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Posts Tagged ‘decisions’

Sometimes I feel like my trip to Poland didn’t exist here. As in, time stopped in Terrace, in BC, in Canada where my friends and family are and kind of went on just for me when I moved to Poland. It was just such a separate event, this big new chapter in my life that didn’t really relate to much of anything else beforehand. And since I’ve been back, for the most part, it felt like life picked up from where it left off when I moved. But that’s not true. A whole fucking year went by, and sometimes I forget how much time that is and how much distance that did put between a lot of my friendships and how things have changed.

I don’t want the past year to be the only chapter of my life spent abroad in Poland. I don’t want that to be my only time living in Europe. The only thing is, I feel like when I leave again, my life will stop here. And I’ve grown really, really attached to the life I have here since I’ve returned. I don’t want it to change without me again.

Actually my situation at home is really frustrating and stressful right now, but that’s not what I mean when I say I’m attached. It’s not the physical daily-routine life at home I love. It’s just being in the place you grew up, around people that have known you or your sisters or your parents since you were five, the backcountry and mountains, and just TERRACE. It’s home. And I feel like I don’t want to leave / that after my Europe trip (coming up in four months!) I do want to come back.

It’s so back and forth. Three years ago, two years ago, a year ago, I wanted to get as far away as possible from Terrace, from BC, from Canada, pursue my ambitions, travel as much as possible, explore Europe, all that. And up until a few months ago I STILL wanted that. And part of me still does. But what’s new, is my attachment to Terrace, and wanting to come back? I never wanted to come back.[1]

One of my friends recently told me not to. He said for years I’ve talked about the European life, and living in Scotland, or Italy or who the hell knows where and that I wasn’t meant for this small town. And that used to ring so true. But now I don’t know.

It’s fucking frustrating how indecisive I am about my future.

~

To be honest, I wanted to give the world an update on the amazing summer I had after I returned, and how I spent a weekend on Haida Gwaii for a music festival which turned out to be one of the best (sort of last-minute) weekends of my life, about my two jobs, and working routine, and a general update on my life and even the weather and how fast summer turned into autumn but how I’m actually enjoying the crispy air and trees changing colours and just things going on but—I just feel too exhausted to do that now. All that’s on my mind is what I wrote up there.

So maybe next time.

Joanna

P.S. I’ve decided, that even though a year goes by immeasurably fast, a year is still a long fucking time. So much happens in just one year. Six months is half of that. Six months will be the length of my trip. How different will six months be?


[1] In the back of my mind I’m telling myself I might devise a plan to let go of all attachment / all things holding me here before the time I have to leave. (Four months.) Everyone knows I don’t like having things holding me back.

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Hey everyone. I know it’s been a while, and Switzerland feels like a trip long ago. Things are going by too fast for my liking. I keep counting down to the time that I have to leave and get really sad. There is exactly a month left to my final exam, till the program ends. Then Dorothy and I will spend a few days still in Kraków, and off everyone goes. It’s sad!!! This year wasn’t long enough!

It’s amazing to think that no matter where we end up, we will always find people we connect with, we will always find something that can hold us there. And I’ve definitely found that in Kraków. I love it here, the city, the people, the lifestyle, everything. I remember leaving Terrace, and not wanting to, because I felt my life was perfect—and it was. I remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine that, by the end of the 10 months, I wouldn’t want to leave Kraków.
And I don’t. But I will, and it’ll be okay. I know I’ll be happy to be home-home, to see everyone (REALLY happy to see everyone) and to be surrounded by the mountains I grew up around. I’m a little bit worried about how things have changed—change is irreversible and is constant. I know things have changed with people (some drastically, other not) and I do worry a bit how that will affect our friendship when I’m back. And, I guess, I think I’ve changed too. Not a whole lot, but enough.

