A World of Endless Possibilities

16 May

Welcome Home!

It has been a few days since I arrived back to the States, and it is time for some reflection. What did I gain from my ten months of traveling? Was it just a fun time of visiting places, doing new things, making new friends? Or did I get something more, something that will forever change how I live my life?

Before I left for China last July, the first country of 22 I would visit over the next ten months, I had grand hopes for how this trip would change me. I knew that my perspective on how I should live my life wasn’t making me happy. But I had no idea how to change this perspective.

I hoped that going out into the world on my own, without the influences from American society, without the pressures of having a successful, high-paying career, without anyone but me telling me what I should do each day and how I should do it, I would discover what it is I really want to do with my life.

The thing about experiencing a change in your outlook on life is that you don’t really realize it as it’s happening. My dad asked me shortly after I got back if I had any revelations while on my trip. I thought and thought, but I couldn’t think of any big revelation I had that had brought about a huge change in me.

And yet, I feel like an entirely different person.

I can’t help it, I really love my Civvy!

Don’t get me wrong. I am still me. And I still love the same things. (Unfortunately, a year without material things didn’t make me less materialistic. It just made me really miss my stilettos, my skinny jeans, my Chanel, and my Civic. But I also appreciate them much more now.)

When I left, my life seemed like a narrow tunnel that I had to follow to reach some obscured happiness way in the future. I would (try to) constantly move forward in my career, working myself up the corporate ladder to some level of success that was undefined. I would (try to) find a good husband, buy a nice house, have some kids. I would take vacations when I could get away from work. I would see my family on the major holidays.

It would be a great life, an enviable life. But it just wouldn’t make me happy.

Somehow, somewhere between shrieking over leopards in the African savannah, flinging myself off a one hundred meter bridge with just a bouncy cord connecting me to solid ground, having confusing conversations in Spanish that sounded to me like gibberish, and scaling volcanoes and ancient mountain trails, I let go of the constraints that were forming a tunnel around my life.

One goal of my future life: see my family more!

Now the world seems like a place with endless possibilities. There are so many fun, exciting, fulfilling things to do, and I have an entire lifetime to do them in.

We humans are always confining our lives with what we think we should do, never thinking about what we want to do or what we could do if we only tried. The biggest gift this trip has given me is the realization that the only thing that was stopping me before from doing what I wanted to do and being happy with my life – was me.

What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?

10 Responses to “A World of Endless Possibilities”

  1. Swarum May 17, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    You are so very inspiring, CPL. I can’t wait to hang out with the new (and old) you again. :)

    • Carly Larson May 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks li’l Swarum! Can’t wait to see you SOON!

  2. Dena Weigel Bell May 19, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    If I could do anything I wanted…I would have a private pilot and no home. Just travel around being a modern, global nomad. : ) Well, that’s probably pretty extreme but it sounds good right now.

    • Carly Larson May 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      That would be my dream life as well! A modern, global nomad with a personal pilot! If only private planes didn’t cost so much. I have to settle for scouring the internet for flight deals and staying at cheap hostels.

      • Dena Weigel Bell May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

        And that would definitely cut into the vibe of the whole thing. I’d still settle for that, though! ; )

      • Carly Larson May 24, 2012 at 1:44 am #

        You’re right, economy seats and hostel dorm rooms are definitely not the same, but I’ll take what I can get!

  3. Dylan Romero May 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Welcome back! I really want to hear some stories and get travel advice… but it just might make me too jealous. See you sometime this summer hopefully.

    • Carly Larson May 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks Dylan! It’s good to be back. :) We definitely need to swap travel stories. I’ll be coming into Seattle as much as possible this summer, so I will for sure see you. Adam told me about a burger place in Seattle that sounds amazing, so perhaps we can get him to take us there sometime soon.

  4. Cris May 21, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    I like the sound of that: “Now the world seems like a place with endless possibilities.”… How is it going being home after months of travel and adventure?

    • Carly Larson May 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      It’s definitely an adjustment! There are some really nice things about not having to pack up and move around every few days, but I also really miss it! I’m already trying to figure out how to save for my next trip. In the meantime, I will be super jealous reading about your travel adventures!

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