Episode 001: The Importance of Travel

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Welcome to the LOKATE Podcast!

Each episode on this podcast, I will be interviewing guests, sharing experiences and uncovering the strategies and resources you need to build the life that makes sense for you. Whether that is fully moving to another country, or just finding new and exciting ways to inject more travel experiences in your life - there are options for everyone. No matter your life or financial situation. And this podcast and our blog is what I hope is going to get you there.

Tag along on this adventure and join me for new episodes for tips, tricks and advice on how you can get started.

For the first episode of the LOKATE podcast, one of my best friends and fellow travel blogger Elaisha Jade joins me to discuss the importance of travel and the profound impact it can have on your life.

From amazing experiences, to life lessons, meeting new people and learning languages, travel can bring so much to your life. Hit the play button on the recording below! You can also subscribe on iTunes, and Spotify!


TL;DR - Recap Points:

  • You have the power to change your life every single day
  • You're only ever as stuck as you choose to be!
  • Travel provides an amazing difference in perspective and reveals your potential in the world
  • You can use solo movie nights or eating dinner alone to graduate to solo travel
  • Travel isolates you into a weird silo bubble, it forces you to face yourself, your issues, and what might be a challenge for you
  • Working towards your dreams starts with a decision to commit and share your intentions with those around you
  • There is great power in symbols and images, use them to your advantage
  • Thoughts become things!
  • You have to get past your fear. Use it as motivation or energy, and just do it anyways
  • Fear setting is amazing activity to create your plan of action

 

You can also digest our interview in text form below! Enjoy!

To set the stage we were sitting in my empty apartment in Toronto, with n o furniture, sitting on pillows and drinking prosecco. Elaisha and I have had many conversations about our dreams, goals and aspirations in my apartment, specifically in my kitchen, where we would be sipping prosecco (this is a common element to our deep life discussions) but this time we decided to record our conversation!

The topic for today? The power and importance of travel. Travel can have such a profound impact on your life, from the experiences you have to the people you meet, the friends you make, it can be life changing.

Katie: I’m a huge believer that you have the power to change your life every single day. Maybe it’s a North American thing, where we get caught up in this day to day routine that we actually forget how to live. We get stuck in this rat race of finding the perfect job, partner or buying a house etc.

Elaisha: But then it turns into a rut. One thing about movies is that it’s an hour and a half, and they end. And there’s no reveal of hte couple’s first argument or first child, or what really goes down. You only see the happy parts. You don’t see that life continues beyond the perfect job, child, dog, house etc. As a result of this, with our generation, everyone ends up in a slump, where they feel like “cool, I’ve done all the things” or “omg, I haven’t done anything”. But in the end, what’s really important is that you’re alive and that you can decide you can control of your own life and do whatever you want.

Katie: You’re only ever as stuck as you choose to be. The world is out there waiting for you, it’s always an option to travel, adventure is always there for you. It’s a question of how brave are you willing to be to take a leap of faith and explore. Maybe go on longer term trips, or even pick up your life and move to another country. It’s not easy, but it’s totally doable. Unfortunately people get lost in the Instagram world, and say “wow how fantastic is your life and how lucky you are to travel", and "I wish I could do that” - and you can do it.

Elaisha: One of the things that I tell people, is that you can do it. You can travel more than you think you can. The other day I literally bought a $9 CAD Megabus ticket to go to Niagara. You can go on an adventure at any point, whether it’s a new place in your neighborhood or half way across the world. It doesn’t have to be expensive or grand, it can be simple and economical.

Katie: Travel can be for any budget. Getting lost in the world of instagram, you think that people’s lives are so perfect and things magically happen, or they have bucket loads of money. Travel is what you make it. Whether it’s short term, long term, picking up your life and moving, or doing programs like a study abroad or short term nomadic stays etc. Because we live in the age of the internet, you have the flexibility to work remotely or work for yourself, and how travel can actually fit into that.

Elaisha: Many people view points of their lives as freedom, and for me I view travel as freedom. There are so many set ways that we behave or routines that we build and traveling really breaks that, and reminds us that there is more than just waking up, making a smoothie, working out, etc your full routine. When instead, when you’re traveling, you have to force yourself to organize and experience things, whether those are experiences or meeting new people. Travel helps to push your boundaries.

