I found my purpose on a solo trip to Australia

Learning self-reliance and happiness through spontaneous travel

Image supplied by: Supplied by Maddy Crane
Maddy

If I had asked myself, “what is my purpose?” a year ago, I wouldn’t have had an answer.

My life was driven by fear and anxiety. I never would’ve imagined I’d impulsively book a flight to go across the world by myself to a place I’d only dreamed about. In the end, my trip to Australia was one of the most amazing and bravest things I’ve ever done.

It was a trip of self-discovery. For so long I felt like I was stuck. I was afraid of failing, afraid of what people thought of me. I wasn’t living for myself; I was living for others.

I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I felt like I had no meaning and was trapped in the same cycle every day. I lost interest in the things that I was passionate about.

I couldn’t balance school, work, and my social life. I was anxious about my future and if I was making the right choices. I had no direction or motivation to get anything done. Half of the time I would sit at my desk all day and ask myself, “what am I doing with my life right now?”

Then I casually started looking at flights to Australia.

I looked at flights all the time because I liked to imagine the what if: what if I were brave enough to travel to the places I dreamed of? What if I tried to find the things that would take me out of my comfort zone and make me feel like I had a purpose? What if I travelled to Australia and experienced all the things I’d dreamed of experiencing?

For so long that didn’t seem possible. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything by myself without getting anxious. As I sat and stared at my computer screen, something told me I needed to do this and finally take myself out of my comfort zone.

So, I did.

30 days later, I landed by myself in Sydney, Australia and freaked out. I knew nobody, I was alone in a different country, and I had figure things out on my own.

It didn’t take me long to start meeting people. I stayed in different hostels and while I was nervous at the beginning, I met so many incredible people—even some I would now consider my best friends. I immersed myself in beautiful scenery and experienced the Aussie wildlife.

This trip allowed me to explore my interests, develop new skills, and interact with diverse perspectives in ways I couldn’t have in the comfort of my home in Kingston.

During my trip, I hardly used my phone. My separation from technology made me conscientious of the impact being surrounded by technology all day, every day had on me.

A lot of my struggles came from social media. I compared myself and my progress to other people. I felt stuck with both my progress in school and my future career goals, as social media is everybody’s highlight reels of success. I was surrounded by everybody else’s accomplishments, which made me feel worse and perpetuated the feeling of being stuck.

Before Australia, I was so in my head and had unrealistic expectations for myself because I constantly compared myself to others.

I didn’t post things that I wanted to share for fear that people would judge me. I felt a disconnect between what I wanted to do versus what I was actually doing. Not having social media shoved in my face during my time in Australia allowed me to breathe.

While I was there, I gained so much independence and self-confidence because I was completely relying on myself. I felt free, like I was living a fulfilling life that made me so happy the comparisons were no longer necessary.

I took a step away from my priorities and the pressure and expectations surrounding my future. I was challenged to step outside my normal routine and comfort bubble, to do something that made me feel alive—even if it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.

Australia also helped me learn self-reliance and taught me I can go just about anywhere and do just about anything that I want. Getting out of my comfort zone allowed me to try something exciting and new, but also challenged me in a way that helped strengthen myself.

When I relied on others to help me succeed in the past, I’d been hindering my own self-growth and development. I’d been relying on others to teach me what I thought I needed to learn about myself, thinking other people would help me understand my purpose.

It wasn’t until I was alone in Australia that I realized I needed self-reliance. I needed it so I could be free from societal influences and discover my true self—the happiest version of myself.

I’m still on my journey of self-discovery, but I think I’ve finally figured out my purpose and meaning in life. I’ve realized I need to start taking risks and get out of my comfort zone more. I know I want to continue to travel and create new experiences for myself.

I know I’ll do what it takes to make myself happy because at the end of the day, I shouldn’t be relying on others to do that. I’ve learned you’re the only person who gets to spend every single day with yourself, so you need to do what’s best for you.

Australia got me out of my comfort zone and taught me the value of doing things for myself, alone. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

Tags

future, happiness, Independence, purpose, Self-Reliance, Travel

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