So I guess the secret's finally out. I will be taking about 11 months off to travel. But it's oh so much more than that. Unshackling from the 9 to 5 routine will be liberating and relaxing. Lush landscapes, pristine beaches, ancient landmarks and sexy parties await. But I am more excited for the experience to learn and grow. Ultimately, this trip will provide the opportunity for me to change my perspective, annd discover what makes me tick and what I am passionate about.
I will be starting off the trip with my sister. By mid-July we hope to touch down in the UK and tour Europe in 3-4 months. Among several countries we plan to visit, I am most excited about seeing Spain and Croatia. Along the way we hope to participate in the tomato fight in Bunol, Spain, and walk the Cinque Terre along Italy's east coast.
After Europe my sister we're off to Asia. However, my sister only wants to see Japan before returning home. India, China and Indonesia are on the top of my list. In addition I am considering entering a monastery to study Buddhism, engaging in voluntourism, and learning Mandarin or a martial art. If I can fit half of the things I want to do into those 11 months I would be ecstatic. But I'm definitely not going to rush things.
The decision to embark on this 11 month trip is the culmination of the decisions and the path I have chosen in the last 4 years of my life post graduation. Until then I had never been a risk taker, never made a leap of faith, or never willing to stray from expectations. But my short Europe trip after graduation was a catalyst for change and a glimpse of what the world had to offer. Moving to Calgary helped me to finally grow up. It opened me up to new experiences and brought me to realize that I always held the key to any door I wanted to open in life, but was too afraid to turn it.
11 months later, upon my return to society, I will surely have stories to tell, but my ultimate hope is to learn important life lessons, understand what makes me tick and what direction my future will turn. And after working one more year in Calgary and achieving my Professional Engineer certification I will again stand at a similar crossroads: should I stay or should I go?
Hopefully I can figure this question out in those 11 months.