The next chapter. Turning the page, and learning to live the passion throughout life

I’ve dated this entry October 6: the day I started my new full-time job. Essentially, the day that I turned the page on the next chapter of my journey.

Many entries in my blog have been purely travel-based, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the insights and photos of the destinations I had the privilege of visiting. I hope that, in a way, you were able to travel with me.

But as you know, dear reader, this blog – and this whole journey – has been about much more than just travel. My mom will sigh and say “you’re too deep, Andrew.” But, I can’t apologize. The adventure was about seizing opportunity in life and answering the desire for new experiences as I transitioned fully to adulthood. As I was heading out on the journey, I said that it was “about the quest to live life with passion.” I know that sounds lofty… but I feel that I have come away with a clearer understanding of what it means.

I’ve used the empty airport departure lounge chairs from my first blog entry again, to close the circle on this adventure. I started off with great anticipation of the possibilities ahead of me. And now on the other side, having experienced and absorbed so much, I come away with the conclusion that life will *always* be about looking towards what’s to come.

What I really learned was that you can live out your ‘passion’ at every single chapter in life. I learned from others who simply took a look at what they wanted to achieve at the particular part of their life: and then worked towards it.

The last few months were an enjoyable – and necessary – transition to figuring out what the next chapter of life would look like. I had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, reflect on what I’d learned during my travel adventure and decide where I wanted to “land” on the flip side of the journey. That included a careful job search.

I knew after my time on the ship that I wanted to keep being a man who sought adventure; but I also wanted to advance my career and plant a few solid roots [which is obviously hard to do when you’re traveling all over the place]. I was searching for a job that would push my abilities and thinking, and I was also seeing to develop some more foundation in life: foundation from which I could pursue new goals.

So, after exploring my options, I’ve ‘landed’ and am now turning the page. For this chapter, I’ll be advancing my career and laying down new roots in my hometown as Communications Coordinator for United Way of London & Middlesex. It’s a fulfilling job and exactly the challenge I was looking for.

Some days, I do long for the life I lived on the ship. But, I find that there’s major satisfaction in feeling that I’m on track with the next chapter in life. The thirst for exploring life’s adventures will always be a part of me: travel and new excitement will always be a part of my quest. But I’m learning how to keep that quest alive while staying somewhat grounded, too.

I’ve learned that it’s always going to be possible to go out and seek life’s goals. I think that’s what “living life with passion” is all about.

And that, I believe, is what I really hoped I’d learn when I started “where is Andrew now.”

*****
It has been a pleasure communicating the experience to you through (almost 2000) pictures and words (in this past year you have read 51 posts that averaged three typed pages). It’s also been a really important reflection tool for me too: to think through and document all that I’ve learned on this journey.

I suppose this is where I sign off… but, as you know, the adventures in life always continue. Thank you for joining me for this chapter.

Most sincerely, your devoted blog host,
~ Andrew

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