Alright. I want to finally explain, to the best of my abilities, why I made the choices and decisions I have made. I am hoping this will answer the many questions people have asked me, redirect certain assumptions, and clarify any misunderstandings that may have occurred.
Whilst travelling, I often get asked: “So, what’s your story?”
Well, here it is I suppose…
- Yes, I was the only one providing for myself during my years in Uni. That includes my flat, my bills, my travels…everything 🙂 (except Uni because I had a scholarship fund for that)
This one is important, because I so often have to explain that it is in fact possible to work and study and that many people do! Sure, my parents give me cheeky presents here and there, but that does not make me less independent.
I started working the summer I graduated from high school when I was 17 years old. I worked for a few years at various jobs and was able to save most of my money because my parents were generous enough to give me everything I could have ever needed all my life. So yes, I was able to save quite a lot of money. I knew early on that I wanted to live on my own. I always pretended my bedroom was my flat, and that the bathroom right next door was also part of my studio flat. I did not travel as much as my friends during my years in college because I was swamped! (Though, growing up, I did travel quite a bit with my family, during the summer). I had my conservatory exams at McGill every year, I practiced 12-15 hours a week, coached football, played on a team of my own, attended dance class, practiced yoga and meditation everyday, studied, worked, tried to have a social life, and did my best to be a good girlfriend to my high school boyfriend.
I studied in Italy my first summer of college; you can read about that here. It was an unforgettable summer! The year after, when I was 19, I finally bought my first car. It was second hand, from 1998, and I adored it! I had worked so hard to save up for it. The year after that, I graduated from college and went to our family home in Croatia before starting Uni.
With enough money in the bank, and a decent plan, I set off on my own right outside the city of Montreal to live on my own. Having come from a suburban town in the West Island, this was a big deal for me. I had a room mate for a couple months, who was my childhood friend actually, but she left shortly after we moved. It was a rough start for me; my job ended up cutting my hours in half, after I had told them to keep them as they had been. I ended up having to use my savings which stressed me so I looked for various jobs and ended up spending my first year of uni working 4 jobs whilst carrying a full 5 class course load. Yup! It was very intense!
After my first year of uni, for my 21st birthday, I got myself a trip to California; visited Disneyland, Hollywood, Orange County, Beverly Hills, and so on. During this holiday I realised I could not have another year like the one I had just had so I quit work and started my own private practice in specialised education and counselling. Well, to be fair, I made a transition rather than a clean cut because I still had bills to pay but you get the point. 🙂
My second year of Uni, I did quite well and this was not the end. In the second half of my school year I was hired by a company to be their home-based, Operations Manager and Educational Consultant. This was amazing, as I worked out my schedule so perfectly and made a lot of extra money! This allowed me to have an amazing trip to Asia during the summer of 2016. Contrary to some of the thoughts shared with me by some, I DID pay for that trip myself. ALL OF IT. Even after that incident in Hong Kong.
My third and last year of Uni, I only worked on my private practice. My only focus was to graduate, apply to grad schools and law schools, travel, then move to England. My business was my only source of income and it was a very enriching line of work, and allowed me to have the perfect work/school balance. I was able to save a lot every month after my bills were paid. I was very careful, saved as much as I could, even had two awesome holidays, and planned this big trip for myself. Originally the trip was going to be in two bouts, because I also needed the financial security to move to England for law school; not a cheap endeavour. However, a certain something happened allowing me to have this trip in one big bout, all the while still being able to attend law school in England. Of course, I will also be working, as per usual.
I jumped at the opportunity because I knew that I could take this journey, move to England, start law school, and get to where I have been working so hard to be, all along. So that is what I am doing, not because I’m entitled, but because I earned it. I worked for it!
2. I am not travelling because I am “lost” or “lonely”!
This one gets me every time haha!
Before I start, no I am not lonely just because I am single. I have the privilege of being able to experience all kinds of loves all over the world. Even when it hurts for some time, it is always worth it, and I would never remove the different parts of myself from the various places I have left them on the planet. I do share love with people; even romantic love, yes… The same way travelling is more about the journey than the destinations, so are the people with whom I experience life; we journey together, we don’t destination with each other…
It is NOT true that because I have decided to travel for 4.5 months and move to England that I have nothing back home in Montreal. In fact, I have family I am close to, friendships that range from 3 years to 20 years, a cat I adore, schools and libraries that have been my escapes, a harbour that felt everything with me over the years, a city that I have the most complicated relationship with, and memories that feel as though they overflow from the 23 years that created them. I had a flat, a car, a business; a life I had made for myself.
