Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Where's My Touque? Oops, I Mean Beanie

It only took 3 weeks being in the Perisher Mountains in New South Wales before the tan I worked so hard to keep even in the Whitsundays had completely disappeared. Soon I'll sport the ever-fashionable goggle tan, ice burns and bum bruises that come with daily snowboarding in Australian ski resorts. I feel like Australia is a really odd place to choose to do a ski season. You'd think if I was a really keen snow-sport lover I'd choose Austria, or at least New Zealand. Hell! I should just do one back in Canada - why overseas where the snow isn't as good?
Perisher - melting :-(

Funny enough, haven't met any other Canadians working up here. Obviously clever Canadians come to Oz to get away from the cold, not explore it. But lets be realistic, my traveling has kept me away from the winter cold for sometime, and boy have I ever missed it. Being back here is reminding me what a true Canadian I am - despite being poorly acclimatized.... What? -5 IS cold!

I'm loving the crisp air, fire places, hot chocolate, bundling up, making snowmen and having drunken snow fights! It's like being a child all over again! (Not including the "drunken" part.)

While I'm enjoying the long forgotten season of winter, I'll admit I'm quickly missing  reality. I have worse cabin fever in this little ski resort then I ever had on Cruise Ships. I'm really missing my friends back home, and having regular visits with them and my family. Just easy daily things like yoga classes, coffee dates, night-school and going to the cinema. I think it's all the same things I crave whenever I'm off traveling (which seems to be the only permanent in my life these days.) Every time I've gone "home" (...if I'm still allowed to call Canada that...) I get antsy and find a reason to leave. A travel bug yes, but I'm also coming to terms with the fact that I just have trouble adjusting to a non-traveler's culture. Its not that I find it boring, I just don't know my place in that world anymore, and I'm scared I'm not going to be me in that world. Ah well, a new challenge to over come for the next phase in my life.

I've still got 6+ months left of exploring the continents before I fulfill the promise I made to my Mother and return home for Christmas (I'll have to hit up South East Asia before then to re-claim my tan - no one will believe I spent a year living in Australia if I go home as pale as the average Canuck.) I think that is enough time yearning for stability and routine in my life to keep me anchored to one place for a while.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I Still Covet the Greener Grass

I never intended to travel this much. It just sort of happened... and then kept happening. A visit to Africa and some well-earned reverse culture shock took me on a completely different path than I ever could have fantasized.

This month could be a month of reflection on choices I regret making. This month – had I stuck to my original ten year plans – I would be finishing the final year of my M.D. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine having spent the last four years in continuous study and stress, a life trapped in North American values with the consistent ache of wanting to finish something rather than enjoy the process.
In my reflection, there are no regrets. What a vivid and colourful life I’ve painted myself into.

Saying I’ve been to over forty countries, have lived on four continents and sailed half the world at sea could sound like boasting. (And that’s perhaps why I still enjoy exploiting those facts – because it just sounds cool.) But reality says it was just the way my life was meant to happen. Friends and family question my decisions to have kept “moving” the way I have; perhaps running away? chasing my own personal unattainable holy grail? commitment issues? Who cares? We each have our own way of buckling under similar pressures.

No. If anything, four years of travelling has taught me that I don’t have commitment issues; that I’m not chasing any sense of fulfilment from changing my environment every 6 months; and I’m most certainly not running away. We just have different paths, and this one is mine. Completely without plan, without fail and without false expectations.

There was a photo posted of me. In it I’m sitting on the beach alone; beautiful white sand, palm trees, light shining off the ocean making that picture perfect aqua blue that you can see straight into. Comments of envy and excitement for me lined up underneath it from friends and family back home. All of them were relaying their enthusiasm and expectations for the life I must be leading on this huge adventure I must be having in the wonderful warmth of the tropics. No one stops to consider that while my life doesn’t hold the same patterns and routines as a non-traveller, it still isn’t easy. It’s anything but easy (you try and navigate your way from Sydney to Brisbane on less than $100!) And it’s not always stimulating (I’ve officially caught up on every popular TV series and new book release since 2007.) And I still get depressed! I still get sad! I still get angry and frustrated and mad at God! I still get hurt and cry and fuck-up and deal with the consequences!

I still covet the greener grass.

It’s not better. It’s not an escape. It’s just different. And this different suits me… for now ;-)

So here is to the freedom of owning nothing other than my choices. And to many more years painting these vibrant, multi-coloured memories.