Travel and the search for purpose

It is very rare to meet a person who knows exactly what they want from life, sure there are people who have a general idea: “I want to change the world”, “I want to work with children” or “I want to be happy”.  However, to find someone who is absolutely certain of the route their life will take – almost impossible. If you are out there, kudos and good luck to you.  As for the other 99.9% of people in the world, knowing where to take your life is a significantly more challenging thought to get your head around.

For a long time, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Then I moved to London and I didn’t anymore. And then I did, and then I didn’t. Not knowing what you want to be when you grow up can be very stressful if you let it, there is a certain stigma attached to not knowing exactly what job is right for you by the time you reach 21. And who doesn’t dread the big career questions from your Grandparents’ friends, the judging looks you receive when you give the wrong answer because you haven’t decided yet. I put this indecision, or indeed decision down to one thing: your surroundings. I truly believe we are a product of our surroundings.

Growing up I was unknowingly influenced by the people around me and the environment I was in. I thought I knew what I wanted, and if you had asked me at the time I would have had no doubt at all. So I followed my dream to the big city – away from the environment where I was certain of my future, and suddenly I wasn’t so certain anymore. With each new experience life brought me came a wave of new opportunity, and opened my mind to just how many different paths my life could take. Now I just had to choose one, to commit. That was the point at which I profoundly changed, I had the biggest realisation of my life.

How can you choose what you want to do with your life if you have no idea what life has to offer?

Seriously, teenagers are expected to make choices that will effect their entire lives before they have had a chance to live – before they’ve experienced life outside that bubble of childhood.  Up until the age of what 16 or 18 you are fed information instead of gathering it for yourself. Every book you’ve read, song you’ve listened to, TV programme you have watched has unknowingly shaped you into the person you are at that age. Perhaps we should go to University at 28 instead of 18, that way we might know ourselves a little better and therefore make more informed choices in regards to our career paths. After all, how many people do you know who went to University are in the career they studied for? Are you? Do you even want to be anymore? Do you really feel like you know who you are anymore?

So how do you find out who you truly are?

Change your environment! TRAVEL. Do things you would never have dreamed of, challenge yourself, read alternative books, listen to alternative music, eat all the foods you hate, make friends with people who don’t speak the same language as you, fall in love, talk to strangers. Discover who you are because that is the only way you will be happy in the end; you may think you’re happy just plodding along with your eyes closed but in the very end you will regret it. The world is gigantic, are you really going to spend 99% of your time in the same 5-mile radius? Come on.

 

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