Uhh, what else. I don’t exactly know the right way to phrase it, but lately I’ve felt sort of behind. Behind on Terrace-life, on people there, definitely out of the loop. But also in my own life. Sometimes I wonder what I’m actually doing, and where I’m supposed to go. And travelling Europe next year—I’ve even had a little bit of a doubt on that. Should I just, go to school, use my 10,000$ on that, try to get “ahead”? Even for a year, see how it is? (Obviously I won’t, I have a commitment to Paige, but it’s been a small thought). When I come back, everyone will be ready to start their third or fourth years of university. And I’ll still be at level-0, no idea where I want to go, no direction.

I spend a lot of time outside these days. It is SUMMER. So hot, and I would say definitely a bit more humid than Terrace. Unfortunately, I’ll be spending today inside—really need to catch up on some homework, grocery shop, clean my room, that kind of thing. It’s tempting to bring my school work to the riverside, and do it there, but in most previous cases of that, I have become very sleepy and unproductive. And today is a productivity day!

Right, so now I am properly going to try and catch up on my life. Starting with Switzerland. What can I say, my first impression of Switzerland was great—and it definitely reminded me of home. The flight in was beautiful (but I kind of think every flight is beautiful..I really like flying),– much more forested than the airplane-view of Poland, much more hilly and mountain-y, just more green. It was nice. I think what I most loved were all the houses, old and new. They were so cute and old fashioned, and every house had shutters. And very colourful, tons of faded pastelly colours, others a bit more vibrant (I did see a few hot pink and lime green guys sticking out on hillsides).
What I also really liked, was the extravagant gardens, in my eyes. Nearly every house had some adorning greenery, bushes, trees, flowers, et cetera. It really made the cities feel smaller than they were, small town feel! Oh and the fountains! There were fountains everywhere in every center, with clear, clean water you could drink—always.

My first full day in Switzerland was chill. We biked around Winterthur (where we were staying), such a cute town, biked to the science museum… spent 5 hours in there… I blame Dorothy for most of that, went home for dinner, and went out for swytzli drinks in the evening (yes, that is what they were called).

The second day was one of my favourites. We went on a day-trip with Bettina’s parents to Appenzell by car, and stopped at St. Gallen on the way. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to walk around it’s center more, but what we did see was well worth the visit. We went to see Abbey Library of St. Gall. Everyone, please just google that right now, and look at it. It doesn’t matter how big your laptop screen is, you cannot equal being in that room. It is the most beautiful room I’ve ever been in. It was enchanting. I think my jaw literally dropped when I walked in. I was stunned. This ancient, old, library so well preserved, so well-kept was a testament to time. I think I could have sat in there for hours at peace. Just to look at the books, weighing tens of kilograms—really! There was an bible from somewhere near 500AD weighing 20 kilograms. Twenty! In that room, there were biblical contexts on display, behind glass, beautifully once handwritten by monks. It was all just really fascinating. I wish we could have stayed longer. Pictures weren’t allowed, but I think that sort of preserves the magic. I bought a bunch of postcards, to send to my book-loving friends (sorry I’ll try and do that today as well!), and I refrained from buying a giant poster to put on my wall.
After the library, we had a picnic on a hilltop. Yes—exactly as it sounds. The drive, I forgot to mention, was beautiful. It was so picturesque, hills everywhere, and houses dotting every one of them. We stopped near one hill, climbed to the top, where there was conveniently a bench under a big tree, and ate our home-made cheese-pickle-tomato-ham sandwiches (mine without cheese of course!).
Afterwards, we continued the drive to Appenzell—known for some very old, old houses, some of the oldest in Switzerland if I remember correctly. We walked around the town for a couple of hours, bought delights, ice cream, took pictures at every corner, and just enjoyed the nice weather.

The most memorable thing on the third day was biking to the Kyburg castle, just outside of Winterthur. Biking was so much fun. We biked for about 45 minutes, through a forest on a patchy dirt road—haven’t done that since Canada, till we got to a big creek, which was pretty beautiful in itself. Such clear water in Switzerland! We took a few photos there, and some jumping photos in the car tunnel, then set off. It probably took us another half hour or more to climb up to the castle, a small hike through a forested area with big wooden steps leading up. I guess the process of getting to Kyburg was more fun, than seeing the actual castle—which wasn’t too stunning as castles go. We walked a bit around it, walked around the little town situated there, and also spent an hour laying on wooden benches resting and tanning. We had some surprisingly nice weather in Switzerland.

