As a twenty one year old woman fresh into adulthood, I’ve been struggling to find my position in the world. There’s this idea I know not only I have, but many other young adults have. That travelling to new places will answer all the lost, inconspicuous feelings we have about ourselves and the world – who we are, where we belong, and what we’re meant to do.
In August of this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to three maritime provinces here in Canada. I stayed in New Brunswick with family and adventured across parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Travelling Doesn’t Solve Our Ambiguity
Going into this trip, I was hoping for some kind of miracle that would answer these probing questions I have about myself and the world around me. But what this trip taught me was: travelling doesn’t immediately solve our ambiguity and confusion. It just allows us to escape it for a short period of time. Although it felt good having freedom and a break away from home, the moment I returned home, everything I always felt – the ambiguity and confusion – had returned as well. It was like I never left home. I had new memories in my head and photos in my phone, but nothing ever changed about home, and I soon found myself settling back to what life had been before travelling.
Checkout: Lost In My Twenties
Travelling Broadens Our Perspective Of The World
We seem to think when we travel we’ll have this amazing pain-free, Nirvana-like experience (or that was at least my naive, inexperienced-with-travelling viewpoint), but it’s not always the case. We can travel anywhere, but our thoughts and feelings always travel with us, this includes the confusion. I asked myself during the trip, “where’s the revelation I’m seeking? Where’s the answers to all this confusion? Maybe it’ll come out of the shops I visit or conversations I have?”
But it never came. There was never a time during the trip where I had the huge revelation I was hoping for.
But what I did gain when travelling was stronger relationships with those around me, exploration of cultures and foods, adventure, freedom, new perspectives and new experiences. I learned what I’m capable of, and my world expanded in many ways. It was the small things I learned and never saw before like the red soil, potato farms, ferry rides, lavender fields, and how oysters are caught, that opened my mind and broadened my perspective of life.
Accept The Fog And Work With It
This ambiguity of our twenties, I’m realizing, isn’t like cleaning dust off a shelf and it’s cleaned and cleared for good. This ambiguity is more like a thick fog we have to be patient with, all the while taking deliberate small steps with the intention to get through it safely, but never expecting to find a definitive out. It’s about accepting the fog and working alongside it.
This isn’t to say people don’t go on trips and meet a future partner, or make new friends that end up completely changing their life. New York Times best selling author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her well respected novel Eat, Pray, Love after travelling to Italy looking for solace after a divorce, and I think we can all very much agree that trip changed her life.
Everything You Seek Is Already Within You
I think for me specifically, the answers I’m looking for aren’t found in nautical shops, on salt water beaches, or any specific place or time. The answers are found within myself, between the unfolding of my experiences and mistakes and life in general.
The quote, “everything you seek is already within you,” makes sense to me now, even if things still don’t feel clear all the time.
My advice is, if you’re looking for a huge revelation to clear the fog of your young adulthood, you won’t find it within a single travelling experience. But what you will find through travelling is a test of your capabilities, new experiences, good food, good people, and time to ask yourself what you’re doing with your life (of which does not always guarantee an answer). Travelling may contribute small bits and pieces to the clearing of the fog, but it doesn’t clear it all at once.
Checkout: 20 Calming Quotes For Your Anxious Mind
With that said, I look forward to travelling more in the future, especially in Canada. I love my country and I want to take advantage of it while I’m here on this beautiful Earth. 🙂