I did not leave because I had nothing. I left because I wanted something.
I left everything behind because I had my own plan. I have always done things my way, this was no different; it was most important.
I wanted to graduate with top marks, I did.
I wanted to be self employed, I was.
I wanted to get accepted to grad school, I did.
I wanted to get accepted to law school, I did.
I wanted to travel the world, I am.
I wanted to move to England, I am.
Why and how? I worked hard. I made sacrifices. I never let go. I never gave up. I never let set backs be failures, only lessons. Heck, just read some posts about my first month of travel! Perhaps I should dedicate a post to the year I lost my friend, my boyfriend of five years, had a bicycle accident, and a car accident, all the while starting my new business and studying full time… You’ll see that it’s all mind over matter. It’s always about what you make it!
I know some people who are doing such amazing things, it’s mental! There are so many inspiring stories out there… We all have our own path.
Travel is something that has never failed or let me down. It is a passion of sorts. I feel so calm and happy when I travel. Even during less than desirable situation (and even really hard times), I still feel a sense of contentment and peace. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true! I have so many thoughts in my head all the time, and emotions in my heart, I easily go a bit mad! They both naturally work in over-drive and over-time haha! I am still working at controlling it now, with maturity and time. But good God when I am stressed or nervous or anxious it comes out like lava! I am still working on meditating instead of monologuing in those times… However, when I travel, I find that balance. No matter how crazy my emotions or thoughts get, I can always find perspective and calm. It’s so interesting really. Every step, every mile, every minute, simply untangles the knots I can so easily create inside myself due to my propensity for constant control as a defence mechanism.
All this being said, there is a sweet spot in my madness. A spot right in the middle where I can be rationally sound and deeply intuitive. Everyone has their blessings, I reckon those are mine. But with every great gift comes great responsibility, and when it comes to this, my responsibility is to find that sweet, sweet spot… Yoga, meditation, dance, music, sports, books, and food help greatly. Travel though… is unfailingly loyal.
3. I am not a sell-out or a moron because I have a degree… Nor am I “selling my soul to the devil” because I am becoming a lawyer…
People with no education just LOVE criticizing educated people. (In this case I am referring to university education). They love to say that we only know what we studied, that we are limited in our thinking because of academia, and that a piece of paper is overrated. Well, in my opinion, they would be singing a very different tune if they were educated. I am not saying all people without degrees do this, but I know many who do, and it drives me mad; I find it so ignorant on their part honestly. I am so tired of people asking me if I went to school, what I graduated in and then telling me I’m a sell out, or just an academic but have no “street smarts”. It has happened more times than I like to talk about. Equally, I do not agree with educated people saying that those without degrees are stupid, less likely to succeed, or anything like that.
It’s laughable, especially when I look at what I have managed to accomplish that has nothing to do with academia, or the many parts of my studies that require a lot more than “book smarts”. Oh, hey! Better yet; all the times I have messed up just because I’m clumsy, or trying to babble my anxiety away, or trying something new, or spending too much time in my own world! No amount of different degrees or categories of intelligence could help those sides of me. It’s just life. I am the way I am. I am not automatically intelligent because I studied psychology, nor am “corrupt” because I study law, nor am I stupid because I am not afraid to admit I don’t understand something. I’m just genuine.
Listen, if someone is a moron, it’s because they are a moron. That’s it! I will not spend my time getting into the “degree vs. no degree” thing; that is not the point, but I will say that the categorizing that goes on in these debates is the most moronic thing of all! No, not all valedictorians will be extremely successful. But some will! No, not all educated people will make it big. But some will! No, not all uneducated people are stupid. But some are! No, not all successful people are educated. But some are! No, not all uneducated people will struggle. But some will! And it may very well be because they never went to school. Just like some people with degrees will struggle too…
My point is, it does not matter whether or not you have a degree. What matters is that you do what you want, and set goals, and do whatever it takes to get there. If that requires a degree, then get that degree. If it requires 10 years of training and no degree, then right on, train for 10 years! Whatever it is you want; go out and get it.
The conclusion is I hope this clears things up where need be, and maybe inspires someone where need may be… Want to travel? Travel. Want to study? Study. Don’t know what you want? Well, that’s fun, because that’s when anything can happen.
Write you soon,