On the fourth day, Bettina, Dorothy and I took a day-trip to Zurich! We walked around the town for hours, climbed two towers to have a huge view of the city, went to the botanical gardens, listening to a random singing group, went on a boat tram for a little tour, walked in and out of many shops, and headed home in the early evening. It is a really pretty city, sitting right on a lake with a view of the distant mountains and a river flows right through the city, splitting it in two. At precisely 5pm, in the Zurich train station, we were witness to a flash mob! The Switzerland symphony put on a piece and the ballet students of Zurich danced a ballet piece – very grand! I really enjoyed it—I also had the best view. Bettina was a little bit behind me, but Dorothy got more caught up in the crowd and I don’t think she saw much.

On the fifth full day we took a day trip to Luzern! I really liked the feel of Luzern. It was a little different I thought. Just walking around the town was easier than in Zurich I thought, where the city functioned well within the center and we always had to wait long at crosswalks. I guess I wasn’t use to that, because the center in Kraków seems to be more reserved for tourists and there really isn’t much car traffic around it, other than police vehicles making their rout. Anyways, Luzern had this old wooden bridge, Kappeler Bridge (rebuilt, because someone had burnt it town ten or so years ago) and, one of our favourite things, a giant, giant, giant lion monument carved into a Cliffside. It was massive, like the size of the side of a house. Really well done too, and had a pond right in front. I think it was just an unexpected sight—when Bettina said there was a large lion statue, I didn’t realize how big it really would be.
I know I’m lacking pictures in everything I talk about—I still haven’t had a change to go through them. I’ll have to do a picture post when I do :)
After seeing another cathedral[1] we rented a pedalo and boated (pedalled?) around the lake in front of Luzern. Quite fun.
In the evening, we returned home, ate another amazing dinner and watched a Disney movie we had never seen before, ‘The Rescuers’.

I think the last full day was also one of my favourites. We started the morning off with eating home-made bread, something I have not had in years, then we made a homemade pizza for lunch, and set off on another day trip with Bettina’s parents (such wonderful hosts!) We drove to Rhein Falls, the largest/widest in Europe! And they were quite a sight! Enormous and powerful—I really like waterfalls I decided. There were different walkways to the falls, so we could get close to a few different places. There was also a lot of soaking mist from the falls, it reminded me of the Exstew waterfall just outside of Terrace—though with that one you get drenched from being in its vicinity.
Afterwards we walked through this littler town, Stein am Rhein, a place not very well known to tourists yet. There there were also some very, very old buildings, with old pictures and drawings painted on them. It was really cool. I also had some of the best icecream I’ve ever had in my life there. We sat on the riverside for a bit, then started walking back to the vehicle. It was time to go home!
I was pretty sad to leave. I easily could have stayed there for another couple weeks had I the time and money. I had a really great time in Switzerland, and feel there is still so much to see! Bettina’s family were wonderful hosts, all of them. It was easy to talk to them, to play their instruments, … eat their amazing food. I always felt at home.

I think going to Switzerland made me realize how much I miss home. Bettina, Dorothy, and I spent a lot of time just talking about Terrace, and the people there, and reminiscing. (She was an exchange student there 3 years ago, and had recently gone there in February to visit friends). So I guess when I went home to Kraków, it made me homesick for my other home.

That’s Switzerland! Since then, I’ve been trying to do things that are on my list in Kraków. I finally got a chance to go to Auschwitz—something worth seeing. It was powerful. It’s always different seeing something than reading about it. I’ve read lots about the war and the horrors of the camps. But being in Auchwitz was something else—walking where thousands were murdered, seeing the gas chambers, the wall were people were shot, seeing the braids and chunks of hair of people all murdered, seeing their most prized possessions, their clothes, and their shoes, the blankets where the very first people were rescued from, untouched, unmoved. To think there were four million people that were murdered.

