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When you talk to people about their passions and goals, nine times out of 10, you hear about their travel aspirations and wanting to explore the world.

Especially in the wake of COVID, people have put even more emphasis on making memories and visiting places they’ve always wanted to go. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit the Amazon rainforest or go to a football game at Wembley Stadium?

Well, until very recently, I myself had no desire to travel across the world. I was a kid that always spent my summers in northern Ontario at the family cottage and would go to Florida for every Christmas and March break vacation. While technically going to Florida counts as travelling, it was basically the only place I had ever gone to on an airplane.

I became very comfortable with these close destinations, so I never had any aspirations to go elsewhere.

However, during the pandemic, I quickly realized how much I missed getting away from my regular routine and having a change of scenery. My partner felt the same way and was getting stir-crazy in Toronto, so we travelled to a few destinations, such as Los Angeles and New York, in late 2021 and early 2022. While both places were still in North America, I was starting to leave my comfort zone behind and was making new memories in brand-new places.

Having these travel experiences over the last year helped me make the most significant decision of my life in May of 2022.

My partner was given the opportunity to play professional baseball in Paris, France, and I decided to go with him and live in Paris for three full months. Going to a new continent, being away from home, and living in a place with a language barrier were some things that made the decision daunting, but I knew this adventure would help me grow as a person.

After only a few days in Paris, I knew how close-minded I had been and what I was missing out on by not exploring the world sooner. The stunning architecture, delicious food, and new culture were some of the most unbelievable things I have ever experienced! I quickly learned enough French to go to the grocery store, order at restaurants and make small talk with Parisians.

My partner and I even got gym and golf memberships to really embrace living like locals while on our adventure!

Getting to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, swimming in the ocean in the South of France, eating fresh baguettes from local bakeries, and going to the French Open were just a few of my life-changing experiences. Without getting on that plane to France and pushing myself to try something new, I may have never seen what the world has to offer.

Looking back on my trip, I think about the minor things I miss every day, like going to our local grocery store, taking the subway around the city, and living in a tiny Parisian apartment. After having this adventure, I not only have a newfound passion for travel but for doing the unexpected. I went beyond my simple life in Toronto to experience some of the most beautiful places in the world.

The message you should take away from this story is don’t wait until you retire to do what you love and are passionate about. If you want to travel, I encourage you to work towards goals that allow you to take some time off and learn about the world. Anything from a beach vacation to charity work is a way to get out of your normal routine and become a well-travelled person. While I have only had one significant experience thus far with travelling, I can honestly say that it only took once for me to realize how important it is to me and how much more I want to do it.

Maybe my next adventure will be to Australia for some surfing or Italy for wine tasting. Wherever I go, I know my time in these places will continue shaping me into a more humble and cultured person. I can’t wait to see where I end up next!

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