Traveling is all about experiencing more of the world, and broadening your horizons both physically and metaphorically. Some of the things I discovered about myself, I wasn’t expecting. After being home, I have spent so much time reminiscing and reflecting on who I am now, versus who I was before I boarded my flight to Iceland and beyond. Since today is the first day of the New Year, I have found myself contemplating the changes in myself again. I grew as a person in so many unique and fascinating ways! Travel truly is a mirror in which we get a chance to see ourselves more clearly and more fully. So, here are a few of the things I discovered while gazing at myself from that vantage.
1. I can find my way!
I get lost so easily. SO VERY EASILY. Even in my home state, I use the GPS on my phone to get around most places. My first time leaving the country, I went to Iceland. Armed with my t-mobile phone plan, I thought I would have data and service in all the countries I had intended to visit. However, this was not the case in Iceland.
My entire time in Reykjavik, I had to wander around with a map, attempting to find my way. This was surprisingly pleasant, and I suddenly found myself enjoying being lost for the first time. I also found myself learning to navigate more effectively, which was helpful during the rest of my trip. I proceeded to get hopelessly and cheerfully lost countless times beyond this, in numerous cities. For the first time in my life, I didn’t find myself full of panic when not knowing precisely where I was. I implore you to do this in Edinburgh and Florence especially, they were my favorite “meandering” cities. Edinburgh will surprise you over and over again with its hidden courtyards and quiet gardens. Don’t hesitate to turn down those narrow alleyways!
5. I love and Trust my Body
As I packed very lightly, I didn’t bring many “beauty essentials” that I use at home. I didn’t bring my wardrobe pieces that I particularly love, on the offchance that my bag get stolen, or the items become ruined. I wear corsets regularly when I’m home, because they make me feel femenine and powerful and pretty, but I didn’t bring a single one because they are also inherently impractical.
For two months, I wore my skin. I felt healthier and more beautiful than I ever thought I would. I ate better, I was more active. I didn’t care so much if there were wrinkles in my shirts, because how can you care about a wrinkle if you are listening to street musicians in Berlin? My hair may not have been straightened but I was navigating the alleyways of Edinburgh so who cares?! I found that I could rely on my legs to propel me around the city. I often skipped over taking a bus somewhere if it were within an hour’s walk, because I knew that walking a few miles just meant seeing more of the place.
Before heading out on my adventure, I had taken a little self-defense. Krav Maga, specifically. And though I never had to use it, I felt strong and confident in my ability to handle any issues that could potentially arise. This is perhaps the first time in my life that I felt completely happy in my own skin, and I carried that feeling home with me.
6. Homesickness is Worthwhile
Despite all the amazing and wonderful things I saw and experienced, I still felt homesick now and then. In this manner, I learned a lot about what I value at home, based on what I missed. Thankfully my Dad and I spoke every day while I traveled, so that assuaged a lot of the feelings. I truly loved being able to share each of my experiences with him so easily and openly, the same way that I do at home.
I missed silly things while away though, like driving my car with the music blaring, and drinking iced coffees. I missed my two rambunctious birds. I missed my work as a massage therapist and often wondered how the office was getting on without me and how my clients were doing. I will openly admit that there were a lot of people and things that I didn’t miss at all. This doesn’t mean I don’t care for them, or that they aren’t a valuable part of my life. In most cases, I didn’t miss , them because I knew the distance would not affect our relationships. I knew that when I came home, the communication and love would still be there, unchanged and unwavering. And I found out that I really enjoy knowing that my friends and I can joyously live separate lives and celebrate each other no matter the distance in between.