One day, in a moment of wonderment, I counted all the places I’ve visited in my lifetime while chasing my dream—following my passion. At the end of it, I came to realize that I have visited over forty cities.
Over forty cities visited, can you believe it?
MY 50 CITIES WHEN I TURN 50 CHALLENGE
At the age of 47, I have eight cities left to visit before I reach a total of fifty cities. Making a celebration out of it—a celebration out of my many wonderful travels and a celebration out of all I have so thankfully achieved—I’ve decided to travel to eight cities before I turn 50. That fateful day will occur in 2018 and, by then, I want to say I’ve visited fifty cities.
That’s easy right? Maybe.
It gets harder after I’ve seen most of the nearby cities in Canada and North America. I haven’t been to South America, Africa, or Australia though. Perhaps I will make my next eight cities somewhere there—who knows?
WHY THE CHALLENGE?
Reaching closer to a pivotal time in my life, the day I turn 50 years old, is scary. I am being honest here.
Picture myself screaming:
“Oh gawd, that’s half-way to a century!”
Try to remember the time you were younger and you imagined what it was like being an adult. You pictured a world of opportunities and achievements and happiness, right? I did too. I was young and my imagination ran free.
I was so sure I would make a name of myself for myself and have everything I’ve always wanted within my reach—and I have, despite all the odds.
Forty seven of my years have passed and while I have achieved so much, there is a lot more I want to do. I think it’s rightly deserved, and healthily life-affirming, to celebrate this momentous occasion with one grand achievement leading up to it. Of course traveling is only one aspect of this game plan; it also includes working on my passion while I explore the world. And if there was only one thing I could do to celebrate this grand milestone, I think celebrating the occasion in remembrance of my younger self is worth doing.
When I was younger, and I imagined what it was like to finally be adult, I wanted to explore. But as the years went by, and life took its course, I encountered more than a few obstacles.
There were obstacles that not only challenged my childhood dream, but my career, family, and spiritual life. You could say that I’ve diverged from my life path and my dream from time to time, but I’ve also found my way through it all here and there. Life was
okay… I was doing what I was supposed to do: raising a wonderful family, making money, doing community work, etc. I was on the right track.
So I thought.
I still had questions that were nagging me endlessly: is this it? Is this all? Is this what I’ve been put here on earth to do? Am I truly happy with my life so far?
After years of soul searching, my answer was yes! But I needed to move faster to fulfill all my goals in life—in one lifetime.
One of the biggest moments in my life that knocked me over from my “so-so” kind of life, and put me back to my life path with speed, consists of three short stories.
MEET THE THREE PEOPLE WHO KICKED ME OFF MY COMFORT ZONE
Someone I knew for twenty years
I saw her while walking down a Los Angeles street in June of 2012. She was just sitting at a café and sipping a cup of coffee, but as I drew closer, I could see her clearer. Her face was ghostly pale and her hair, white and silvery, moved with the gentle breeze as she stared blankly at nothing. An unsettling feeling swelled in my chest as I passed by her table; she didn’t even blink. Was something wrong?
Later that day, a friend told me that the woman was in fact ill. She was struggling with trying to “fix” her health and spiritual life; something she wished she had done 20 years ago.
I couldn’t sleep that night. For a long time, I was lying in bed thinking about how I saw her at the coffee shop, and how difficult her situation was. I decided that I would not live like that. I decided that I didn’t want to wait until my body is too frail to try to do what I want to achieve in life. I didn’t want to become that person that someone else would see and wonder about, and have them feel deep down that something wasn’t right about me.
The retired couple
My husband and I visited Montreal for our 25th anniversary just last year. We were on our way up the beautiful Mount Royal when we met a couple that was struggling in their climb up the steps. They were a very sweet couple who turned out to be retired since 3 years prior.
As we descended the steps, the wife shared with me that her biggest regret was waiting so long to do the things she wanted to do in life.
My friend’s father
My friend’s father died this August—two months after he said goodbye to his co-workers and finally retired from his job.
According to my friend, her father was looking forward to finally do the things he had wanted to do all his life, just like what his father had done before him: to travel, explore, and do the things he was passionate about. He kept his dreams under wraps while he worked in the corporate world for 30 years, saving and dreaming of the day he can finally retire and fulfill his dreams. But it was not to be. He died without fulfilling the dreams he longed and worked for.
I can say with confidence that there are many people in my life that have influenced me and all I have done and will do. And I am forever grateful. But these three people have left an imprint in my mind that reminds me everyday of what my life purpose is: to achieve everything I’ve always wanted; to help as much people as I could; to pursue happiness; to never stop exploring.
WHERE MY LOVE FOR EXPLORATION BEGAN
I was six years old when I was living at home in the mountains. One morning, I was sitting on a rock surrounded by the beauty of nature around me, and I watched as the clouds softly kissed the mountain ranges. As I admired it all, I wondered what was behind those mountain peaks. I wanted to fly over them and see what was there—to discover what kind of people lived there and in other parts of the country and the world….
From then on, I’ve always wanted to explore and see further beyond any mountains or borders.
This insatiable longing to discover persisted over the years so much that I’ve always managed to wander—even locally. I’m always finding places most people don’t know exist.
When my kids were younger, I would take them to little adventures around the city by bus. We would pack up and spend the day wandering around and exploring places.
This routine coincidentally helped my oldest son become familiarized with the entire city that, at 7 years old, he was capable of going everywhere in Toronto. He even volunteered in many occasions to escort relatives and friends who were new to the city and showed them around, for which I am very thankful.
And there you have it. My “50 Cities Before I Turn 50” challenge. Having published this article, I suppose it adds more pressure to complete the challenge.
But I think it will only push me closer to my goal, if anything. So stay tuned, and I’m certain we will have more to celebrate once 2018 and my fiftieth birthday rolls around.
Now tell me, what are you passionate about and how do you plan to explore it?
Imie is a Marketing & Lifestyle Coach, teaching businesses and organizations how to attract more clients and create a business and lifestyle they love. Her other passion is staying healthy so she is always looking for natural and organic alternatives.