I learned a few life lessons in my two years in Wild Rose country. I was there, strangely, exactly two years. The day I left Banff was the same day I moved to Waterton National Park in 2015. I hope that reading this helps you realize something new for yourself, about yourself. Enjoy.
1. It’s dark in the city. In the mountains, the stars and moon had the ability to light up the night sky. I would go for drives at midnight and be able to see clear as day. The world was in a permanent dusk over night. The sky a beautiful deep blue all night long. When I returned to the city and had to drive at night, you could barley see the stars, and the roads were pitch black. Most likely this is due to air pollution but it always left me a little unsettled to be out at night in the lower mainland versus the mountains where I’d walked the streets alone until 4 in the morning without a care in the world.
2. Friends quality over quantity. This took me waaaaaay too long to learn. Probably because I saw myself as the “popular” kid in high school and could always talk to anyone I wanted. But I didn’t have close friends, everyone was an…acquaintance. It wasn’t till I was leaving Banff and spent my last few nights with the same 5 people that I realized it doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter that all the friends I’d spend Sunday Funday with, doing shots at the bar, aren’t the ones I’m going to message while I’m living and traveling Australia. They aren’t the ones I’ll send a quick I miss you message to at midnight when I’m feeling lonely in a crowd. And they especially aren’t the ones I’ll call crying when everything falls apart for the 3rd time in a row. So no sweat if they don’t say goodbye when I walk away.
3. It’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to walk away from jobs, from relationships, from countries. If you’re not happy, carpe diem, seize the day and get yourself out of your toxic environment. If your job sucks the life out of you, if you dread going home to your significant other, if you want to live on the beach but you’re from Wisconsin; Quit, move, leave. Life is short yeah, but it’s the only one you have. Make your life worth living. I’m not saying it needs to be text book worthy or picture perfect so you can be Instagram famous but make sure it makes you happy.
4. It’s not a risk if it makes you happy. I know this sounds weird but let me explain. Moving to Alberta was my escape, from my personal demons and my current life. I was in a depression, drinking myself to sleep, only getting up to work. I took a job in the middle of no where that I had no experience for and loved it. I made some life long friends, I jumped in glacier fed lakes, I climbed mountains, literally and figuratively. I started living for the first time in 8 months. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know if I’d like it, I didn’t even know where it was on a map when I received my acceptance letter. And that’s exactly why I did it and I’m sure I’ll do it again, and again.
5. Walking away doesn’t mean running away. This is another lesson I wished I’d learned sooner, something I learned the hard way. I knew I was running when I left home, I couldn’t live there. I’d developed anxiety and would wake up every night from panic attacks trying to catch my breath, reaching for someone who wasn’t there. I needed to learn to breathe on my own again. Jumping juniper, did it bleeping hurt. On the 14 hour bus ride, I asked myself about 10 times if this was the right decision. And it was.
6. Sometimes you do things for yourself, despite what others say to you. I don’t hate Canada, I just hate living there. My ideal temperature is 25-30, I wouldn’t be sad if I never saw snow again. No rain doesn’t bother me, I’m from Raincouver. But I’ve known my entire life Canada is not my home, it’s just the country I hold residency in by birth, by default. Tons of people immigrate all over the world daily. If I hate Australia, New Zealand is a hop, skip and a jump away. If not? Teach English in Korea, be a tour guide in Central America, be a scuba instructor in South East Asia. The options and opportunities are limitless, you just have to be willing to try.
7. Never say no to midnight poutine. Obviously midnight poutine applies strictly to Canada. Because try telling me cheese, chips and gravy are the same thing and we can’t be friends. It’s the curds man. This is also my way of saying self indulge. I was working on my bikini body for 10 months, I think I gained 10 pounds. But you know what, the way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body. You deserve that $10 midnight meal when you’re stressing over work, money or life. Just not every night, you won’t be helping your savings account or your cholesterol.
Let me know what you think! Do any of these apply to you? Have you had to learn something the hard way? Stay tuned for my travel stories coming soon.