“I tried to mimic what people did. You know the whole: graduate, have a well-paying job, have a home with Ikea furniture, think about marriage and kids – you name it. Until I travelled to Tuscany. Little did I know when we drove through the cypress hills of San Gimignano, that my life was about to change radically.”
Moving abroad is terrifying. It’s isolating and it’s hard. While it’s so easy to take a million beautiful photos of this city and fill instagram and Facebook with celebratory updates, in real life I’ve been ridden with a sometimes crippling anxiety since the moment my plane touched down at Gatwick.
“I remember reading a Lonely Planet blurb about shamans in the Peruvian forest, and needless to say, it peaked my curiosity. A little over a month into my extended backpacking trip around Latin America, I was slowly meandering into Northern Peru, toward the misty mountain town of Huancabamba. It is said that Peruvians come from all over the country to pay the shamans a visit and to bathe in the huaringas – the lagoons.”
“When the locals ask “But…why are you here”? You know you’ve strayed from the road most travelled. ‘Here’ was Saltilo, Mississippi and indeed why was I here? I hadn’t planned to be here but on this 64 day, solo road trip from New York to San Francisco. I hadn’t done much planning at all, particularly for anything west of Nashville, and as someone who loves a good plan but is also an exceptional procrastinator, my route plotting experience spurned an ongoing inner conflict between the fastidious side of me and the side that just wants to watch TV.”
“As I was driving up towards Asheville, I was just listening to music and thinking. Dwelling on how stupid I was for making that call, and just angry in general with myself for still being so upset about a breakup six months later. It was at that point I decided that that was it. I was going to take control.”
With only two weeks left in this fair freezing city of Toronto, I thought it was time to take note of the places and spaces that have become my spots over the decade I’ve called this collection of streets and buildings and people home.
” Looking into pure darkness, only Mother Nature and whispers of wild animals surrounded me. I looked to the sky and had never seen the stars so clearly. I remember feeling a huge rush of emotion take complete control of me. Tears filled my eyes and I had shivers run up and down my spine. The entire time I was in South Africa felt surreal, but during that very moment; reality settled in and it was the moment my life changed forever.”
I called Her Majesty’s Passport Office. I had been checking in so often that I expected nothing from the phone call. In fact, I was only calling to make 100% sure they had my new phone number on file, you know, in case they needed to call me and ask for 235 more documents…
“The silence was deafening and seemed to last for ages. Then came the immense pain. It wracked our bodies from within, vibrating in huge waves. Almost as if we were a chorus, the gasping began as the wind that was knocked out of our lungs rushed back in at the exact same moment. Six gaping mouths groaned back to life as we realized we had been in an accident. Being in the back of the truck bed of the mini tuk tuk, we never saw it coming.”