Travelling teaches you the appreciation of home…

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“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

So in my blog I have written about what travelling has done for me, and how great an experience it has been so far. But I also need to highlight how much travelling truly makes you appreciate your home. Wherever you come from may not be the most beautiful place in the world, and this is definitely true for me, but it makes thankful of it in a way you’ve never been before. Home isn’t essentially just about the location you come from, but about the people that come from there that are special to you.

To start off with, recently I have found myself with a new found love for my parents and my brother. I don’t see them all the time when I’m at home anyway, but I definitely phone them a lot to see how they are and vice versa. Due to being in Canada I can’t make phone calls to Britain without it costing a fortune, so for a long time now I’ve only been able to email them, and to be honest I really miss the sound of their voices. Email just doesn’t cut it. When I’m sitting here now writing this I realize how much I miss the company of my brother, and how I’d love to have a catch up with him. I also realize how incredibly good my parents have been to me, and of course I value them at home, but being away with barely any contact shows me how much I miss and cherish them and how having supporting parents is one of the best things you can you can be gifted with.

I’ve been in Canada for two months now, and before I came on this study-abroad exchange I was told by the study-abroad officer in my University that around half way, you can experience a sad cloud due to missing people at home. They say the initial excitement can fade, and as you start to feel more used to your surroundings you can start to miss whoever you’re close with at home. I find this in particular with my boyfriend (Michael). I’m not going to lie to any of you who plan to go travelling without your partner at some point in your lives, that long distance is hard. I can safely say it has been a massive challenge for me so far. Initially, for around 2/3 weeks being here, I was totally fine. Everything was new around me, and it didn’t really feel real that I would be away from him for 4 months. It only really started to sink in lately. It is definitely a difficult process and if you plan to have a long distance relationship, my advice is, go into it knowing that it won’t all be easy sailing.

I have found with my own experience that there can be great days. For example, last week me and Michael had a “Skype Date” where we both dressed nicely and had wine and beers over a Skype call and it was actually so fabulous (Cheesy I know but don’t care hehe). But other times can be more difficult because of things such as lack of communication due to time difference, or misunderstandings due to texting, and I think what can make things most frustrating through everything is that all you want to do is see each other, and know that you can’t.

So yeah, is can be hard, but it is all so worth it though. I would never give up my time here and go home because I’m homesick, because Vancouver- Canada is the place of my dreams and I know Michael will be there for me when I return. And if anything, all that the distance away from him has taught me is how much I completely love him and how I truly can’t wait to have him back in my life.

As well as this, friends are so precious, and distance has highlighted to me how much I adore them. The friends I have back home are the sort of guys that will always stay the same with you no matter how many months or years go by, and they feel like a family to me. I’m actually surprised by how much I miss them in a way because I’ve never properly missed friends like this before, but I think when you’re in a place that is so completely different from what you’re used to, with all completely new people, it’s hard not to reminisce on fun times you’ve had with your friends at home, especially if you’re like me and you know they’re absolutely going to be your friends for life.

This blog today is not a negative post in any way, it is in fact quite the opposite, it is a blog to express that no matter how much we don’t think we do it, we all take home for granted from time to time, and travelling allows us to truly appreciate those little things at home that before we may have just taken in our stride, and if anything, it improves our bond with those that mean the most to us.

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No time like the present…

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I have an extremely busy mind. This might relate to yourself and your life and may play a huge role in the way you relax, or in the way you don’t relax.

The biggest flaw we have in humanity is our inability to be in the present and enjoy doing absolutely nothing without feeling guilty. I don’t know if it has to do with the way we are brought up or the way society is, or maybe technology, but we always find ourselves having to fill our time with distractions.

Whether we go to the gym in our spare time, read a book, watch television, go to the movies, finish up chores, we are always filling up our minds with something, and not  allowing ourselves to be in the present moment.

This sort of practice can come a lot with meditation, and I’m realizing more and more so, that it comes with travelling.

Travelling teaches you to live in the present.

There is no concern about mundane tasks and worry over problems because you’ve already left that behind you before you came. Nothing that is around you is yours to worry about. I mean, you ofcourse have a bed to sleep in and you have you’re belongings that you take with you, but apart from that, what is there to worry about?

Your normal way of living is now so completely different and you have left everything such as relationships and work, so what you have when you’re travelling is essentially complete freedom.

And it’s incredible.

You made the decision to leave your normal life behind for some time when you travel and sure, you can pick up where you left off when you return, but this time, wherever you may be, is for you to be you. And thats it.

It’s the most refreshing feeling in the world.

I hiked up a trail out in a place called “Deep Cove” outside of Vancouver, and this was a perfect example of when I realized this living in the present theory. My friend and I hiked up the hill for around an hour and a half, chatting, and keeping our minds busy, but when we reached the top it all completely changed.

