Here I am: all packed up and ready to go home. My real home. It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 months already since I left Canada with only my backpack and a thirst for adventure. I knew from the beginning that this journey would be a life-changing experience. I remember my departure as if it were yesterday: I was sitting in the plane heading to The Gambia with mixed feelings. I was both scared and excited, but I knew deep down that I was making the right decision. For me, life is about following your dreams and getting out of your comfort zone. It is in our most vulnerable moments that we truly learn about ourselves and see life from another perspective.
My journey taught me two major life lessons: first and foremost, that happiness is not about how much we possess, but how we perceive life. In every country I visited, no matter their age or lifestyle, the people I have met were happy, optimistic and grateful. They live one day at a time, enjoying whatever they have. A shelter, enough food, a healthy family, this is what really matters to them -the rest is luxury. My travels made me realize I didn’t need much to survive and be contented. Ladies take note: it is possible to happily wear the same wardrobe for 9 months!
The second lesson Africans taught me is to take my time, to breathe, to live in the moment. We live in an individualistic society that never stops. We too often forget to simply smile, to greet people, to take a few minutes to chat with our neighbor or give a hand to a friend. Africans always take their time and find time for others. This really helped me to become more conscious of my surroundings and realized how easy it is to appreciate the little joys life brings us. Life is full of wonderful opportunities that can make us happy, we just need to seize them.
My time has finally come to say goodbye to this beautiful continent who taught me so much. Thank you to everyone that was part of my story, but also to all of you for reading my blog throughout the year. I hope you also learned and enjoyed traveling with me. And if one day you’re wondering where to travel next, give yourself the gift to visit Africa. You will come back changed, trust me.