Cliffs near the coast

“Letters to My Younger Self” is a series focused on wisdom and self-awareness. Just as you write letters to a friend to encourage and uplift them, here is the advice we would go back and tell our younger selves.

Dear 23-year-old me,

It’s so good to talk with you. I’m delighted that we have this time to chat because I’ve been thinking about you lately. 

Do you remember when you were on that tour bus exploring the Great Ocean Road? You were sitting at the window, staring out at the landscape. The road was winding left and right, encompassed by trees. You were listening to “Luna” by Bombay Bicycle Club on repeat. You were jamming out big time in your head! 

You felt so content in that moment. You were so proud of yourself for getting there. You wanted to go solo traveling to Australia for so long. There you were in that moment, living your dream. It was now your reality. 

There you were in that moment, living your dream. It was now your reality. 

There was a feeling of magic in that moment. You knew it even while you were living it—that it was a slice of time you would relive over and over again. 

From the second the plane landed on the runway back home, you yearned to go back to that moment. You left a part of yourself there, willingly, with the knowledge that you would go back to collect it, like a suitcase dancing in rotation at baggage claim. 

Life began to get in the way though. The months turned into years and your triumphant return to Australia was pushed further and further back. It became a plan for “later.” Occasionally, on bad days, it felt more like a “never-going-to-happen” plan.

Life became a game of picking from a list of “shoulds.” I should get a career job. I should hold off until I have more money. I should wait for him to come back like he said he would.

23-year-old me, you didn’t know this yet, but you will repeat this pattern of listening to other people’s opinions more than your own. Don’t worry though. You will work through that slowly, but surely.

As the dark “should” clouds above you begin to lift, you remember your “later” plan of Australia. The desire to go never left you. It simply began to gather dust in the corner of your mind, waiting to be rediscovered. The moment finally arrives when you pick the flights, choose the seats and hit “Book Now.” 

The moment finally arrives when you pick the flights, choose the seats and hit “Book Now.” 

So 23-year-old me, you and Australia have a connection. You could have easily given up on that dream because it has been four years since that bus journey around the Great Ocean Road. What could have been an insignificant moment in an amazing trip is now the moment you think about with the utmost clarity. 

Maybe this delayed return flight to Australia has been good for you. During this waiting season the past four years, you have reconnected with yourself. You have tuned back into your intuition frequency after listening too much to others’ radio stations. And you know what happened? You finally listened. 

Through all of the internal noise and external chatter, you heard yourself. You were pointing yourself in the right direction all this time, and finally, you heard yourself clearly. 

Thank you 23-year-old me for bravely embarking on solo travel and getting on that tour bus. It changed your life. Ironically, you only got lost when you returned home, but that’s OK. You’re going back now, suitcase in hand, no more waiting around at baggage claim. It’s time to go.  

Australia, I’ll see you soon. 

All my love in the world,
27-year-old you 

What advice would you give to your younger self who is looking for adventure? What are some of the benefits of travel?

Image via Judith Sayrach

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