Katie: I think one of my favorite things, that travel provides amazing difference in perspective. We have been blessed to have grown up in Canada for the majority of our lives, and to be Canadian and what our passport affords us in terms of where we can travel. Going to other countries, and seeing how other people live, and their privileges or even lack of privileges that people have. I saw this first hand, when I lived in Colombia, where I met amazing friends, and very quickly learned that they don’t have the ease or access for travel that we do as Canadians. This perspective is huge, and being grateful for passports that we have, meeting people from all over the world - this is another part of travel that is very special to me. The friendships that I’ve had, and language skills I’ve developed, where learning Spanish has completely changed my life. I have friendships with people around the world with people that I would have never had, if I hadn’t spoke their languages. I think it’s so important to have experiences that take you out of your comfort zone and expand your normal thoughts, or opinions about the world. Getting out of your own country, is critical to you developing as an individual, your world view, and who you are as a person. I think that my travel, and living out of Canada. It has also deeply and profoundly changed my life to show me who I am as a person, the type of person I want to be, and what I am and should seek for in my life.

Elaisha: Travel reveals your potential in the world. As we mentioned, there is the rut, especially when you hit that quarter life crisis. “Omg, there are so many things I need to do”… emphasis on “need” - but you actually don’t have to. One of the most important things that I’ve learned in my life journey thus far is that you make your own fairytale. You build your own dream and journey, and there is no right or wrong path. Last year, my best friend passed away, and that for me was the biggest catalyst for me to say “Ok, what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to pivot it into being the worst year of your life, or are you going to pivot it and let it be the best year of your life?”. So I could have run away from my grief, but instead I decided to face it, and I think travel helped me to get out of my comfort zones, and help me face my biggest fears.

Katie: I totally agree. I think that as tragic that her loss was, you choose to celebrate her life, and celebrate what she would have loved to have travelled with you. It’s also a stark reminder that your future is not guaranteed. Everything that we have, in this moment, in the present, is what we have. It’s a more eloquent way of saying YOLO (haha) - but you literally have this one life, and why not do epic things in this one life? My mantra is life is way too short to stay in one place.

Elaisha: This is such an important discussion to have, and one that wasn’t open in schools growing up. Everyone went to school, then bought a house, and had kids, and that’s what you did. And studying abroad, learning another language, or traveling on your own wasn’t really a thing. Where my mom was a huge part of my mentality change, and showing me a different life. I was homeschooled for high school, and it allowed me to have more time for volunteering, work, and it opened up other opportunities to save, meet new people and also go on travel adventures.

Katie: One of my biggest inspirations is my Mom. She is one that taught me to think outside of your own domain and borders. She is one of eleven children, and originally from England. She left when she was 23 years old (which was the same age that I left to go live in Colombia). She was the only one to leave her family at that time. I since have an Aunt who lives in Asia, and an Uncle who lives in Australia, but at the time, she was the first one to leave. As a female, in the late 70s - to me that is more scary than I have ever done. Traveling as a female, in that time, without the internet - is brave and impressive. She left England to come to Canada, where she was only going to stay for a year (spoiler alert - she never moved back). She came to Canada to be a nanny for two young boys for 2 years, and then decided to stay and attend college to become a Nurse and then she built her life in Canada. I think it’s hugely profound that she did that, at such a young age and was the only person in her family to do it at that time, in an era where making long distance calls was a huge expense. There was no email, or instant messaging! This is where I draw a lot of my inspiration to be independent and strong. So, thanks Mom!

Elaisha: There’s always that one person in a travel’s life who inspires them to get out there and do their thing. That’s why I love social media, where people are sharing their stories, and it inspires others to do the same. My first solo trip was a road trip across England and then going to Barcelona. It’s really cool to build trips around your own terms, and what I encourage other women to do. Start out with eating by yourself, or going to the movies by yourself. Then work up to traveling on your own.