The day before, I had gone to the Schindler’s Museum. That was also really cool—one of the best museums I’ve ever been in. There was such a variety of displays, and quite a lot of creativity in displaying them. If you’re ever in Poland, it is definitely worth a visit. I think Dorothy and I spent about 5 hours of there. We were exhausted and starving when we walked out!

Ah, before that (going a little backwards here) there was the week of Juwenalia! Basically a week to the students! Many (most) take the opportunity to drink—and I mean drink like you’ve never seen before. The AGH student town area… was disgusting. Every night for a week there were hundreds of mini grills and drinks going around—by the end, AGH area was littered by glass everywhere, trash, bottles—like a zoo had ravaged the remaining grounds of a bottle depot. It really was disgusting. I took as little part in that as possible, surviving no more than an hour there. It’s just not my scene.
Looking to a more positive side, there were concerts put on every night by different Polish bands and artists. I went to two and had a really good time at both. The first being Brodka—she isn’t my favourite but there are a few songs of hers that I like, and I think most people really enjoyed the concert. The second being Zakopower. I had heard of them but never heard their music (my attendance at this concert was unplanned, got in late for free with Monika!) but I really, really enjoyed it. It’s a folk rock band, and they put on a great live show. Definitely going to look up their music! On Sunday I had bought tickets for another show featuring Hey (another band) but unfortunately was too tired, had quite a bit of homework to do, and it was raining. So I passed it up.
Another fun part of Juwenalia was the parade! Students from all universities dress up in the craziest of costumes and march to the city center. It was insane—way more people than I expected, cramming the streets, overwhelming old people trying to make it to their homes, singing and yelling patriotic songs (or the AGH students with their AGH patriotic songs…). The rynek was then packed with people all day. I hovered around for a while, and will not deny getting a couple of drinks in the day – but I really enjoyed it. I spent the rest of the day sitting, chilling, chatting with friends and a bit of drinking first right by the castle overlooking the river, than a pub, than later on one of the little grassy hills by the river, and then I went to the Zakopower concert I mentioned above. A good day!

More recently, yesterday, finally went to Kopiec Kościuszki, something else that has been on my list for a while, and in sight for longer (I bike by błonie / the fields every day, and the Kościuszki Mound is just past) with Dorothy, Jessica, and her visiting sister Laura. Actually, we started the day off eating brunch at this French restaurant—I had granola and yogurt (my attempt at trying to be healthy) and they all had some forms of croissants I think? Anyway, made me realize how much I like going out for breakfast, I don’t think I’ve done that since the day I left Terrace with Paige, Laura Fred, Josiah B, Chris, and Jordie! That feels like ages ago.
After our enjoyable breakfast, we walked by the riverside trying to find a pedalo to no avail. We did find some kayaks to rent but decided against it. And then we walked up to the mound, Dorothy breaking off from the group with her bike trying to prove she had found a shorter way to the top from where we were (she did and had to wait 45 minutes for us to go the longer way).

Right. So that is the past 3 weeks of my life in a nutshell. Seeing as I’ve had nothing to eat but the chips I bought for the unsuccessful pedalo ride, I am going to go grocery shop!

Au revoir!

Joanna


[1] We saw quite a few in Switzerland, and to be honest, I liked most of them! They, as always, were huge and ornated but I found the Swiss cathedrals to have nicer colour schemes.

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I think I’ve decided I want to stay in Europe. Just thoughts I’ve been having lately, it’s hard to sum up. I love the town I grew up in, I love what Canada has to offer, and I think it is a great place to raise a family or to settle down in. It’s peaceful and beautiful and different. And I know people born and raised in Terrace, BC, I know people who want to spend their entire life there, and that is fantastic. But it’s not for me.

But I also feel that a big portion of the youth in my town are wasting their lives[1], and when I’m there, I sometimes include myself in that. When I’m “home” (Terrace), I feel like I forget about my ambitions and dreams, or just feel that they’re so far in the future. But they’re not. They’re now. I want to be living my dreams now. And I don’t think I can do that there. Camping and late nights and partying—I do always have fun back home. But I feel like I’m just going in circles, nowhere. I want that to stop. I want to be focused and, as I said, I want to go after my dreams.

