Apparently it’s time for me to go back to “reality.” This is what people at home have been telling me; as if my round-the-journey I just returned from was nothing but a dream. My sabbatical is over, my time is up and now I have to live a “normal life.” (What is “normal” by the way?)
Back to reality? Hold on a second, if I wasn’t already there, then where was I for the past 12 months?
- Canada-New Zealand-Australia-Indonesia-India-Italy-Canada-Italy-Thailand-Indonesia-New Zealand-French Polynesia-New Zealand-Italy-Canada-Mexico-Canada. (Click HERE for video during my final destination in Mexico)
- Drinking, eating and shooting with world-famous photographer (and idol), Trey Ratcliff, in New Zealand
- Hugging koalas, kangaroos and wallabies (click HERE for video); snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
- Living in silence at Bali Silent Retreat; off-the-grid, vegetarian/organic food; no meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk food (and I went back twice!); exploring rural villages (click HERE for video of visiting a temple in the jungle)
- Visiting the Taj Mahal, with every 5th person stopping to ask my friend and I for our photograph (fair-skinned blonds)
- Staying in the vacation house of my long-time favourite Canadian musician; living daily Tuscan village life, and feeling at home! (click HERE for a video of me enjoying gelato at an antique market in Cortona, and HERE for a video of how to eat a Tuscan panino)
- Horse-trekking through millions of lupins, flowing rivers, surrounded by vast mountain landscapes in Glenorchy, New Zealand
- Drum dancing and feasting with members of a small Aboriginal community, in celebration of the signing of their Final Self-government Agreement (Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada). Click HERE to see a video of a community feast!
- Sailing aboard a luxury yacht (Windstar’s Wind Spirit) among French Polynesia’s Society Islands (click HERE to see a video of polynesian dance lessons aboard the yacht); staying at a luxury private villa on the island of Moorea; and flying above Bora Bora’s turquoise waters in a helicopter.
- Standing in the middle of hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies flying in every single direction (Michoacan, Mexico). Be sure to watch video HERE!
- Shedding tears and feeling heartache every time I had to leave my new/old friends, not knowing if or when I would see them again. (Click HERE for my farewell video at Bali Silent Retreat).
And this is just a snippet of what MY REALITY looked like. Every single day of every week of every month for the past year has been as real as real can be. I didn’t just wake up one morning with a round-the-world business class ticket (among many other tickets!), and a detailed plan that set out the year for me. I wasn’t born with horseshoes in my back pockets, nor did I win a big lottery (although it will happen one day).
Instead, I made a substantial investment in time, finances and relationships; I put in a great deal of thought and trust, in both myself and others. I opened up to the world and I wore my heart on my sleeve. I wasn’t afraid to ask for help; I reached out and connected with people around the world, many of whom I never met before. This made all the difference!
Besides my own planning and efforts, this journey wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the various individuals I met along the way, gracious hosts and friends, the editors that I worked with, and the family and friends that kept in touch and supported me. Each one of these people has had a positive impact and influence on making my journey be what it became, and for that I will always be grateful for their contribution and presence in my life.
For the past year, I was in my element like never before. Not a day went by when I didn’t pause to think about and appreciate where I was, how I got there, and what I was (and wasn’t) doing.
Being able to follow my heart and passion, surround myself with people, places, and things that motivate, inspire and energize me, only doing what makes me happy and brings me joy – this is the kind of reality that I like and the kind of reality that I choose to follow! If something doesn’t feel good, it’s up to me to make a change. It’s as simple as that. I take responsibility for my life and my happiness. Imagine what life would be like if people lived this way on a daily basis.
We are the master’s of our own destiny, and boy, it sure is exciting when you find yourself on a path that just feels right – one that is guided by your own internal compass.
Yes, my gallivanting around the world has ended (for now); one month ago, I arrived back home, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, greeted with a chilly temperature of -35°C. (Click HERE for a video on my homecoming reunion with Tika (my German Shepherd Dog), and HERE for winter walk with Tika). My finger tips nearly froze off, I no longer have full freedom with my time, I have to wake up each morning to an alarm clock, I have to go to work, I can’t have a cocktail whenever I feel like it and I have no idea when (or where) I’ll be traveling next.
Yet, at this very moment, I am happy just where I am, because ultimately I am in control of my reality. I have so much to be grateful for and so many reasons to smile. All that has transpired over the past year is certainly not over. It is just the beginning! As long as I remain true to myself, I am confident that I will continue along the path that is meant for me….
So when people say to me that it’s time to go back to “reality,” I’d like to ask them, what is your reality? And if it’s not what you want it to be, then what are prepared to do to change it?
“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions, stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” – Anais Nin
Have you enjoyed the journey thus far? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom. I am beginning to get settled back at home, and I will be in a better position and mindset to write more often. Stay tuned for so very much more!
(Update: Within the first week of returning back to work, I signed the paperwork to set in motion another sabbatical to take place 4 years later… in 2020!)