Katie: Sometimes going to the movies by yourself can be awkward at first, because you think everyone is looking at you, and then you realize that no one cares that you’re by yourself. So the next level from the movies is going out to dinner by yourself. You can have a security blanket like a book or iPad to help ease you into dining by yourself. But then it’s all about eventually being totally comfortable in your own company, sitting confidently, enjoying your food, having moments of silence, turning off your phone and being present (on your own!). That’s sort of the beauty of that, and if you want to transition of it into travel, there will be times that you won’t have cell service, or you don’t need to broadcast your life all the time - which we’re all guilty of it. But sitting in your own company, and being happy in where you are, who you are in that moment and just enjoying that.

Elaisha: Travel definitely challenges you to do that.

Katie: Graduating yourself to solo travel freaks people out, and they start thinking, “what am I going to do?” or “who am I going to talk to?”. You will meet people on the way, and just be confident and comfortable on your own. Don’t stress. My first solo vacation was to Chile and Argentina, which was amazing and empowering. I was off for 2 weeks and whatever I wanted to do it was up to me, and whatever I wanted to eat was my decision. In the end, it was great and fun.

Elaisha: On a solo trip you can be as selfish as you want.

Katie: Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to be that selfish. We’re constantly worried about our family, friends, coworkers etc. We live in this society and time period where it’s hard to give time for ourselves.

Elaisha: Especially as a woman. I think that solo travel gives you the chance to experience an area through your own eyes, and not to allow anyone else’s judgements or experiences to pollute that experience.

Katie: Be in the moment. I’m guilty of doing this all the time. There are times I need to consciously say to myself “turn off your phone and enjoy what’s happening around you”. Embrace it, because your trip will end and you’ll be back in your normal life.

Elaisha: You have to catch yourself in those moments. There’s a lot of learning and undoing, but I think that because travel isolates you into a weird silo bubble thing (that’s a scientific term), ti really forces you to face yourself, face your issues, and face what might be a challenge for you. It also forces you to appreciate yourself and your good qualities and not be hard on yourself because you made it through something and didn’t die.

Katie: There will be things that happen on your trip where you will have to think on your feet and problem solve. You might have to communicate in a language that you do not speak, or rely on the kindness of strangers. I think it’s very powerful the situations that you can put yourself into through travel. It’s all about taking yourself out of those comfort zones, having new experiences, meeting new people, because again, you have this one life, and you need to do so much with it! Take advantage of every single moment and minute you have.

Elaisha: If you’re able to hear a slight echo in this episode it’s because Katie is packed. There is no sofa or furniture of any kind.

Katie: We are sitting on the floor as a reminder and very symbolic. And the reason is that my apartment is empty is because exactly in one month today when this episode was recorded, I will be moving back to Spain.

Elaisha: WOOOOOO! I am so happy. This has been a dream of yours for a while.

Katie: 8 years to be exact.

Elaisha: When you first mentioned it, you had this slight giggle, but then we were like ok, how do we make this happen?

Katie: I think that conversation even happened in my kitchen.

Elaisha: It did! Over another bottle of prosecco.

Katie: I think went from it being a dream, to very seriously thinking about how I can seriously action that dream. From there I created mini goals to get to the final outcome that I’ve been working towards.

Elaisha: And not forcing it, and being positive.

Katie: While being surrounded by supportive friends.

Elaisha: And also surrounding yourself with Barcelona things in your apartment. From artwork, to pictures on her fridge, to Spanish crafted bowls or plates.

Katie: But it’s the power of symbols and images. I wanted to be surrounded by what I was working towards everyday. I think it’s hugely important. The scariest thing was actually just telling people about your dreams, and goals. I went from saying “one day, I want to live and work in Spain” to then saying “I will live and work in Spain”. The power of words, and changing words is huge.

Elaisha: The big thing I learned from you is that thoughts become things.

