I’m going through a dilemma right now. It sounds ridiculous, and for me it feels like the biggest first world problem I’ve ever had, but I’m getting stressed out and cannot for the life of me decide what to do – or where to go – next.
I never had my heart set on living in Canada, but that’s the general plan for a few months. I have my work visa. Ash does not. Every process of his application has thrown a curveball our way, and with every curveball I question whether it’s a sign that we shouldn’t go.
And then I shake it off and think of all the wonderful things about Canada and my heart soars and I get excited all over again about the prospect of going back.
Part of it, I fear, is the feeling of comfort and familiarity I have at the moment. I remember arriving home after our 18-month trip and being terrified of the idea of settling down. I was still wide-eyed from everything we’d seen, and I told myself there and then, that if I ever get to the point of feeling too settled to want to up and leave on a big adventure, that’s when I know I’ve gone wrong somewhere.
Yet here I am, questioning whether to use my visa which wasn’t even that easy to get. (Though easier than Ash is finding it) So what do I do? Ash is adamant that I book my flight soon, and I know deep down that I will regret it if I don’t, just as much as he will feel awful that I don’t go because of him. After all, this is literally last-chance saloon. Even if Canada allowed you to apply for another visa the next year, it would be too late for me. As it happens, they don’t – so if I don’t go, I’ll never get the chance again.
I make it sound all dramatic, because of course I’ll be able to visit on a tourist visa, but to get the chance to live in Vancouver, one of my favourite cities? Or perhaps work in the middle of the Rocky mountains? Damn, that’s why I applied in the first place, and even the thought of it makes me giddy.
But what if I’m doing it for the wrong reasons? “I’ll never get the chance again”? Is that a reason to travel? Is it a reason to pack up all our things once more and live out of a suitcase for a few months? A few months ago, I would have been reading this incredulously and going, “uh, DUH, girl! Just do it!!” – so what’s changed?
Maybe it’s because I keep pining for different places. I keep seeing deals to Europe, and find myself wishing that I could go and explore new countries like Croatia or Slovenia or Latvia or Norway, but I can’t because I’m going to Canada. But it’s not all about visiting somewhere new; I keep dreaming of returning to Australia to see the bits that we missed, or Asia because well, we loved it so much. Or even small trips around the UK, or even Ireland, which isn’t even on the list of countries I’ve visited despite being the closest.
And it’s not that I’m scared of change either. If we don’t go to Canada, we’ll be moving to Edinburgh, and despite everything I said about settling down, I’m actually really excited to start a new life there. That comfort and familiarity feeling I said I have now? Everything will change regardless of whether I go to Canada. We’re not in a good situation at the moment (I’m not going to get into that), so frankly we’ll be leaving nothing behind except the friends who we’ve managed to keep despite living on the other side of the UK for almost a decade. I have nothing to fear when it comes to that, but there’s still a niggling feeling that whatever I decide to do will be wrong.
So what is it? Am I finally growing up and want to settle down? Am I fatigued by the idea of long-term travel? Will I get on the plane and not feel the spark I always get when I travel, or will that be a turning point and my heart will fire up and everything will suddenly feel just right?
I think it would be a stupid decision to never find out. My life’s motto is you regret the things you don’t do more than you regret the things you do. And because this isn’t a life-long dream, it makes it easier to back down if it all goes wrong, and to come home with no regrets. Australia was different – it was the “middle” of our trip and we had tons of travel planned afterwards. Everything weighed on how much we saved in Australia.
But Canada? I mean, I’m thinking it would be a good idea to do some serious road trippin’ while we’re out that way. But if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s half the price to go back there as it is to go back to Australia, and a third of the time. There’s less pressure to “do it all” (not that we did even half of Australia!) or rather “do it right”.
So I think it’s all down to the uncertainty. The fact Ash doesn’t have his visa yet, and perhaps won’t even get it. What if I fly all the way out there and it turns out our goodbye was for months because he can’t come? What if this was all for nothing, and I come home because I can’t find a job anyway and I’m miserable doing it solo?
But then I think so what? No matter what happens, it’ll be another adventure; another time in my life that I can look back on and say “that was crazy”. Because that’s what I want my life to be – a series of crazy moments where half the time I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, just to prove that I could. Sometimes I feel like I “wasted” half of my 20’s by owning a business, but then I look back and think, actually, what an incredible achievement.
Sometimes uncertainty shouldn’t hold you back because it helps you find your feet and push yourself to do something you never dreamed of doing. After all, what I did in Australia was a world away from what I imagined myself doing, and I had a fantastic time! Why wouldn’t Canada be the same?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting when something isn’t right for you, but at the same time, I’m not going to give up that easily on this literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or I’ll definitely regret it. Even if I come back with my tail between my legs, I think I should try. I feel like I owe myself that much.