Do you remember the first time that you travelled as an adult?
I sure do. It was back in the winter of 2010 to 2011 when I went to Canada and travelled all the way from Victoria on Vancouver Island right through to Quebec City, as well as day stop in Seattle which was my first American city. Most of the time was spent in Vancouver. I had a big adventure with my bag (and passport and wallet) stolen in Toronto.
Interestingly enough, it would only be five years later where I would later go to North America again – this time living in Vancouver and Toronto and spending one week in Seattle. And most interesting of all is that I have a pending application for permanent residency in Canada.
I like to circle back on cities and places that I have already been to, to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. Knowing that I can ‘circle’ back on these places is a bit comforting, I guess, less pressure to run around and going to all the sights in one go. Cities change all the time, you can live in one city like London for years and there is still something new to see and do.
At the same time, circling back to the places that you have been to puts you in a comfortable position. You’ve been there, done that.
I feel that I am taking travel in these ‘circling-cities’ for granted, and taking the new experiences for granted. For example, when I was in Vancouver, I barely went outside the house. A lot of the time was spent, surprise-surprise, in front of the laptop and typing away at who knows what. Back then, I was really stressed out juggling a freelance contract that was in a different timezone as well as looking for work-and-a-career-change in a foreign country. I decided to spend the time on side-projects, not wanting to take on board full-time commitments for 3 to 4 months.
Part of taking things for granted has been due to trying to continue to be a digital nomad, while also maximizing my savings rate as much as possible (with some shopaholic induced fails).
Living in Toronto, I was in a complete frugal-living phase and was determined to set some savings goals and meet it (which I did). However, I went too overboard with the frugality, leaving very little time to do a lot in and around Ontario other than two trips. If I wasn’t frugal, I was travelling to the USA with a total of six trips in the time I was living in Canada. Some lessons were learnt and I later noted that there is such a thing as being way-too-frugal. I felt that I could have spent more time exploring Canada and Ontario some more while I was there. I don’t regret taking that many US trips, though, considering the climate that we are in this year.
In Dublin, again, I was taking my time there for granted. The first reason was that I already travelled throughout Ireland back in 2012. The second reason why was that I was sick for about half the time, while also starting a new role. Therefore, the last thing on my mind was to go around exploring Ireland. Again, there were familiar sights which lends my sense of comfort and familiarity with the place. Maybe familiarity breeds laziness, perhaps?
Berlin seems quiet different, though I don’t know if it’s because I am living in a completely different culture now or because I have never been to Berlin or perhaps both. However, I am not really heading out and exploring the city and culture as much as I wanted to. And now that it’s the beginning of these colder months, the cool spring and summer Berlin that I have first been introduced to is now gone and will be for a long time. Maybe..just maybe…I should try to find the balance between not taking my situation for granted, to relax a bit more, and not be so fearful and risk-averse of the future?