Katie: So then I went from “I will live and work in Spain” to then writing down my goal with a deadline in a journal about 2 years ago. I actually broke the goal out into two different parts. But actually writing it down was the scariest part, because that made it real. So I wrote down “by my 30th birthday (Aug 16th 2018) I will … 1. be using Spanish in my job everyday and 2. living and working in Spain. Where #2 was the scarier part, because of Spain’s economy and I had no idea how I was actually going to make it happen. So not only did I write it down, but then I started telling people about it, and that was even scarier, because I had this ticking clock of a deadline. It was the fire I needed to light underneath me, to push me, to actually do it. And I started to do little things which helped me form my mantra for LOKATE which is “Do one thing this week that your future self will thank you for”. So whether that is studying a language, or researching the legal requirements, or thinking about how much money you would need and creating a savings plan etc. Whatever you can do, there is something you can do each day or each week - no matter what your dream is - to move you closer to your goal. It might take a long time, for me it took me 8 years. I will fully admit, there are times I got sidetracked. But, it’s about course correcting and thinking where you want to be 1, 3, or 5 years down the road and how you can work towards that. Dreams don’t just happen. They take a lot of hard work, discipline, and most of all passion. If it’s really important to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

Elaisha: That spark has been in you for a really long time and when you reminded yourself of that, there was a different light in you. You were Katie 2.0. It’s something you embodied, but that you embodied in positivity and attracting it to you. When these things happen, it’s because you put in so much work, but it shouldn’t be a surprise, because it was something you were meant to do. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it was easier that you could have imagined.

Katie: I think the things we want to do, are scary.

Elaisha: I want to move to Montreal! I putting it in the podcast, so now I have to do it. I’m going to do it! It’s scary and fun, but it’s always felt like home to me. Being around people who make their thing come true is inspirational, and makes me feel that I can do it myself.

Katie: I think the scariest things in life are the best things that we can do. It’s sad, because so many people want to do incredible things but they’re so stopped by their own fear. It’s about pushing through that fear, and accepting the fact that you could fail. Writing down my goal to move to Spain by the time I was 30, I was terrified to fail. I was more terrified to tell people because what if I failed, would they judge me?

Elaisha: Notice it wasn’t about Barcelona… it was about you being afraid. Fear is a story we tell ourselves.

Katie: You have to get past the fear. Use it as motivation or energy, and just do it anyways. It reminds me of running off a cliff and jumping into a lake (this is something we do in Canada), and the more you time you give yourself to psyche yourself out and not do it, the harder it is going to actually do it. Just embrace the fear and do it anyways, because what’s the worst thing that happens? It doesn’t happen? Well at least you tried. That’s what really changed for me, I wrote it down, and I told every single person about it because then you’re accountable. I sat with that fear of potential failure, and I told myself “even if I fail, at least I had the courage to try”. I would have these conversations with my Mom, and she could pick up on this fear that I was worried I was going to fail. She told me, “worst case scenario, you come back to Canada” - and that’s not even a bad worse case scenario. Canada is a beautiful place to live, work and grow up. Facing your fear is one thing, embracing your fear is another but then figuring out your worst case scenarios is next.

Elaisha: Fear setting….

Katie: You knew exactly where i was going with this… So there is an amazing TedTalk by Tim Ferriss about why you should set your fears rather than your goals, called Fear Setting. I watched this right after I wrote down by big scary goal to moving to Spain by the time I was 30. I found it hugely helpful to document what my fears, the mitigation strategies of said fears, and if they were to come true, what the solutions would be. I actually shared these with you, and then actually recommended that you do them.

Elaisha: Yes! I ended up doing it, and it was the best thing! It included starting my own business, moving to Montreal, and doing all of these big things. Where it gave me the chance to break down why I was afraid of doing them, and give myself a logical reason as to why I should not be afraid. I could look at it and say, ok, if my biggest fear is X and the solution for it is Y, then just do Y if X happens. It’s like speaking to your inner child, who is afraid of crossing the road, the cars will stop and the light will change and then we cross.

Katie: I think it comes down to the reason we might not travel more than we do now (like the average person), or change our lives profoundly in a different place for X time always comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of negativity, of not knowing how to do something, it being hard or different and that’s half the fun of traveling. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be the same. It’s about embracing the fear, doing it anyways, and opening yourself up to the most amazing experiences of your life -0 this is what travel has given me. Living in different countries, speaking different languages, connecting with the people that I have, is... life changing. And that is why we need to inject more travel into our lives.

Elaisha: Agreed. You have to put in the work, be social, while almost forcing yourself to enjoy the moment and not be anxious. With travel, you can transform the things that you are afraid of, and turn them into beautiful portraits of your life.


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