The Meaning of Life (and other such nonsense)

Dear readers

I’ve touched on the topic time and time again but this time I’ve decided to write a more in depth analysis on why the hell I can’t sit still, and exactly what it is that constantly draws me to the Unknown.

I used to hate change. My anxiety during my teenage years was pretty overwhelming. Every now and then I still get those old pangs of fear when I have to find the entrance to a building I’ve never been to before or when no one wants to go on a toilet expedition with me.

I’m slowly learning as I get older that no one else has a clue what they are doing or where they are going either. What’s the harm in pushing a pull door or having to ask someone for directions? We’re all just humans bumbling around and trying to find our place.

Through my amazing job I experienced my first solo adventures. I was travelling with other people that I had never met before. I didn’t have anyone to rely on, there were no preconceived ideas about who I was. I was completely free to be myself. What an intoxicating feeling.

My favourite thing in the entire world is a straight tie: travel and people.

I adore entering a new city and finding my feet there; absorbing the locals, the streets, the food. I love listening to the way they talk and finding a good seat to people-watch from. I really enjoy staring at others while they experience things for the first time too. I did that a lot on my America adventure. Watching school kids glace awe-struck at Abe’s monument or families spin on the spot in the centre of Times Square. I shared awkward grins with fellow ghost tourers in Key West and high fives with new friends at the top of the Rocky Steps in Philly.

I love people. There are so many funny, interesting, odd, bold, awe-inspiring folks in the world. What better way to find them than by throwing yourself in to unfamiliar surroundings in the middle of a city neither of you have been before? What better way to connect with someone than over a shared loved of travel and adventure?

Group touring is the greatest thing in the world. I have met some of my best friends while on Contikis and Topdecks. It’s a group of strangers bonding tightly because you’ve become each other’s family. I can tell people I’ve known for a week that I love them and mean it. You can be 100% yourself with no past burdens, no preconceived ideas. What better way to fall in love than with a genuine, honest and true fellow human with the same passions and interests as you? In case you haven’t noticed, I fall in love a lot.

Now I’m not talking holiday romances here. Those are a completely different kettle of fish that I’ll touch on later. I’m talking familial love. La famiglia e per sempre. The bonds you make with these people through shared experiences, like bonfires at Bass Lake or messy afternoons post brewery tour in Toronto, will last forever.

Social media is incredible because it gives us the ability to keep up with each other’s lives despite how busy we might be or how far apart we are.

I’ve always been the type of person who gets attached easily. I have a lot of love to give as Jessie likes to tell me! I get hurt easily but I’ll never stop pouring my heart out to people I care about. It’s a hard way to live, but I wouldn’t change it. You won’t always get it back, but sometimes you do, and it’s lovely. (Can I get a hell yeah from all the other Cancer babies out there?)

Through travel I have met people just like me; honest, bold, silly, loving. They are genuinely my soul sisters and brothers. No judgements, just love and fun.

Now holiday romances are a double edged sword. They flesh out the story like no other part but oh man it’s hard to let go of the potential. I hate that word. Everything always has potential even when it doesn’t. I hate endings. But who knows where the road will lead hey? Chatting to a beautiful friend I made on my recent trip, Jasmine, she made a very good point about making plans. You can’t know what’s going to happen next year, next month, or even tomorrow. Just enjoy the moment.

I’m still learning this. I always want more, but I know I’m lucky to meet these special people at all. It’s better to have loved and lost as they say… And we’re all still here. We’re all alive and living on planet Earth. What’s meant to be will be. For now, you do you!

To me, the meaning of life is all around us. It’s other people. It’s making connections. It’s sitting at the bottom of a waterfall in Yosemite with a group of friends and joking about bears. It’s passing a beer around the circle on a cold night and telling stories. It’s dancing like no one is watching while someone sings terrible karaoke and cheering like they just won a Nobel prize as they come off stage. It’s chatting to the bar tender at after work drinks when no one else wanted to go with you.

These little moments all come together to create the story of your life.

Will yours be worth reading? Make sure of it. Don’t be scared. Get out of that comfort zone and live a little. It’s never too late. You’ve nothing to lose.

All my love

Harleigh Q

xo

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