an even greater concern when I tell them of the countries I plan to visit- alone. Others are out right rude and insulting when they say things like “you will get raped if you go to that country without a man” or “you will be harassed all the time because of how you look/because you’re a woman/because you’re blonde/because you’re alone etc.”. Or this classic line:” I would never let my daughter do that”.
I appreciate your concern – I do. But I’m a big girl and a smart one at that. I take safety seriously, I trust my gut, I have a solid grasp on common sense, and I do my research and respect other cultures and customs. Most of the people who make these remarks don’t know me very well, so they jump to the assumption that I’m just a helpless damsel in distress, which is both frustrating and a reminder that sexism thrives today here in Canada (yes, most of these remarks are from men). When someone tells you that they are following their dreams, even if you think it’s crazy, maybe you should congratulate them first instead of looking down your nose at them, tutting? Just a suggestion.
And for those who share the wild excitement with me, thank you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. It’s wonderfully heartwarming to be able to share my dreams with another person, and to have them validated when I see their eyes light up with excitement, to have them tell me I’m brave and courageous and adventurous. But even better is when I tell someone and they insist on meeting me somewhere along the way. And best of all? Those who say I’ve now inspired them to think about doing the same – nothing could make my heart soar more than to hear that I’ve helped inspire someone to follow their dreams.
If you choose to travel the world, trust me when I say you will encounter those who envy you, those who are jealous of you, and those who think you’re absolutely crazy and will actually try to talk you out of it.
Ah, but then?
Then you will encounter so many more who will share and revel in your excitement, thus reigniting your own passion – validating that you did the right thing. For how can following your dreams ever be wrong?
After all… “we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”
Do not let those with doubt in their hearts and minds bring you down and deter you from your dreams, for they are the people who will nest down in one place and never explore, purely out of fear. They are not the free soaring spirits that we are- they have no wanderlust – they are content to stay in one place. But not you. Not I. We are the wanderers, the vagabonds, the nomads. We cannot stay in one place, but yearn to see the world and all its wonders.
And so, let nothing and no one stop you from following your dreams.