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I had my 28th birthday this week. I know 28 isn’t usually an important birthday — it’s just one more step towards 30, right? — but to me, it had a bit more resonance than my last few birthdays have.
Why? Well, it started with a trip to America last year. I needed some good reading for the long flight, so I downloaded The Lost Girls onto my Kindle. I expected it to be an entertaining tale of three girls that traveled around the world, but what I didn’t expect was for it to be so inspiring.
In the book, the three girls find themselves in different circumstances in their 28th year, but all of them lead to the same decision — the decision to pick up and leave their lives in New York to travel the world. Their thoughts closely echoed that doubts I’d occasionally had during the rough times of being an expat, such as:
As we rocketed toward the next major stage (the one involving mortgages, marriages, and 2.2 children), we all wondered: Were the paths that we were heading down the right ones for us – or were we simply staying the course because we thought we should? Was the road most frequently traveled the one that we wanted to follow?
Having just finished a few 80-hour work weeks, this really spoke to me. However, while I was incredibly inspired, I was also happy with my job (at least, when there were shorter hours) and my life in Brisbane, so I wasn’t in a hurry to uproot myself.
Now that I’ve hit the “big 2-8” my perspective has changed slightly. I’d love to pack up my life and head off into the unknown, but that’s not the part of the book that inspires me now. Instead, I find myself looking at how they took the time off not to travel the world, but to concentrate on themselves without the stresses of everyday life weighing down on them.
Now THAT is what I want. I’ve worked in a few different roles at my company this year, and I want to have time to think about what I enjoy doing the most and where I see my career going from here.
I want to have the time to learn more in my field — and at this point, that will probably take the form of learning how to develop iOS apps.
I want to finish watching all of the seasons of Dexter because the combination of a very addictive show and being 4 seasons behind means I’m currently watching multiple episodes a night, which kind of cuts into everything else I want to get done…
I want to have time to concentrate on this blog like it deserves. I have so many stories and photos I want to share but the time just hasn’t been there to share them. I promise, there will be more stories about my trip to Portugal and Spain coming soon!
I want to travel to new places and experience new cultures — but I won’t rule out visiting a few old favourites too, especially in light of the next point…
Most importantly, I want to spend more time with my family — the family that lives scattered across the world and very far away from Australia. One of the toughest things about living here has been the distance that stops people from visiting very often, so I want to try to make up for that.
While I haven’t actively been thinking about The Lost Girls when laying the groundwork to be able to do these things in my 29th year, they were certainly what got me thinking about it in the first place. I haven’t hit that “next major stage” yet and I think it will still be a few years before I do. Until then, I’m happy to take on the label of being “irresponsible” for stepping off of the standard life path — because I would really regret it if I didn’t. As Lost Girl Holly said:
I recalled another Buddhist sentiment from a book of quotes I’d gotten back when I was a happiness editor: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting.”
What books have you read that have inspired you to go out and change your life?
This post contains affiliate links which I can make (a very small amount of) money from. Also, to learn more about The Lost Girls, please visit Lost Girls World.