The view was absolutely sensational.

All I could see for miles was a beautiful ice blue lake, birds singing, endless mountains and trees and the most clear blue sky I have ever seen.

After the initial first few moments of classic photo taking, I put my phone away and just sat there.

There were many other people there too but this cliff edge rock that we all sat on had plenty of space for sitting  and I could tell the people there were feeling the same way as me, in complete awe.

I just sat there looking for over an hour and thoughts came into my head like, ‘Wow, I am so damn lucky to be alive and to be here’ and ‘I wish everyone could see how stunning this is.’ I felt any sort of trouble I had melt away and realized that I didn’t need to do anything, I didn’t need to think about anything, I just had the absolute freedom to sit there and enjoy the surroundings. It was a feeling like no other.

Travelling changes the way you relate to the world.

If I hadn’t came to Canada, I can imagine myself not envisioning much past the world of Scotland and my comfortable little bubble. It allows you to break that bubble and leave all of those worries and fears behind and really allows you to see the true beauty of the world.

There is more beauty in the world that I can ever imagine and I am strongly passionate now that I want to try my hardest to see as much of it as I can.

A note to end on is that I strongly suggest to you if you lead the same sort of lifestyle as I did and you always have a million thoughts on the brain, to say , you know what fuck this! 

Pack up your things and go travelling and you will experience the wonderful calm that comes with living your life in the present moment.

Get Over Yourself…

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I grew up in a small town in the South of Scotland with not much diversity and not a great deal of people. I mean, it was a really nice place to live in for a few years of my school life, but I wouldn’t have wanted to stay there for too long. In small towns it’s common to have ‘Small Town Syndrome’ where people look and act the same, and everyone is involved with each others business. I was even guilty at the time of falling into a certain way that now when I look back, I didn’t like at all. I was very sure of myself, nothing else mattered apart from this small town and these people, I didn’t branch out because it wasn’t the thing to do. Felt quite robotic in a sense.

Travelling allows you to get over yourself. It essentially slaps you back into reality and opens your eyes to the fact that the world absolutely does not revolve around you. I have been away from home for many years now, and I have learned this lesson greatly. Even when I moved to Aberdeen a few years back things changed for me, I was pulled out of my comfort zone, I felt very scared and uncomfortable for a while because no one knew me and I was used to everyone around me knowing who I was, it opened my eyes to the difference in the world and it inevitably did me a power of good.

Aberdeen is 4 hours away from my town and I now consider this city my home, I have met the most special friends in the world there, ones who share the same views as me and the ones I can be ultimately comfortable with, I fell out of any robotic pattern I once had because I realized I didn’t have to pretend to be a certain way, I was just exactly who I wanted to be and they enjoyed me for being me, it was extremely refreshing.

Currently I’m sitting here in Canada and thinking about how my comfort zone has been further stretched by moving across the continent and meeting entirely new cultures of people. People who look and act absolutely nothing like me.

I realize these different cultures are so enriching and its absolutely okay that they aren’t like me, because it brings me out of my comfort zone even more as I embrace these new people and their ideals. I have met so many people here who I aspire to be like and who are insanely interesting. Due to the friendliness of the people over here, a girl named Carly asked me if I wanted to go for drinks with her a few nights ago. Gagging for a drink of wine and eager to meet a new person, I accepted the offer and we ended up getting very merry (possibly too merry as I don’t quite remember getting home). I found out so much about her that I was literally astonished by. She lived across the other side of Canada in a place called ‘Yellow Knife’ and decided that she wasn’t happy with her life there, she found herself depressed, low and drinking all the time, she found her life wasn’t going anywhere and that she was just wasting her time partying and leading a crazy lifestyle. So she left her home, and came to Vancouver completely alone, rented out a small little cabin out of town by the lakes and mountains, and she now lives there ready to take on her next chapter in life. How brave is that?!

Listening to this girl talking reminded me of how amazing people are and how there is so much more to the world than our own little bubbles. She carried on to tell me that she travelled around Europe alone and that it gave her time to find herself and meet new people and hear their stories. She inspired me so much and gave me an inspiration for this blog because it’s so incredible how much an individual can learn about themselves from travelling.

Travelling is humbling, it empowers you, and allows you to truly express who you are. It allows you to find out about yourself, and question yourself like you never would stuck back in your comfort zones at home. Vancouver is already opening my eyes so much to the beauty of the world and to the different cultures before me.

I am realizing that there is more beauty in the world than I have the ability to see in a life time, but I have the ultimate desire to explore as much of it as I can and fully open my eyes to what the world has to offer.