Thursday, January 13

If I Had A Nickel...

What year did you graduate?
Where did you go to school?
What did you do when you finished? Why?
When are you going to go back to school?
Where do you think you will go to school?
Why are you not going to school?
Why are you traveling?
Do you actually do anything when you travel?




If I had a nickel for every time I have been asked one of those questions.. I would be able to afford my lazy, hobo, unconventional way I chose to spend my time when I get off this island times 5. There are two types of reactions I get when I say that when I graduated I went to Guatemala. Reaction 1 : The good reaction. A genuine happiness for me, knowing I am doing what I want, a genuine interest in the things I do and see, and a little baby bit of jealousy. Reaction 2 : Hesitance, a vacant look as they try to decide whether to say what they are thinking or attempt to be fine with the way I chose to spend my time and my money.

Am I offended? A little. For one thing, many of the people who ask me those questions and then seem to be judgemental over my answers don’t really know a whole lot about me, my past, my adventures, my high school experience or my financial situation. On top of that, some are nothing like me and have no desire to travel or experience new things, which makes it hard for them to relate to me.

So to answer the question, I graduated in 2009. I didn’t go to college or university, I worked until October and then I took off to Guatemala for two months to work in an orphanage, learn Spanish and truly immerse myself in a new culture and way of life. Just in case you didn’t know, it was the best time of my life. I don’t have an specific plan for when I go to school, what I will study, where I will attend and I do not necessarily plan to skip school altogether, it’s just not on my immediate agenda. Furthermore, I cannot afford a university education and all that goes with it and I did horribly in high school, I have the attention span of a squirrel on crack.

Why do I travel? Someone asked me why I chose to do that before school and I replied “well I never did anything else the regular way, why start now? They asked me if there was any chance I was John Smalls daughter – I probably walked right into that one. Why wouldn’t I travel or want to travel would be a better question. I grew up on Grand Manan.. beautiful, but quite remote. The culture is fine but I certainly didn’t grow up knowing much about anything other than fishing (which I still don’t know a whole lot about), irrelevant gossip, basketball and student council which ran most of my adolescent life. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not knocking Grand Manan – I love grand Manan, it is unique and there is no one I wouldn’t recommend it to. Good people, great summers and it is home. The thing is, I want to see more and there is A LOT more.

The last question is the one that makes me think. DO I actually do anything when I travel? Well, I am embarking on a second, longer trip this Feburary but I have only really ran off for 2 months before that. After careful consideration of the not so encouraged activities I might’ve engaged in, I came to the conclusion that yes, I did a lot of amazing things and saw amazing things and experienced amazing things while traveling. I didn’t just sit around in the sun and drink which I think some people have the idea that I did. I worked every morning 8-12 in an orphanage which was amazing and I took Spanish lessons and I traveled and saw some pretty sweet places.

I asked someone if they liked to travel the other day and they said, “well yes, I think that’s the whole point of life.” That is maybe a little too enthusiastic and its not even important to some..but yes, travel and culture is a part of life and I want it to be a big part of mine. I want to truly see and experience this amazing earth I get to live on, I want to be able to travel and even after having seen 50 countries and meeting thousands of people be able to come back to GM and know I’m home, see everyone I know and be thankful for them and for the life I had here.
So yes, I’m going to travel this year. I’m not going to school. And I’m super excited! Do I think that after working hard for a year, three jobs, being stuck on Grand Manan -a lot of times with no friends and no one to talk to besides my blog-makes me worth of treating myself to a trip? Hell yes I do! I’m young, no commitments, I worked hard for my money and I’m going to go experience travel and live before I settle down (Ha, who am I kidding with the settle down stuff?)

In February I am flying to Edmonton to spend a month with my brother, his wife Robin and their four children. I am beyond excited. I havn’t met my newest twin niece and nephew and it will be so great. I’ve never even been out west so the month I spend there will be an awesome experience, I someday hope to really see Canada, maybe backpack across – judge me for it then. After that I will be heading back to Xela, the city in Guatemala I was in during 2009. I will volunteer there for 3 weeks. After that, nothing is decided. I have saved up money and plan to steer clear from Canada for atleast four months, possibly longer. I will either be working as a
Nanny in Mexico or travel around Central America more.

Everyone has a different view on the way I live my life or anyone who choses a path other than university, some don’t have an opinion at all. For the people who think I’m stupid for not going to school on this strict timeline people seem to have for everything in life– you might be right. Just know I’ll have one hell of a story. Has no one ever gone to school at an age besides 18?

For the people who support me (and there are many), I love you so much, especially my Mom and my best friend who support me wholeheartedly. They truly know, love and understand me and I’m so thankful for that. It makes the awkward silences and judging looks much easier to handle and sometimes laugh at.

I’m going to have an amazing year this year, I truly believe that. When I come back to New Brunswick this summer – if I don’t fall in love with an Alejandro and run off into the sunset – I can’t wait to tell everyone about my trip and hear about everyone else’s adventures because that is ultimately what it comes down to. What do you want your story to be, what do you want your adventure to be, where do you want your life to go and how are you going to get there? Everyone chooses something different and I totally praise and respect everyone for any positive path they chose for themselves, I expect the same respect. Believe me, there are worse things I could be doing and I think rotting away on Grand Manan with no friends and no passion for what I’m doing is among those things. So wish me luck... or don’t, either way I’ll make the most of it.
Big Love,
Bailey.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

5 comments:

  1. It saddens me that not many people are reading this, or commenting, which i'm going to start doing. I feel like i'm in your same boat in a way, where people don;t understand you and feel like the choices your doing are not adequate to what they thought you might have become, or what they wished your future may have been. It's hard when you believe in yourself, and you feel a sense of guilt because you are doing what you want to do. But I am very supportive of your plans and aspirations, and hope that you have a great time in your life, doing the things that you love, the things that make you happy.

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  2. you are SUCH a good writer! i am so happy for you, and know you are going to have an amazing time! so true that to stay on the island and work would gain you more positive reactions then travel! odd.. love the mark twain quote ya old slickster!

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  3. Bailey, I think you hit the nail right on the head...PASSION!!!!
    All too often, many settle for a life that isn't theirs...someone else thought it was the right thing to do, at the right time. Traveling is great...if that is your passion! I truly appreciate any of you brave enough to go outside of your box, especially after growing up on a small, remote island. Some of us are content to stay in one place, but it all depends on your outlook. Knowing your passion makes all the difference, and it takes all kinds to make this world interesting.
    Thanks for making my life interesting, Bailey!

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  4. You will gain a wealth of knowledge from foreign travel and living amongst different cultures. Life experience is an education in its own right. University will always be there, and perhaps you will find inspiration from your travels to pursue a secondary education in a field you haven't even thought of yet. You are doing something meaningful, for others and yourself, and that is an amazing and rare thing! There should be no timeline on what you are doing, so take your time, learn lots, and have loads of fun! Safe travels, and keep up with your blog!

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  5. I like your post- even though I am one of the people that asks you all of those stupid questions.
    I do understand your desire to travel and to experience new cultures. I do admire your bravery to go and do these things on your own. That takes a lot more guts than just following the road everyone else travels. I do think it's great that you understand your weaknesses because it is far worse to dive into school when you are not ready. I am envious of you- not having any anchors and just being able to set sail. I do know that I got more out of school at 30 doing my masters than I ever did at 18 because I had more experiences to draw on and make sense of the education. From time to time though, forgive me when I ask you some of these questions. It's not to bug... it's just because Jer and I have got your back at the safe harbour when and if it's time. xox

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