So, back to thought number one, I think I want to stay in Europe. This isn’t a plan, this is just the outcome of a combination of thoughts I’ve been having lately. I know I change my mind a lot, a lot, so a year from today, I might be set on who knows what. But right now this is it.

Travelling. That’s what I want to do. That’s all I want to do. I don’t know how it’s going to be possible yet, but I think I have better opportunities here, in Europe. Where the countries and continents that I want to travel to are closer, where there are cheaper airlines, where there are many languages, where there are people from everywhere—this is where I feel I need to be.

If I could stay here in Krakow this summer, I would. But I’ve done the calculations and if I want to make enough money to travel Europe with Paige next year, February 2014, then I have to go back to Canada to get a higher paying job. Staying here, I would make about 1/3 of what I need and I’d be paying rent somewhere. In Canada, I would make more than enough, the cost of flight tickets included, and I’d be living at home with my family. But that’s okay. I’ll go back to Terrace, for 6 months, work, save enough money, travel Europe for 6 months[2], and then stay. I think. And maybe have a bit more of a plan by the time I get there.

I’ve met some really amazing people here, I think I’ve mentioned before, from all over the world. And everyone has amazing stories. Everyone has dreams that they are pursuing, or are on an unknown journey. I want my life to become that, too. Staying in Terrace, going to UNBC or a nearby university in British Columbia, I don’t think that’s ever been my dream. And it definitely isn’t right now. I’ve been inspired by the people that I’ve met. I want to find my passions, pursue them, and be happy here. The people I’ve met and spent time with—are alive. Whether or not they had a plan when they set out on their journeys, I think they’ve all ended up where they’ve needed to be.

Some people are on my back for not wanting to go to school. Right now, I am clueless as to what I want to pursue in the future, in terms of career. But when I figure that out, if there is schooling required, then that’s what I’ll do. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve met people between the ages of 25-30 that are still travelling and unsure of their future, or that have only began university to lead them to what they want to do—which they discovered on their adventures abroad.

So far, I’ve been doing what I’ve wanted.  I’ve regained what Polish I knew (which was a lot less than I thought it was), learned some new things, gotten to know my family, history, culture, everything I wanted. And I want to continue that. My 6-month Europe trip with my best friend has been in the books for a while. Now, the question is, where to next? I want to keep making choices I’ll be happy with.

Me, being a person of lists, has started to build one for this summer when I return. Things I’ve wanted to do in Terrace the past few years but haven’t gotten around to doing. Considering that it may be my last chance in a while, I am going to give it my best shot, and really try not to waste a single day. There are places I’ve wanted to hike, there are still local sites I want to see, there are languages I want to start learning (meaning I might find time to once I’m back), and there are people I want to spend more time with. I have a lot to do when I get home, and six months to do it in. Two trips I’ve really wanted to do are a Victoria trip and an Alaska trip, but as I’ll be working full time, I’m not sure about those two. But it’s going on the list!

Right. So this is my informal announcement and uncertain plan: I think I might stay in Europe after travelling it next year. Not necessarily Poland; if I want to learn French and Spanish, I think the best way to do that is to immerse myself in the right country. I know I will come back to visit Poland, though, I’m just not sure for how long. Ladeeda!

 

Joanna

P.S. Title refers to the song by Switchfoot, one of the songs I listened to while writing this, look it up!


[1] No, I do not mean you guys, the friends back home that are reading this. But you know who I mean, I think.

[2] The rough country-list-plan right now is: Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Scotland, Ireland.

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I came across this video a few days ago, and put it aside for later blogging (it’s been a busy few days!).  But as it’s making its rounds across the rest of the internet, I decided I better write up my thoughts quickly. So here I am.

