Meet Marija; she used to live with such a mindset as, “When I have this or that, then I will be completely happy and will live in my inner peace,” or “When I visit all the countries around the whole world, I will be able to settle down in my home city and live a regular, routine life,” etc. It was never enough until she started to understand that it is just an illusion – life is happening now and here, where Marija currently is, physically and mentally
Tell us your story.
I still remember it like yesterday – the feeling of going on my very first trip by plane! I, an undergraduate student who just recently moved from Klaipėda to the capital city, was full of joy and excitement with eyes open to the world. From that moment on, you can say that I got a lifetime addiction – a strong desire to travel! From a young age, I knew exactly what professional path I would choose in my life and that I would be one of those living in a big city, working from 8 to 5, and having a daily office routine. And I can say that I do not regret my choice. When you really want to, you can certainly combine five working days of office work with traveling around the world. After all, there are weekends, holidays, and vacations for that; it just takes careful planning! I aim to go on longer trips at least every 5-6 months and organize shorter weekend getaways at least once or twice a month. Although I must add that if circumstances allowed, I would freely be a full-time traveler. But who knows – maybe one day it will become a reality! Today, I have visited more than 20 countries and I would not single out one foreign country as my favorite. Every direction I go to is a new life lesson for me, an experience gained that infinitely broadens my perception.
What were the biggest lessons you learned on the trips? What did you understand about yourself?
I have to admit, a bunch of different insights comes to my mind while I am on vacation, but the more I travel, the more I understand the truth of how lucky I am and how much I, as a human being, possess. Starting from very basic needs like having clean water to drink every day, being healthy, and having loved ones around me. Unfortunately, when we get used to such conveniences, we take them for granted, despite the fact that a huge part of the world’s population doesn’t even have clean water or sufficient food. So lesson #1 – be more grateful for what I have in my life. Lesson #2 – time flies swiftly and we are here, on this planet, only for a short time. In fact, I don’t even know when or under what circumstances this perception came to me. I would only guess – it was all because of people. The people I met in different parts of this world gave me this understanding. Meeting different people and listening to different stories definitely brings the perception of how fast everything in life can change and how much I (and all of us) should appreciate the chance of life that we got. Lastly, lesson #3 – no matter how far I will go, my true and only home will always be myself. I used to live with such a mindset, thinking, “When I have this or that, then I will be completely happy and live in my inner peace,” or “When I visit all the countries around the world, then I will settle down in my home city and live a regular, routine life,” etc. It will never be enough until I realize that this is just an illusion – life is happening now and here, where I currently am, both physically and mentally.
Do you feel your life has turned out differently than you previously thought? Maybe you found yourself different from when you always thought?
It’s a big YES, and a little bit of NO. I was always sure about some aspects of my life when it comes to my career and overall well-being, but other than that, the rest was just a series of fortunate coincidences. I definitely found myself much more different now, compared to what I used to be or what I imagined I could become. And to be honest, it’s not important whether my life turned out better or worse, the most important thing for me is that after all I’ve been through, I can say that I am happy with who I am, and I feel more than satisfied with my life. I am simply proud of myself, and that’s a wonderful feeling.
If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would definitely start traveling way earlier in my life… and maybe go abroad for more international study experiences.
If someone is secretly dreaming about the lifestyle you are living now, what would you tell them?
Not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes others might think that people around them have everything so easily and they are super successful, happy, and blessed living the dream. And this might be true, but not for all of us. Many people struggle in their lives at one point or another, and I was one of them. What’s more important is understanding that it’s all in our hands and we are the only ones responsible for the lifestyle we are living. So firstly, dream big and work hard to make those dreams come true, and secondly, never underestimate what you have today because there will always be someone who dreams of a life like yours as well!.
Is it scary to go on the adventure of a lifetime?
It is always a little bit scary, but far more exciting at the same time. I remember when my husband and I decided to do the Camino in Spain right before our wedding as a last challenge before we got married. Even our wedding planner was so worried about our idea (not to mention our parents), just in case we wouldn’t come back or change our plans afterward. But all those fears are just in our heads. And I must say we did come back, albeit a bit different. Those 30 days on an 800 km road with only our backpacks was a massive adventure for us. At the time, we didn’t realize how this experience was changing our perspectives on life, but now, without any doubts, I can say it was one of the best decisions we made. And I repeated this journey alone a couple of years later, traveling another 800 km along the coast in Spain. It will always be a little scary to step out of our comfort zone, but that’s one of the ways we grow as individuals.
Living the way you live, what was the hardest thing in this whole experience?
The hardest thing was to accept the truth that we, as people, are all very different and that there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for success or likability. But at the same time, this aspect, of us all being unique with our own life stories, adds beauty and depth to our human experience, helping us learn from and inspire each other to grow and strive for more.
What are your next steps? Is there any adventure you are planning?
As my husband always teases, I probably have plans for five or even ten years in advance, and I won’t lie – I really do. J Despite growing career opportunities, traveling will always be a part of my future plans. But I can disclose a little secret – my husband always dreamed about going to Japan, and I am dreaming about the day when my foot will touch my dreamland – Bora Bora. So, as always, working hard on getting those dreams into reality! Nevertheless, such destinations as the United States of America, Peru, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Austria or Montenegro are on our bucket list as well.
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