5 reasons why I travel

1:To feel anonymous

There’s something incredibly freeing about being in a place where you know absolutely no one, especially when you first move to a new city. The streets are yours and you can be whoever you want to be. That’s cheesy as fuck, but it’s completely true. Your mistakes are behind you, your insecurities can be dead if you want them to be, and you have a world of opportunities for growth, change and movement at your toes. 

2: To hike  

Hills and mountains and forests and water understand me better than I understand myself. Okay, okay, I know I’m being dramatic. But really, hiking is the one activity that always gives me the space to do the deep thinking I need to heal old wounds and rediscover myself. As a kid, walking into the woods playing pretend with my family and friends always brought me so much joy. So, it makes sense that I feel most full when I do so as an adult. I smile with my whole body when I’m hiking – happiness radiates from my eyeballs to my ankles, and that’s pretty special. 

3: To challenge my expectations

I can’t tell you how many times my expectations of places have been absolutely shattered after visiting. Krakow, Poland, blew my mind. People are incredibly kind, it’s lively, and it’s surrounded by nature that’s easily accessible. London, England, beat my patience out of me all three times I visited, though I expected to fall head over heels for its hustle and bustle. While everyone told me that I’d love Berlin, Dresden was the German city that really captivated me. And then of course there’s L.A., a place I was told was full of dirt, grime, and all manner of atrociousness. In the end, it stole my heart. Travelling has taught me to enter into new experiences with a clear mind and to erase all preconceived notions of what things might be and should be. 

4: To meet new people

The lessons I’ve learned from travelling over the last few years have almost all come from the people I’ve met. During this whole quarantine situation, I’m valuing the many people I’ve met during my travels more than ever. Different cultures have different opinions and mindsets than your own, and until you meet someone who comes from somewhere else, you’re ignorant to so much. If you know me, you know how damned chatty I am. It does a girl good while she’s on the move. From entrepreneurs to hitchhikers to musicians to artists, I’ve spoken to so many people of so many ages from so many places, and it’s really impacted how I interact with the world around me and formed my opinions on so many things.

5: To meet more of myself

Tori Dudys: she’s probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. She’s empathetic, compassionate, smart, ambitious, vocal, opinionated, fierce, a bit lazy at times, creative, inventive, strong, scared a lot, often confused, rough around the edges, and forever fascinated by new things. 

It’s okay to love yourself and accept your flaws, and the best way to discover what these are is to move forward – and sometimes backward if you must. I think maintaining a state of growth is all we can do to soak up as much as we can from this world. Before I started travelling, I was lost. I had no sense of who I was or what I wanted from life. I was depressed and constantly felt stuck. I was lucky enough to have the support I needed to push myself forward into new worlds, and I’m incredibly grateful for these opportunities. They’ve brought me back to myself, and ultimately saved my life.

Now, when I travel, I always meet new sides of myself. Whether it’s discovering a new passion or realizing I’m more resourceful than I give myself credit for, I’m always surprised to find new facets of my personality and soul. 

When I’ll get to travel again is uncertain but reflecting on past trips makes it easier to visualize things to come. I WILL finish those hikes I’ve planned. I WILL encounter new people. I WILL find more of myself. But until then, maybe there’s something in learning to stand still for a while. Being in one place for a long time makes me uncomfortable, and I’ve always found our most significant growth comes from a place of complete discomfort.  

A toast to friends

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

-Miriam Adeney

When I left Ottawa, three amazing friends accompanied me to the airport. After many hugs and kisses, I went through security and got to my gate. I sat down with my bags and when I looked up, I saw my buds waving and jumping trying to get my attention.

At that point, flurries of emotions ran through me like Usain Bolt and waterfalls of tears streamed out of my eyeballs. For the first time it hit me that I was leaving behind a comfort blanket of epic proportions.

After turning 18 I moved to a city five hours from my family. Ottawa became my new home and so many incredible people helped me transform from a delicate, bratty teenager into the woman I was when I left for Edinburgh. They understood who I was and accepted me inside and out, flaws and all. Would I find that in Scotland? Would I ever meet people who understand me the way they do?

For my first five or six months in Edinburgh, I really didn’t make many friends. Looking back, it wasn’t because I didn’t fit in or because I’m socially incapable—although for a while these were the reasons I continued telling myself—it was because I didn’t give myself the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.

I worked mostly alone and didn’t pursue any hobbies outside of guitar and writing, both of which I like to do alone. By five months in I was the most insecure and lonely I’ve ever been.

A good friend from home came up for a visit and urged me to find different work where I’d immediately get to meet a bunch of people and give myself a real shot at settling in here.

Thank God she did because as soon as I met my new work mates, everything I found difficult about living in Edinburgh became easier. I didn’t feel as lonely anymore and always had invites to interesting events that inspired me creatively. I started writing poetry and music and going on adventures I never imagined would be had.

Now, again, I’m surrounded by people who make me feel at ease and at home. I owe so much to my move to Edinburgh. Inconceivable amounts of self-discovery and healing have occurred since moving here, and the majority of all this happened thanks to the people I’ve met. They’ve taught me more than I’ve taught myself, and helped me grow into a much stronger and tenacious version of me.

My visa expires this September, so I’ll have to make my way back to Canada. I went out with a couple of good friends the other day and realised I have no idea what I’ll do without these people who have become closer to me than I ever imagined possible. Once again I’ll have to walk away from family knowing it will be ages before we reunite.

The bottom line is, with every decision, even the most positive ones, comes sacrifices. If you decide you want your life to be full of movement, self-discovery, cultural experiences, and spiritual and emotional growth beyond your wildest dreams, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that you can only be in one place at a time. The same way the magic of two or three places can’t exist in one city, none of the people you love most will ever be all in the same spot, and it could be years and years before you get to see them again.

I’m trying to keep in mind that, apart from constant social media interaction, post cards and phone calls, one way to really keep your friends alive in your life is by living the lessons they’ve helped to teach you. I’m a much stronger and understanding person because of the friends I’ve met, and the memories we’ve made will always keep me moving forward and growing.

So I propose a toast from all of us out there who have decided to explore: To the new friends we’ve made around the world, thank you for sticking by our sides, teaching us valuable lessons, and keeping us afloat when we had nothing else but your friendship. We salute you.

To all my friends new and old, in North America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and anywhere else your travels have taken you, I will love you forever, and am so grateful to have met you. I can’t wait until we meet again, and create even more memories and stories worthy of sharing with our grandchildren.