Last updated: 08:47 PM ET, Sat October 31 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | October 31, 2015 8:47 PM ET

    10-Month Update: Sometimes, Plans Change

    10-Month Update: Sometimes, Plans Change

    PHOTO: Although I love the energy of a city, you can’t beat being surrounded by nature. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    I thought that I was afraid of complacency, so I left what I knew for something unfamiliar. I jumped out of my comfort zone in search for freedom, on a quest to find my own definition of happiness — which I thought was anchored in Berlin.

    In four months of being on the road, I had found home in the unfamiliar; in the quiet spaces I never knew existed. After traveling throughout Central America, I somehow found that this city girl wanted no more than a quiet life; the “pura vida” which literally translates to “pure life” — where material possessions did not define your status and what you wore didn’t define your class.  How you behaved, what you believed in and what you hungered for meant more.

    After five months of traveling throughout Europe, once I had reached my last stop in Italy, I had planned a return to Berlin to settle down and experience a city that promoted creative expression with open arms for the remainder of my one-year visa.

    For the past two years I had planned my life around this venture and believed that this was what I wanted. By March I had already chosen my neighborhood, made new friends, discovered my favorite hidden gems and found it easy to fit into the local culture. But I felt conflicted. I suddenly realized that my initial goal was no longer what I hungered for.

    The truth is, I didn’t want to settle down. I wanted to keep going, to experience as much of the world as I could instead of staying put. I no longer wanted to live in a city. I missed the ocean, the palm trees and villages where there were no buildings. I longed for the tranquility.

    It took me five months of indecision. I struggled with what was right and what was wrong, but knew that I did not want to abandon my pursuit of serenity and balance. One night, after a few too many glasses of the best Italian wine, I was on cloud nine and I suddenly came to the realization that I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. If the path you built no longer serves you, what is stopping you from creating a new one?

    I started all of this 10 months ago to be happy. I aimed to live a life that I would be proud of, that reflected me entirely. I was no longer the person I was when I left Toronto, and in a year from now, I will no longer be the person I am right now. So, instead of resisting, I have embraced change with open arms. Although I do not know where this road may take me, I am blissfully excited to see what unfolds.

    PHOTO: The best things in life are sometimes the unexpected (such as joining a hitchhiking race!) I may jump blindly but life has never been so exciting!

    I threw my Berlin work visa into the wind. I booked a ticket to Turkey, decided to participate in a hitchhiking competition where I traveled without money and camped in the wild for nearly two months and then went to Indonesia and Southeast Asia to live on tiny islands and foreign shores where I can rediscover the serenity I had before.

    This is why I love traveling: It has given me time to broaden my mind, expand my expectations and widen my horizons. It has shown me the world in a completely new perspective, in ways I never thought imaginable. I now look forward to every single day instead of sleeping them away and I hope each and every one of you takes a step out of your comfort zone to experience the abundance that the world has to offer. 

    I want you to be happy. I want you to go out there and to live — not just exist. To explore the world around you and see that there is so much more to life than what you currently see, hiding inside the shell of a city.

    You're alive. You are as free as you'd like to be, believe me.

    PHOTO: In the last 10 months, I have realized that a key to internal joy is living life on your terms. In the simplest terms: follow your bliss.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
Experience Alaska With Holland America Line

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships