“A Photo A Day” started as a daily reminder to be present and grateful every day, no matter what life throws at us.
A life of travel is often portrayed as a glamorous lifestyle, but for the nomadic backpackers who venture off the beaten path and live off a few dollars a day, it’s not always pretty.
Near death experiences, robbery, food poisoning, transportation breakdowns, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in questionable places, days without a proper shower or plumbing, issues with foreign law and authority, corruption, and getting out of sketchy situations are just some of things we experience when we trade comfort and familiarity for a journey of the unknown.
Reflecting over the last decade, I am pretty lucky to have walked away with only a couple dozen stitches and unforgettable life lessons. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing. New perspectives, irreplaceable memories, immersive learning, and my global family are worth every scar on my body. Travelling as a solo female backpacker with the lowest possible budget isn’t always easy, but it’s all part of the adventure!
This adventure began when I left Canada with the intention of moving to Cape Town..
Rather than settling there, I ended up on a RTW journey, visiting 17 different countries on one-way tickets before booking a flight back to a place that never really felt like home. Somewhere along this excursion, I realized my purpose for travel was lost. It was impossible to turn a blind eye to the corruption, exploitation, and negative effects of tourism. Pristine islands that I had once visited now look like landfills. I had never felt so self-conscious about the privilege of being born in a safe and developed country with low corruption or the opportunity to ‘just travel’ without obligation, not to mention my massive carbon footprint. I felt completely undeserving of my Canadian passport. What positive change was I bringing to the world by travelling to fulfill my own dreams? My goal of travelling to every country in the world now felt self-indulgent and meaningless.
Having spent most of my 20’s exploring as many countries as possible, there is no doubt that I feel the most ‘myself’ and ‘at home’ when I’m on the road. That’s where I get my energy, motivation, and most creative ideas. Like many others, that’s where we feel the most alive. That being said, I am tired of travelling without a meaningful purpose. Words can’t begin to express my gratitude for the opportunities I have had. I have learned more on this latest journey than I could have ever imagined, as the biggest lessons happen when we are confronted with the truths of reality.
Life is about exploration and adventure, but more importantly the journey within ourselves. Travelling changes your life forever, especially in ways we least expect. For those embarking on a journey abroad, remember to travel responsibly, sustainably, and consciously. Take risks, make memories, be open to new experiences, and be grateful for the opportunities. Most importantly, get uncomfortable, learn from the mishaps, and make the most of every day.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” -Anthony Bourdain