As the end of 2019 approaches I find myself reflecting on the milestones I have achieved. Some are small, insignificant and may not even be classified as milestones by most people. Others feel far more tangible and meaningful. Either way, these milestones mark the life I have lived over the past year, the leaps forward, the setbacks… all of it.
One of the milestones that excites me the most is that in 2019 I passed the 50 mark for the number of countries I have visited in my life. This particular number wasn’t set out as a goal or finish line, instead it represents the drive and determination with which I have pursued seeking to see, know, taste, feel and experience the world. For the better part of the last decade I have dreamed about people and places far away, I have saved and spent to get there and I have absolutely relished in every indescribably wonderful moment.
While many others in their twenties and thirties turned their gaze toward homes and babies, I sought a different kind of life experience for myself. This choice was one that was at times met with criticism, lack of understanding and confusion. As years passed and those closest to me saw that travelling the world was at the absolute core of my being, the narrative changed. In 2019, when I told people about this milestone of having visited more than 50 countries, many were shocked, impressed and truly happy for me. It’s not about how many places, as any traveller knows, it’s about the people, the experiences and the way they change you. Whats more, is that I feel so profoundly lucky to have had the opportunities I have had, since I know that many never will.
People always ask me, what’s your favourite place? That’s a question that is getting harder and harder to answer. The more I explore this amazing planet of ours, the more places I fall completely in love with, cherishing them for their uniqueness and for the joy they have brought to my life. I will admit, I have always had (and always will have) a soft spot for France. From the beautiful streets of Paris to the Mediterranean bliss of Nice and Cannes, I feel alive when I’m there. Having the best wine, cheese and bread the world has to offer doesn’t hurt either! In truth, I have been to France 6 times and fall more in love with each visit.
Just this year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Southeast Asia. Traversing Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for a month or so. Each of these places left a mark on me that will never fade. In fact, I was so taken with that trip, I never posted much about it on here…worrying that my words could never do it justice. I have made a pact with myself that that will change in 2020, I will endeavour to write about these amazing and life-changing places, no matter how intimidating.
The last thing I will say to reflect on this year of travel, growth, sorrow, joy and everything in between, is my favourite quote:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page” – Saint Augustine
I have read more than one page, but what I have seen, learned and experienced has captivated me to read even more. So cheers to you and your 2019 milestones, make sure to stay inspired, stay kind and stay true to yourself and what makes you happy!
Until next year – See the world, make it better.
~ Earthly Traveller