When I first started traveling three years ago (which seems more like a lifetime ago!), I never really thought that I was in search of myself. I just knew I needed a change in my life, that my job was making me feel stagnant, and that I was ready to discover more about the world. I thought I was a well-grounded person then, who knew what she wanted and what she was going to do with the rest of her life. What has happened in the past three years has definitely changed all of that thinking.
A friend asked me recently if I felt I had been “living a lie” before I started out on this new life. If I had noticed a change in myself after a few short weeks of my new life. I answered pretty quickly and said that while I didn’t think I had been living a lie, I think what I had been doing was living a life that everyone else was living. A predictable, safe life. Working 9-5, paying my bills, hanging out with friends. Don’t get me wrong – I had a fun life in Calgary! I worked at a great company, I had the best friends (and still have them!), and lived in a nice area in a nice house. It was safe. It was what everyone expected someone of my age to be doing. And I really loved my life in Calgary. So what made me want to leave such a great life? I wanted to travel. I wanted to live in another country.
I never considered my life BP (before Prague) as an unhappy life. Was it an unfulfilled life? Yes, I believe that now. My job, while it was a really good job, was just that. A job. Not a career. Not something I could see myself doing for years (even though I had done it for almost 30 years). I knew in my heart that there was something more that I wanted to do, and that I just needed to find out what it was.
One month after arriving in Prague, I graduated from my TEFL program, and was officially a TEFL certified teacher. I knew right then that my life had changed. I knew I would never go back to my old life. I knew that Europe was where I was going to be for a while. Prague was amazing. I found my self-confidence grew while I was there. I found out that I loved teaching – that teaching was not a job but a career. My self-esteem improved. I no longer felt awkward. I no longer felt like I was in the shadows of someone else, trying to show that I was just as good as they were. I no longer felt that I needed to be in a relationship to be truly happy.
So, almost three years later, I can answer that question my friend asked me honestly. No, I wasn’t living a lie. I was living my BP life. I was living the life I needed to then. I am now living the life I dreamt of, and am happier than I have ever been! I don’t regret a moment of my BP life, nor do I regret any moment I have had since leaving Canada. I am happy. I am content. And I am strong. That is the biggest thing I have learned about myself. The strength I have inside. And I am now ready for my SA life!! (South American life haha).