The Evolving Traveler



If I knew then what I know now, then what would be the point?

I've done my fair share of travel up to this point - solo, with my heterosexual travel partner in crime, and with my family. All offered incredibly different experiences that helped shape who I've become, not only as a traveler but a human being.

The young woman I was at 26 when all this travel planning ignited is far from who I am now, 28 on the verge of 29. It's intriguing to think how much we change over time. Sometimes over the course of what feels like no time at all - a blink of an eye and another year seems to be gone. Although, I notice a lot of things stayed the same, too - at least at my core. Maybe over time as we evolve and grow into the individuals we become, we're really just doing away with layers of ourselves we no longer see fit. Just like the snake sheds it's skin both because it's outgrown it (their skin doesn't stretch like ours) and needs to rid itself of any unwanted parasites that have attached to it - we as humans have to do the same. I suppose the snake has been my spirit animal over these last two years, I couldn't have found a more perfect example in nature than that of the snake.

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." - E.E. Cummings

And it does. It takes everything you have within you to walk away from people and situations that are no longer serving you. It's not always their fault and it's not always your fault - some people just aren't meant to be in one another's lives forever. Not every situation you turn away from means it's a bad one, but maybe it's not the best one for you and your life's mission. It truly is up to us to embrace and learn from all these people and instances, good and bad, while we are faced with them. There is no promise of forever, so take away what you can from every single thing.

Finding the power to believe in yourself has been a difficult task, and I've not yet perfected it. Like most things in life, it is a practice I become more confident with the more I exercise it. It's something that happens to each of us at different times in our lives - the realization we deserve more. Some people appear to be born with it, that wasn't the case for me. It took some years of suffering to realize it was up to me to declare the life I wanted, and thankfully I did.

“I'd finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.” - Cheryl Strayed

Against some other people's will, I boarded that plane, all by myself, a year and a half ago and never looked back. I didn't know what was going to happen along my journey, but I knew exactly what would happen if I didn't venture out. I was heading down a path I didn't want to be apart of anymore, and I'm here to tell you demanding your own happiness is the only way to get ahead. Don't allow anyone to be the hand that holds you down. If you are not surrounded with people who make you feel good, who strengthen your spirit, and share their love with you then I'm sorry, but you don't need them. Cut them out. Life is short, and there are people in this world who can't wait to have you in their lives and will treat you accordingly.

Finally admitting to myself that the life I wanted was not the life I was living is what it took to get me here today. I'm fairly proud, often confused, sometimes drunk, yet undeniably filled with wander for a young woman who has been through hell and back in her lifetime. I've been low, but I've also been incredibly high. High on life, high on substances, and high in the air flying over the planet below with only my thoughts of the world and my place within it. I know what it's like to live, and I know what it's like to think you are living. I'm pleased to say 'I found my way in' by doing things that scared the living shit out of me - the things you don't actually think you could do until you do. But I'm here, and I'm happy to be here as the evolving traveler I've become.

Live whole-heartedly with passion and acclaim. Live as yourself. Do what makes your heart sing, do what allows you to forget about your limited time here and instead be in it, and do it with people who do the same. Cheers.



Sam Hancock