“Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.”
Unlike most Americans who spend their 21st birthday in a bar, I spent mine eating donuts and receiving cute cards and poems from the Nepali children I am currently living with. The quote above, one of my all time favorites, rings very true to why I have chosen to do this trip now rather than after I finish my studies. I believe that travel is the best education, so why not spend my twenties learning, growing, and becoming the best person I can be while experiencing cultures around the world. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’m in bed by nine (and to be honest, normally by eight), I read the BBC every morning, and I would much prefer to go on a run alone than to hang out with my peers. I’m not exactly your typical twenty-one year old to say the least.
I woke up at six this morning to a knock on the door and a small voice saying, “miss, miss, happy birthday miss!” My little nine year old friend entered, followed shortly by three of the other girls, all of whom handed me beautiful handmade cards. I went for a long run after breakfast, sprinting up and down the monkey temple (while trying to avoid those scary male monkeys), before walking to my favorite local sweets shops to buy 24 donuts. Don’t worry, they aren’t all for me, I’m buying everyone cream filled donuts instead of a cake to celebrate my birthday. I skyped my parents and my boyfriend, a very successful internet run to get both parties on in the same night, then helped the kids with homework once I got back home. I hung out with the girls at night, and had a simple, uneventful, yet perfect birthday.
Travel had made me who I am. It has made me confident and curious. It had made me open to new ideas and lifestyles, and it had made me the most “me” possible. I am in my prime, I am young and fearless (well, almost) and free as a cordless kite. I have no obligations, no commitments, and nothing to hold me back. Which is exactly why I find myself half way around the world for my twenty-first birthday still at the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing decade.