I was really content to have seen this video. It really touches on a few thoughts I’ve been having over the past year. The past year, I graduated from high school. In the last year of school, there is an immeasurable amount of pressure pushing down on you to decide. Decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. Make a plan. Have a plan. Many of my teachers said that successful people are the ones that make a plan and stick with it. And sure, that can definitely be true. That’s what we’re really raised to do our whole life, right? That’s why our parents sent us to school. That’s why we’ll send our kids to school.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I still don’t. And I’m okay with that. I don’t want to pick something. I feel like that’s giving up part of my life. “We go to school, to go to school.” It’s something I’ve said quite a few times. We go to school, so we can acquire an education, in order to attend post-secondary (or at least we’re encouraged to), so we can get a higher-paying job, and have an educated life. But what does that come with? That comes with being tied down. With commitments. Submitting yourself to one way of life. Too late to do those things you’ve always wanted to do. Giving up your dreams.

Call me an optimist, but I really do think anything is possible. And I really do think anyone can achieve their dreams, given enough motivation and work put towards it.

I’ve always wanted to travel. Always. So have a lot of my friends. They’re going to post-secondary right now. They say they’ll travel after they’re done. But I say, When? When will you find the time and money for that? You will need to pay back student loans. How? By getting that job you’ve been working towards. And soon you become rooted in this way of life.

I’m not saying I don’t believe in sending kids to high school. I’m not saying I’ll never go to university. I’m saying, right now, I don’t want that. It is not what I desire. I want to live. I want to travel, and experience culture, and see the world that I live in. I want to meet people and see how they live. I don’t want to spend my whole life in one society.

My mom is really pushing me to go to university when I’m back in Canada. She is really pushing me to apply for this full time secretarial (or something or other) summer job I do not want. She’s been telling me for years, when I graduate, that I will work there and then go to university. Her friend’s daughters worked there and paid off their entire student fees. But that’s not what I want. I’ve had friends that worked there, too. They gave up their entire summer to terrible work and terrible working conditions. They hated it. They never got to see anyone. Sure, they made all the money they needed. To go to the universities into areas of work they weren’t even sure of[1].

I understand my mother wants me to have more money than she did, to not have to be struggling financially my entire life. But I think that is sacrificing my happiness. And I think happiness is the most important thing in the world. I will do what makes me happy. Money has never been a factor for me. I will go to university if I ever find something I want to do that requires it. But I will not go there for her, and waste the little money I have, taking courses that don’t interest me.

Next year, I am travelling continental Europe with my best friend. It’s been a plan for years. My mother thinks it’s a bad idea; that it’s a terrible idea to not go to university right after high school (“and get a good education, to get a good job, to get more money,” etc….

Here’s a quote from the video:

“…if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

So here’s my current life plan.

1. Complete my Polish Immersion classes, and graduate from the program with the Certificate.

2. Come back to Canada. Get a couple part-time jobs (until #3).

3. Come February 2014, Paige and I will go off to Greece and start our Europe trip.

4. July 2014, I will come back to Canada.

5. Find happiness everywhere.

Lately (lately being the past month), I’ve really been having serious thoughts about my future. Because I just can’t see it. I don’t know where I’ll be. What I’ll be doing. Maybe it will be something near Terrace, or in BC. Or maybe I’ll be giving tours in Polish across the world. Or maybe teaching English somewhere. Or wing-suit flying professionally. Or a missionary. Or maybe living the life of a travel writer. Who knows. I just know I’ll never make a decision that won’t make me happy, that won’t work towards one of my goals. I’ve always been someone that works towards my goals, whether it was my dream of skydiving[2] or travelling Europe[3]. Maybe when I’m back from Europe in 2014, I’ll know a little bit better what I want to do. For now, I’m content with dreaming of my travel plans, and thinking of writing ideas.

Another thought I’ve been having the past couple weeks is, What do I really want? I know I want to travel. I want to see the world. I want to be a writer. But I also came to the conclusion that I don’t want to be wasting my time. I’m in Poland right now. In a beautiful city. I want to be exploring it. I want to be taking advantage of what this city has to offer. And first I need to find that. The first couple weeks that I was here, I was living it up in my new internet connection. Basically, wasting a lot of time. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be exploring my surroundings constantly. I don’t want to be wasting time because there is always something to see, and always something to do.

In conclusion. I think we should do what we truly want to be doing. What makes us happy. Don’t wait. And never forget.

