I love to read. Chapter by chapter I love learning new things about the characters and experiences that make a story.
I think of my life as a chaptered story and here, sitting on my friends’ couch thinking about how our friendship came to be, I’m reminded of one of my life’s chapters. It began about 10 years ago when I picked-up and moved “across the pond” to London, England.
The early pages were incredibly scary as I moved to where I had no friends, no place to live, and no job. This wasn’t the first time I moved away from the comforts of home. Earlier, I’d moved two provinces away to go to university. But this was my first time feeling completely out of my depth. I was leaving my family, my core group of friends, and a job I loved all for a risk that might not pay off.
As time passed and the chapter wore on, the read improved. I met new friends, found a job, and discovered my love of travel. All of these turned out to be life-changing.
I began a journey of self-discovery as the move and subsequent life I was building helped shape who I was becoming. Forced to be independent, I became self-reliant. I met incredible people who are all important in my life and are partially responsible for who I am today. I’m a richer human because of them.
Living in Britain, I also discovered my love of travel. Before London, I’d left Canada and visited the U.S. (where I have family) and Dominica (my dad and brother’s birth country). Since London, I’ve added more countries to my list and a wealth of experiences I would trade for nothing. Travel has become an integral part of my life, and I can’t breathe without it. Had I not moved, the amazing cultures, people, and places I experienced in my globetrotting would have been absent–a void I wouldn’t know existed.
Moving away changed the direction of my story. This was the chapter of my life where I shed some skin and rediscovered myself. Though the chapter was only a year long and I’ve had many since, none were quite so pivotal as the “Across the Pond” chapter. I’ve lived back in Toronto for nine years, but I remember it all like it was yesterday. I have four nieces and nephews whom I continually advise to spread their wings, take risks, and one day, move away (even if only for a moment). There is a beauty in it.
Our lives are more than what textbooks can teach us or what we experience in our own backyard. We need to go out into the world and discover it–and in so doing, discover ourselves.