A letter.

“We have two lives. The second begins when we realize we have only one.” – Confucius

Looking back at the last 29 years I’ve seen, accomplished and learned a whole lot. I’ve also been a rigid planner, my life always needed to be planned and I needed to know where I was going. As I’ve grown throughout the years, I realized life is not meant to be lived like that.

Leaving Luxury Retreats/Airbnb has been bittersweet. When I got hired in 2016, HR sent me my welcome package and the first thing I noticed was “a great opportunity to make some fantastic friends.” That line did not disappoint. I have met some of the most amazing individuals and have created quite a few good friendships.

Was everything perfect? No, but in any company, it is not especially one who is going through growing pains and acquisition transition.

But, Luxury Retreats/Airbnb what you have given me is the ability to adapt to change, share my passion with the team, confidence but most of all the most amazing human beings.  Individuals who supported me through difficult times in my life and through the amazing times. When I gave in my resignation, I did not expect everybody to be so excited and proud of me. Because of that, my fear and anxiety of leaving have turned into excitement and joy. I am forever grateful to all of you at Luxury Retreats/Airbnb. My heart is full and you will not be forgotten.

Now it is time to live by my own mission statement when I came up with it one day in the fall. I booked a private room with Breather for two hours. I brainstormed with a whiteboard and recorded myself talking and played it back. What came up was: inspire and motivate people to create their own adventure and live a life they want. When I said it out loud I started to cry, then laughed because I was crying.  That was powerful.

Here’s to creating my own adventure and living a life I want. The trunk of my car is filled with my personal belongings. I am driving from East to West of my own home country, Canada. I have no idea what happens next.

And off I go into the open road.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

There is only you – Many Faces Many Places

There are many benefits to traveling solo – you only have to take care of you. You can create your own schedule, you can meet people if you want to, you can be a tourist and everything you do is your choice.  There is nobody with you that you have to compromise with, there is no friend, no partner and no kids. It is great, being a solo traveler myself, I love it! But just like everything there are the challenges that come with it. One of the biggest ones is that it is just you.

Kat Gaskin, the creator of the Salty Pineapple – “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown & be sweet on the inside” – went on an adventure in 2015 to Australia. Prior to this trip, she had quit her 9 to 5 to freelance and create her own brand because she wanted to be her own boss.  At that time, there were many challenges in her life including her partner who she was with for 11 years. They got married and through time, they realized they had grown apart. She wanted to travel and he was not on the same page.  After they separated she decided to go on her dream trip to Australia.

Her adventure in 2015 was about 6-7 months where she ventured to Fiji, Australia, Bali, Maldives & Singapore. Before she left on her big adventure she met someone (of course, it always happens just before you leave). During her trip they tried to keep in touch, the longer they were apart the harder it was.

One evening in Bali, she got invited to a Chinese supper.  The restaurant was gorgeous, filled with big round tables and inspiring architecture. It was a beautiful supper with tons of people. Even when surrounded with so many people and as she was socializing she realized at that moment that she wished he was there with her to share this experience.  This was the first time on her trip that she felt lonely. That no matter how many people you are surrounded by, if none of them are your friends or family or significant others – it does not make a difference. The feeling creeps in and you feel sad, lonely and scared.

David Mitchell once said “Loneliness is an integral part of traveling. I used to think it was the downside to traveling, but now I realize it is a necessary educative part of it to be embraced.” When we travel and we have feel lonely, we learn something about ourselves. As for Kat, she journaled and wrote down everything – her feelings, her thoughts, her adventures & her experiences. She constantly reflected throughout this entire trip through the amazing times & the tough times. At the end, one of the most important aspect that stood out for her was that she was grateful for the opportunity and a year ago this would have never happened.  This trip was what she always dreamed of and she got to experience it.

You can follow Kat on Instagram via katgaskin & go check out her Salty Pineapple Shop – there are some SUPER cute mugs!