Joanna


[1] Some of them anyways. Some people know what they want to do, and how they want to get there. And when you’re that person, that’s awesome.

[2] That was summer ’11 by the way.

[3] Euro-trip 2013!

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I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I had grown up in Poland, if my parents hadn’t moved away from the communism that, to the shock of the everyone, ended only months after they left. Who would I be? How influenced would I be by my family, how conservative? Would I have stayed shy, that person that never did anything outside her comfort zone, and outside the Catholic church’s beliefs? Because I once was that person, as hard as that is to believe for some. Would I not be my blunt, adventurous self? Would I still have the same interests, the same sense of humour? Would I still be just as passionate about travelling and other cultures?

Travelling. It is honestly the thing I love most in the world, the thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I try to think back and pinpoint the moment I fell in love with travelling. But I’m not sure when it happened. I feel like it’s always been there, part of my life, my mindset. I had grown up knowing my family connection was across the ocean on another continent, I had heard plenty of times of my parent’s “fresh start” in the foreign country of Canada, and how prior to that my mom lived in Germany for a year, Spain for two, and my dad in Alaska for 3 years during that time, while they waited for the papers for Canada to get through. And my dad. He’s always been a traveler. His early occupations took him across the globe and I’ve heard memory after memory from his adventures country to country. I remember how he once counted to forty-three countries he had visited[1] and was unable to remember the rest. When I was five I traveled for my first time to Poland. I may not have understood much of what was happening at the time or what Poland was, just this far away place where my parents were from. I still remember the split second of being scared before meeting my grandparents for the first time, not remembering their existence when they long knew of mine and awaited the first time they got to meet me. They were strangers to me[2]. And yet, that first trip to Poland was the first installment of the feeling of travel. My understanding of the world, recognition of its size, variety of people, and cultures grew as I did, this drive to know more about the world and all it had to offer. Travelling just became a dream.

I can picture a different life that would be mine if my parents had stayed in Poland, I can picture the family connections and holiday time we could have shared, of summer orchards and apple trees that my mother often spoke of, of small trips to visit the different regions of Poland, city streets to hillsides in a half hour’s time. I can picture myself there. I can picture that life, but I can’t picture that person, that mind. A different set of memories, of upbringing. I can’t picture my life without the people that have impacted this one. I know that, wherever you are born, wherever you live, you find your niche, you find people that touch you and a home that becomes a part of you forever. If my parents had moved to Australia[3], I would’ve found my home there. If my parents had stayed in Poland, I would have found my circle there. But they moved to Terrace, BC and that is where my life is, my friends, and most of everything that means something to me, and I can’t picture myself without the past that I have[4].

To get off that cliché ending, I’ve been realizing more and more that I move on from things fast. People. Feelings. Places. Connections. I don’t know if it’s that I can easily detach myself from something and move on, or because I never have that strong attachment in the first place. I want to argue for the former, because the second sounds unpleasant a quality. One way or the other, I think it’s a good thing for me. To have no attachments that can hold me down from what I want to do, and where I want to go[5].

I was thinking of that because it’s now been a month to the day since I left, and I still feel good about things. Sure, I miss some aspects of home, friends, and family, but not to the extent I thought I would. I know I’ll be back, and it doesn’t bother me that I’m gone now, for however long it is, nor does it bother me that I’ll likely be gone again for much longer. This is the way to go.[6]

Joanna


[1] Only counting the ones he had stayed in for at least a week where he had seen some of the country.

[2] I also have this dim recollection of having a fear of the elderly when I was little.

[3] Which was plan A.

[4] This is why I sometimes wish we could live more than one life. Just to see.

[5] I think this quality also ties in with my quality of not being able to commit to anything very well. Discussion for another day.

[6] There’s still a lot of time for me to start missing home, but for the time being, I am happy where I am and with how I’m feeling.

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Life is changing so fast.

It’s hard to realize everything that is about to happen. In ten days, I will be in another country. Another continent, actually. This isn’t just a skip across the Canadian-American border. Another time zone. An entirely different culture. A place of another language, a different history, and all familiar things vanished.

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