Where does one begin? As my departure date looms a mere three days away, and I find myself embracing friends in sad goodbyes accompanied by well wishes and promises to meet up abroad, I can’t help but find myself reflecting on the kindness of the people in my life. I am completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of support lately from friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers. Nearly everyone I talk to about my upcoming journey has gone out of their way to lend a hand in some way. I am in absolute awe of the generosity, kindness and helpfulness of all of these wonderful people. I posted the other week about the darker side of this coin- those who tell me I’m crazy, and offer no support at all, but instead tear my dreams down and shake their head at me. It’s time to turn the focus on the positive because it is far outweighing the negative.
This experience is showing me how beloved and universal traveling is. It is showing me how intensely proud we are of not only our homes, but of the lands we’ve traveled to, explored and experienced – the lands our feet have achingly walked; the lands our mouths have ravenously tasted; the lands our ears have heard through the strange melody of their language; the lands our noses have wrinkled at in distaste one second and intoxication the next; the lands our eyes have greedily drunk in, at last, not from a screen or a book, but in the flesh. Yes we are proud of our homes, but the traveler is just as proud of where they have been and what they have seen, for when they travel, travel becomes their home. They say that we leave a piece of ourselves everywhere we travel, and I believe it’s true; I can see it in the passion and fervor people share with me as soon as the topic of travel comes up.
Whenever I talk to someone, the topic of my own journey comes up quickly, and immediately they share in my excitement with me. They eagerly express their curiosity and ask me questions, excitedly share their own ambitions and dreams, and smile- eyes aglow with elation. Each time I have one of these encounters it acts as a catalyst, reigniting my own passions and excitement. I think in all the frenzy- the packing, the planning and the research- I sometimes get caught up in the logistics and forget to just be wildly, wholeheartedly excited. These beautiful encounters with these beautiful souls are a gentle reminder to myself to enjoy the fruits of my labour, let the stress of the planning slide away and just revel in the anticipation and excitement of my upcoming adventure. I cannot thank you all enough for being there for me, to help remind me to just enjoy it. Thank you for sharing in my excitement. Thank you for offering your help- whether it’s kind words of encouragement, a place to stay, a contact in another country, or tips on travel- the kindness has come in so many forms, too many to list- but I’m going to try it anyway.
Thank you to Allison who, along with being greatly excited and happy for me, brought me a few travel essentials of her own (amazing laundry soap tabs, that I couldn’t find anywhere!) and donated them to me and my journey.
Thank you to Geraldine from work who has been sure to pass on her daughters information in Scotland and offered me a place to stay during my travels through this beautiful country.
Thank you to Cailan who made time for me in her hectic schedule over the holidays while home visiting family (after being abroad in Egypt) to meet me for lunch and tell me all about her time in Guatemala and Egypt, and then offered me a place to stay if I come through Sweden, her next destination (which I most certainly will now!).
Thank you to Snorre (my penpal from when we were 11 years old, and I’ve yet to meet in person!) and his family for offering me a place to stay in Norway and connecting me with friends across the country so I have people to connect with as I travel around this enchanting land.
Thank you to Hash for connecting me with his cousin Desh in London so I have a contact and someone to show me rocking good time in this big city.
Thank you to Shirley from work for sending me the beautiful pictures of Xitang, China (Water Town) from her visit home this past summer, and inspiring me to travel here when it was not previously on my radar. Thank you for offering your cousins information as a contact, friend and guide while I am in that area.
Thank you to Greg Brown for meeting Anthony and I on his day off over lunch to tell us about his travels to South America and in particular Chile, where he has been ten times! He offered a wealth of knowledge for us newbies to the area and will make our time traveling in Chile much easier.
Thank you to Seb who has helped me get my technology in order and supplied me with a massive amount of new music, movies and books for my journey (thanks to Kate and Deus who also unknowingly contributed!)
Thank you to Rob for getting me in contact with his cousin who traveled around Central America recently, and thank you to said cousin for emailing me with an abundance of information and recommendations.
Thank you to Yves, a man I met once in a park 6 (?) years ago and exchanged a few hours of conversation with, for offering up his couch to me when I pass through Luxembourg.
Thank you to Darin who contacted his Aunt in Norway and asked her if she could host me when I wander through Scandinavia, which she so generously agreed to.
Thank you to my amazing work, the City of Yellowknife, for making me feel like I had a second home, and sending me off in style with a heartwarming (and hilarious!) farewell. Thank you to my boss Clem, who over two and a half years instilled in me such a confidence in my own abilities and self, and for being supportive and understanding of my decision to leave, and reminding me that I always have a place within the organization (if) when I return.
Thank you to all my incredible friends who have been excited and supportive of me since day one of this wild journey I decided to embark upon. Thank you for your kind words, your encouragement, your excitement, and a big thank you to those who decided on the spot to come and meet me somewhere along the journey (Mike-Turkey, Jordan and Namibia are going to rock our world! Maddie- India will be the experience of a lifetime, I’m so happy we get to share it together! Molly- I’m holding you to Thailand! Anthony- can’t wait to get lost with you all over South America!).
Thank you to my beautiful family for your support – I know I’m scaring the living hell out of you by embarking on this journey alone (good thing dad is almost bald already, as I’m sure he’d lose a lot of hair over this!), so I appreciate your support by helping me to get ready (letting me move back home, storing my things, helping with garage sales and moving, and ensuring I’m as safe as can be!).
Thank you to Nicole at CIBC for not only helping me get my banking affairs in order (and saving me some serious money with bank fees!), but going above and beyond by getting me the most excited I have been yet to date to talk about this journey. Thank you for your insatiable curiosity and million questions about my trip- I adore talking about it! Thank you for your interest in my blog and you eagerness to share it with everyone you know- words cannot express my appreciation for this brief hour long encounter and how much it meant to me. This was the first time Nicole and I had met, but she felt like an old friend the way we excitedly chatted about our dreams and bucket lists (perhaps I’ll see you in Thailand one day!).
Thank you to Miranda, my one time hygienist at Great Slave Dental. She eagerly shared some of her own experiences traveling in South East Asia during my appointment and then went out of her way afterwards to print off some information a friend of hers had given her about her time in Vietnam. Fast forward a few months and Miranda has moved to the states and I have a new hygienist. As I’m leaving the clinic my new hygienist hands me an envelope that was tucked into my file – an unexpected letter form Miranda. With a lovely hand written note, she wished me well on my journey and said she had enclosed some information from emails she had sent home during her time traveling in South East Asia. I made contact with her to thank her and she extended a further invite to stay with her if I ever swing through the southern states. Such generosity!
As I walked back to work from the dentist, I beamed from ear to ear, marveling at the kindness and thoughtfulness of these people, some of whom I had only met on a chance, one-time brief encounter. How blessed I am to already have so many wonderful people in my life, and to meet suddenly so many new, generous, kind and helpful people so soon before my journey. I truly cannot find the words to express how overwhelmed with gratitude I feel; how fortuitous I am to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
Surely I’ve forgotten a few, but please know that your generosity has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
And so, quite simply, thank you.