Words by Lauren Adcock.
GIRL ON THE MOVE: CHAPTER TWO
Well, ‘girl on the move’ has officially lived up to her reputation of ‘girl on the move.’ That’s right, rumour has it that perhaps I’m not cut out for this town anymore. Let’s rewind back to the last time I bored you all with my long speech about my lifestyle. Things were tough, but things were good. Working two jobs, usually back to back shifts, saving for spontaneous getaways, probably drinking too much, frolicking off into the mountains on my rare days off. I was coping, just surviving, but accepting of the idea that this was my new normal because it’s everyone else’s. Until. I cracked. I had almost all the odds stacked against me and I said hello to the non-glamorous side of travel that not many people open up about. This is part two of my journey. This is the raw truth about doors shutting in front of you and others opening when you least expect it. Part two is about finding out just how strong you are. It’s about establishing and recognising the difference between what you want and what you need.
Hi, for those who aren’t familiar with my wanderings around the world, I’m Lauren. Basic background information: my body was designed for summer, my heart was built to love life and my soul functions on always being on the move. I live in Canada, which tests absolutely every component of what I just listed. I’m currently writing by an open bay window and it’s profusely snowing. I haven’t been loving life so much lately, just purely because I have been stuck in this crazy pattern of sleep deprivation, working, you know, just being another Aussie product of the Whistler lifestyle. I haven’t been on the move, unless you call ‘being on the move’, a ten minute stroll around your village on a quick lunch break at work. I hate to be the barer of bad news to those who are consistently following my journey and commenting on normal photos turned into beautiful photos by a good VSCO filter in amazement at my newfound life, but I’m here to be real with you. Absolutely, it’s a stunning place to live filled with breathtaking scenery and not for one moment have I taken that for granted. However, the other week I got out my calendar and I reflected on my already three months in Whistler and finally had to face the question that I’ve dreaded facing here: “Is this how I want to spend the next three months of my life, or is it time for something new”?
I didn’t hit rock bottom, I just started spending most of my rare free time either exhausted, or stressing about what may lay ahead. Now I get that a little stress now and then is good for character building, but not when you’ve just entered your twenties and your biggest concern is finding somewhere to live for the winter, or dealing with credit card fraud authorities in Mexico. Absolutely, growing up was a huge reason driving the move overseas. However, the primary reason was and still is to live and breathe in a new culture whilst being able to still make time do to what makes my soul happy. Whistler Winter. It’s that dream lifestyle that thousands of young people fled their every lives to come and experience every year. Few dislike it, most fall in love with it and many will never come home. It’s magical. It’s the leaves changing colour, the snow falling, the abundance of people visiting, the flow of hot chocolate, the ridiculously appealing nightlife. Paired with those enticing things, is the reality of Whistler being Whistler. Small, with the staff housing to need for jobs ratio being totally off scale. I’m travelling by myself, which means that I can’t split the cost of rent with anyone else obviously. If the rare room became available for the winter, I’d be looking at spending at leased $1000 a month. It came down to making a big decision. To stay and commit to the winter season and potentially face the reality of couch surfing and returning to Australia with no savings, or to accept this as a sign that there’s another path for me. Another factor that is often hidden by travellers as it’s more of a personal emotion and constant battle is the loneliness factor. You’re in a foreign country, meeting new people almost every second, but very few people will fill that hole of missing someone or something that’s such a big part of who you are. It’s the moments where you’re on a high from being surrounded by friends at work, and then having to come home to an empty house which is filled with nothing but opportunity to jump onto social media and remind yourself of the geographical distance between you and home. Just one of those components of the rollercoaster ride that can really take it’s toll, and is often forgotten and hidden.
The other day, I was asked by someone that knows me very well why it is that I always try and justify my reasoning as to why it is acceptable for me to settle for this lifestyle. It is evident to those that know me, that whilst I always try and make the best of a situation that’s been given to me, I’m just not thriving here. And that is something that I have only just been comfortable enough to admit. I hate failing. I don’t like setting out on a journey and not finishing it. Aside from deferring my studies to be here, I have never given up half way through something that was supposed to change my life. When you’ve had endless support from family and friends and people all over the world who are intently following your journey, it’s embarrassing to face the fact that perhaps this wasn’t for me. However, now that I have worked through ‘getting over’ that theory, I can be the voice for many silent ones where we can stand our ground and admit that we aren’t giving up, we’re simply on the search for something greater. Here we are. Girl on the move. I have one final week in Canada, and then I’m back to Michigan to a place which feels familiar and feels like home. Moving back to Michigan doesn’t mean that I’m giving up, nor does it come as a ‘second best’ option. It just means that I have made a coherent decision to spend the next two months surrounded by family and friends, living a lifestyle that feels ‘right’ for me.
I’ve always lived on the philosophy that if something feels right, then I go with a feeling as opposed to logic and sense. Since one door has shut, others have opened. I’m currently writing at a desk which is overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful views, Lake Louise. The snow is falling, bringing out the sparkle in my eyes as I watch it lightly dust the pine trees that surround the lake. I’ve just recently returned from a quick getaway to San Francisco, which was filled with nothing but love and happiness and it reminded me that I have been blessed with every tool that I need in order to allow me to finish this journey with nothing but confidence and contentment. This is living. Part two of my trip isn’t about leaving part one behind, it’s about taking everything I’ve learnt, holding on tight to the memories and using those elements as a mechanism to grow.
Someone really important to me once said that you can’t force yourself to fall in love with something and it’s actually a strength to recognise where you need change in order to gain personal growth. You can lie to as many people as you want and illustrate your journey to make it seem flawless, but you can only lie to yourself for so long before you forget the things that are important to you and the goals that you set out to achieve in the very beginning. I was saved by an epiphany and basic intuition that it was time to immerse myself in a new world, and one that I can thrive in. Canada, you’ve been truly memorable.