Ambition and “being happy with what you have”.

I am the queen of ambition. I am that girl who always wants more. I want to be the best at everything I do, the first to experience something, the most of any adjective. My dreams are not and never have been small. Every week I get together with my mum, and every week I have some new idea to propose to her.

“I’m moving to Jordan to study Arabic!”.

This was the last one. Just the week before I had been gushing about some other plan of equal caliber. I want EVERYTHING out of life. I cant help but constantly feel like I’m missing out and wasting time every second that I spend sitting at home and doing my mundane work. I want to live in every country, speak every language, do every job, experience every kind of love. Many would consider this a good thing. I know for a fact my life will never be boring, and that no matter where I end up it will be something ridiculous and beautiful in all of its own oddity. On the flip-side, I worry that I will never be content. So many people in my life are simply happy where they’re at. They work their 9-5, go home to their 900sq/ft apartment, zone out in front of the television, and go to sleep with a smile on their face. They go to family events and take turns around the table sharing the newest development in their office job as if the obtaining of a promotion is all they need to define their own success. And while in some ways I am grateful for my own incongruity to this lifestyle, I cant help but feel a twinge of jealousy at their contentment and worry that even the best will just never be good enough for my fickle mind. That I will always look for the next success, the next skill accomplished, the next language learned or company built.

So now I must try to learn the skill of INTERNAL gratitude. While I consider myself to be a grateful person, this love only extends to my surroundings. I am grateful for my amazing family, my friends, my home…But I skip over my personal accomplishments and skills. The second i complete a task, I roll my eyes and remind myself that any average human could have done it, that if I would have worked an extra 4 or 5 hours a day I could have completed the task in 30% less time, or that if anyone helped me to complete the task in any form that it doesn’t even count at all. I downplay what I’ve done, reminding myself that there are people of my age in the world who have gotten further, and this is something I desperately need to stop.

The question of all ages, is how? How can I do this without losing the drive that has gotten me the success that I have achieved thus far? How can I do this while still remaining motivated and not losing my lust for everything that i dream of and accepting average as good enough?

xo

Jaq

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On the adventure of staying still.

I have decided recently that I spend a lot of time running. Job frustrating me? Hop on a plane. Trouble with friends? Hop on a plane. Feeling lost and uneasy? Hop on a plane. And as romanticized the travel life is, and as beautiful and raw and life changing as it honestly is, I’ve decided to finally stop running; to stop trying to cover a wound with a Band-Aid, to stop trying to begin a new chapter before finishing the old one. So I am staying still for a while, and the idea terrifies me! I almost liken the feeling to being introduced to meditation. In meditation, you learn to stay still and allow yourself to just be with your thoughts, and that is scary! We in the western world are so obsessed with doing more, and feel lazy to even allow ourselves to relax for 5 minutes. You are forced to face aspects of yourself that you may not like, and to confront problems that you had been pushing on to the back burner.

Whatever it is, we think that once we obtain that goal, everything will finally make sense. Our anxiety will subside, and we will finally have the feeling that we know what we are doing, that this is where we were supposed to be all along. But realizations don’t work like that.

In fact, we’re all searching for the same things. We all want to understand ourselves, our goals, passions, to find our “calling” – so to speak. We all want to believe that once we do this one thing, everything will fall into place. It doesn’t have to be travel- it just has been for me. It could also be getting the dream job, moving to the dream city, or getting that one new material object we want. Whatever it is, we think that once we obtain that goal, everything will finally make sense. Our anxiety will subside, and we will finally have the feeling that we know what we are doing, that this is where we were supposed to be all along. But realizations don’t work like that. Instead, we need to cultivate this sense of self-discovery and understanding in ourselves everyday. But how?

Many of the things that make travelling such an effective self-understanding tool is that we are forced to face many sides of ourselves that we may not have access to in the mundane activities of every day life. We grow to see what is important to us, where our weaknesses lie, what makes us tick, and how we interact with ourselves. Therefore, the eventual goal in growth through staying still is to cultivate this curiosity about ourselves every single day. Travel within your own mind. One way I’ve found to do this is through painting. Expressing myself through art has almost become a practice of meditation for me that has allowed me to explore my creative side, notice my tendency to be impatient, and allow myself to slow down and not feel the need to be so consistently productive. If you’re craving culture, all of us city folk are so blessed in the fact that there is so much culture in every single city. This summer in Vancouver I visited a Chinese night market, ate gelato at Italian day, went to a party for Mexico’s independence day, and watched the Indian Vaisakhi day parade. Regardless of where you live, you could join a cultural dance class, language lessons, or a meetup group of people interested in different cultures. I get to experience little bits of the world every single day just by living where I live and I think it’s so beautiful.

Does this mean I’m not going to travel anymore? Absolutely not! I have about 10 destination considerations for the next year, but I’m just learning to do it for the right reasons. Instead of getting up and running, I’m learning to facilitate solutions, to listen to myself and what my problem is trying to tell me. And at that point, when I feel like I have detangled the problem and built back up from it, when I feel secure in my life, that’s when I go. When I’m ready, not when I’m trying to escape.

Xo

Jaq

My name is Jaqueline McCarvill and I am a commerce student, culture aficionado and solo female traveller. I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and have now visited 22 countries at 19 years of age. I’ve camped illegally in the caves behind Petra, broken and lost everything out of a bus window in Cambodia, and hung out in the slums in Colombia, all the while learning that the world offers us SO much, if we are only willing to look around and see it. I believe strongly in the power of natural foods, being interactive with your surroundings and self-reflection in the means to find and create your true self.  I hope eventually to have lived in a multitude of countries around the world, learning languages and integrating myself into a space of vulnerability and growth. The world is my playground, and I aim to inspire women in every walk of life to live their dream life and find a safe space of love and support, through all the pretty little pastries,  raw moments, and travel days that their hearts desire.