At the start of a new year people want to improve themselves, or to take their lives in some new, fantastic direction. I am no exception to this tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, and recently, events have occurred which have given me time to pause and assess who I am, and what I want most out of life.
Recently I wrote that I was being considered for a bus driver position at the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). I applied in June and finally had my interview in December, but I wouldn’t know about the outcome of this whole process until mid-January and they would let me know via email whether or not I was in. Yesterday morning that fated email arrived and the big question was finally answered: will I settle in Toronto permanently and become a TTC bus driver? The gods have decided that, no, that is not my fate.
Since I have been waiting a long time for this answer to arrive, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I might do. My life had come to a fork in the road. To one side I had to the TTC career, and to the other side there was the great unknown; a life of travel and adventure. In the weeks after my interview I settled on the alternative that if I didn’t get the job I would go back to my original plan of teaching ESL overseas. I moved in with my family in Mississauga as a temporary stay while I looked for work overseas. I couldn’t go to China becuase of degree requirements, and I chickened out of going somewhere else because I wanted to test my chances at finding full time employment in Toronto as a writer in the media, marketing, or advertising industries. As you may have guessed, that plan didn’t work out either. The market is too competitive and there always seems to be someone with more experience, or a broader range of skills, than I possess.
In my consideration of this fork in the road I had to ask myself, “What do you want most in life?” Is it a house? A marriage? Cars and money? Professional recognition? World travel? I contemplated this question for many weeks answering it several times, and every time I produced an answer it was the same: to travel the world, experience many cultures, and learn many languages. I didn’t move back here so I could apply at the TTC; it was always a wildcard shot. My plan was to move back here, find ESL work, and then live abroad. I have allowed myself to lose sight of who I am, what my plan is, and what I want most in life.
China might not have worked out, but there are still many countries which I could go to for ESL work without a bachelor’s degree. After much research and deliberation I settled on Colombia as being the ideal place for me to start my international ESL journey. I’ve never been there, but I have been to Costa Rica and Mexico, so I’ve seen some of Latin America and I know I like it. The people, language, culture, food, and history are all beautiful and fascinate me. I’m a freelance writer and I can take my work anywhere in the world as long as I have a laptop and internet connection, so I can still earn Canadian dollars while living in Latin America and our money goes a long way there. Lodging, food, transportation, and event admissions are all very cheap in Latin America. I could have a very good quality of life there with even a modest living from my freelance writing. This job is a gift that I would be crazy to throw away, no matter how frustrating and stressful it can be sometimes.
One thing that is certain is that I can’t stay where I am. I’ve been floundering in my creative work ever since moving back here. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to this new setting. In 2017 I need to get on with my life, and with the TTC out of the picture I’m free to return to the pursuit of my globetrotting, ESL-teaching dream. Staying where I am is not moving on with my life. It’s getting stuck in a rut.
I know what I want most in life, and this year I’m going after it with no excuses. I’m glad to reconnect with all my family and friends here in Toronto, but I need to move on and pursue the things that I want most: a life of adventure and exploration.
Next stop: Colombia.