“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon
If someone told me where I would be now, six months ago, I would have told them they were crazy. Like insane crazy. Like stop making me feel bad, we both know that would never happen and it’s kind of mean to joke about it, crazy.
This week, my adventure was supposed to end. I was supposed to have just finished hiking up Machu Picchu in Peru and be heading back to Canada. I had planned to take the next month off to visit friends and family in Canada and then go back to work. I had planned to try and start liking work, or finding a middle ground to be more satisfied with my life. Maybe start going to the gym? Maybe cooking dinner at home more often? Maybe learning to do the splits? I had lots of plans.
Then life happened.
I am currently sitting in an underground make-shift apartment in Split, Croatia and am processing everything that fell into place to get me here. It was not one stroke of luck, it was a succession of multiple plans failing and new ones emerging. It was about me losing a little control of my life, being open to change, being open to something new, going with the flow and being terrified at times to do any of it.
Here is a reflection of every failed plan in the last 180 days and where it has brought me today:
Well in advance of leaving, we booked our flights all around the world along with our one month tour in Africa. This plan failed. The Company we originally booked through, African Trails, cancelled their tour. We looked for a different Company with the same tour dates (mid-March), hoping we would not have to cancel our flights. Our travel agent finally found one, but Pam and I both had this feeling that it was better to delay the tour two weeks. Neither of us can explain this, it just felt right. That is how we ended up with Africa Travel Co. (ATC) and that is how we met Jac and Kevin.
Because of the change in tour dates, we had to cancel all of our flights around the world and rebook them, incurring change fees of $1200 each. It was a tough pill to swallow but for some reason – it just felt right to us. We still reflect back on how different everything would have been if we never booked with ATC.
Also, we had originally signed up with Anamaya in Costa Rica to do a one week yoga retreat the last week of April. This plan failed. After we completed our one week yoga and meditation retreat in Cambodia, we knew that we wanted to do the one month yoga teacher training instead. It was one week later, the first week of May. Luckily, they had two spots open, so we changed our plans and a new plan emerged!
On our overland trip through Africa, we met Kevin with whom we immediately became great friends. Everyone said that I would likely meet someone on this trip and I thought they were crazy. But it happened. Two weeks into the trip, I just started to really liked Kevin. He was smart, he was funny, and he was a blast to be around. Like they say, it happens when you are not looking for it. (For the record, I thought that line was total B.S. until it happened). For once, I went into it with no expectations and no over-analyzing. I just went with the flow.
I had originally planned to leave Cape Town the second last week of April. This plan failed. After a couple of days in Cape Town, I knew I should not leave as something was just starting to happen with Kevin. I needed another week to see what was happening. Luckily, because we switched our yoga retreat to the teacher training which was a week later, we did not have to be in Costa Rica until the beginning of May! I emailed my travel agent at 2:00 am the night before my flight and changed it to be a week later. If I got on that plane, I doubt Kevin and I would still be together.
On our overland trip through Africa, we also met Jac with whom we immediately became great friends. After the tour was over, we tried to convince her to ditch her plans to go back to Europe and come to Anamaya in Costa Rica with us instead. We emailed Anamaya but the training was full. It was disappointing but Pam and I knew we would see her again very soon.
When I got to Costa Rica to meet Pam, we received an email that one spot opened up in the teacher training! We could NOT believe it! We both emailed Jac the information and demanded that she join us. Jac had just gotten off of the plane in London when she received our emails. She took a day to process the potential change in her plans; she was supposed to be travelling through Europe for the summer! But she went with the flow and agreed to join us! In two days, Jac was back with us in Costa Rica and we were preparing for our training.
Even better, during the teacher training, Jac met Dave! Her plan to travel through Europe was further put aside and she is now travelling through South America with him. Because of all of our changes in plans, she is now where she is meant to be!
Finally, during the teacher training, Kevin and I started talking about me joining him in Europe in June. I had already booked with SAS Travel to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu at the end of June in Peru. I let this plan fail and let them keep my deposit. I knew Europe was where I needed to go. Kevin even suggested that I meet him in New York before flying to Europe together. I immediately agreed!
I bought a plane ticket directly from Costa Rica for a couple weeks after my training. This plan failed. After my training, I was ready to close the chapter on the first part of my world adventure. I wanted to go home and see my friends and family, repack, organize my house and my renters, put my car in storage and talk to work about the potential of not returning. I cancelled my ticket and booked a flight back to Canada and then one to New York. This was great as it allowed me to get really ready for Part II of my around the world journey – this time with Kevin.
If it was not for these failed and changed plans, I would not be in Europe with Kevin. Jac would not be with Dave in South America. Pam and I would not have met all the people amazing people we did!
Now 180 days later:
Six months ago, I was as single as you got. I did what I wanted when I wanted and I was pretty good at planning it all. But the fun plans I did make, were to fill an emptiness I felt in my life.
I was stressed, I was unhealthy, I was lost, I was alone and, at times, I was very unhappy. I felt like my life was on auto pilot – living each day but not really being present.
I wanted to change my life and knew that I needed to do something drastic to succeed. I wanted to leave my current life to go travel but I did not want to do it alone.
Then I got a travelling buddy.
Pam has been one of the best things to happen to me. I have never in my life been around someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Especially, NOT for six months straight. She is the longest, best relationship I have ever had!
Anyone who has travelled with someone, particularly long-term, knows that it is like a relationship. You make decisions together, experience everything together, sleep in the same room together. Basically, you are with this person ALL of the time.
She taught me to compromise, to share my space and my feelings, embrace the silence when nothing needs to be said and to enjoy every fun moment of being that close to someone. I tell Kevin that he has Pam to thank for training me for our time together. Pam has offered to teach Kevin everything she knows.
Like A Guide to Tori.
I am a very complex individual…
So here I am! Six months later, I am with Kevin and that is all that I know. Other than Turkey and Italy, we do not know where we will spend our last months in Europe. We have some ideas about what we would like to do, but do not really have plans. We are just living life as it comes.
If someone told me six months ago that this would become my life, I would have told them they were crazy. Looking back on it now, the only crazy thing would have been staying at my office job and continuing with the life I was living. It is for some people – but it is not for me. Not right now.
Thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way! I love and miss everyone terribly but I finally feel like I am exactly where I am meant to be.
Here’s to the next six months!