A lost girl in a far away land once said, “There’s no place like home…”I must say I have found myself misplaced quite a few times in my life and it is definitely scary. There are strangers all around, unknown streets that seemingly twist and wind, and fear in your heart that you may never find your way home. However, most of our immediate reactions to being lost are irrational.
The same can be said about traveling. Many are afraid of the unknown, especially in places with different religions, languages, and social norms. This causes people to stay safely tucked in their comfort zones, never willing to leave their black and white lives behind in search of adventure. I believe it is my duty as an avid traveller and title holder to teach those around me the value of exploring. My official platform is to advocate the importance of travel and cultural sensitivity.
I almost feel as if this platform chose me, as I was a traveller long before I became a title holder. I am only 18 years old and I already have been to 10 different countries. I know many people who are much older than I who have never even owned a passport, let alone left the country… To me, traveling means the world (pun intended). There is so much out there; there are new smells, exotic flavours, and brilliant sights. I truly just have an insatiable craving to experience it all.
Our Earth is so full of wonder and I have noticed that the most memorable moments abroad are always the ones that are seemingly the most insignificant at the time. To elaborate, last year I was on was en route to Krakov, Poland and our bus driver decided to make a quick pit stop at a small roadside restaurant just off of the highway. I just remember stepping away from the bus, walking down a small path to explore a bit on my own in the nearby forest, and taking a deep breath of clean bright air.
It sounds strange to describe, but I could taste the purity of the air. There was such a unique taste/smell combination and it was so intoxicating I wanted to stand there forever and just take it in. There was sunlight streaming through the leaves above and it was slightly cool. Everything felt so serene…I never wanted to leave that spot. It’s true that I may never have that kind of moment again, but to have felt that sense of oneness with my surroundings for even a moment is something that I know has made an imprint on my soul. It is quite strange how much a single moment can influence who you are or who you can be. It very much reminds of this quote: “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”.
As Miss Teenage Canada I would promote my platform by doing what I have always done, which is travel 🙂 My next goal is to take a road trip across Canada and see just how beautiful our country really is. You don’t always need to hop on a plane to get to a new place. As I move province to province, territory to territory I will take a a picture at every border and try and talk to at least two people per stop about some of the following things:
a) Where have you travelled in the world (if any)?
b) What is your cultural background?
c) How do you feel the city you live in handles social stigmas concerning ethnic/ cultural stereotypes (if any)?
d) if you could be anywhere in the world right now where would you be and why?
All of these questions are fairly simple, but the amazing thing is I can almost guarantee no two answers will be the same.
Overall, I am ready to face the world and explore all it’s nooks and crannies, every desert and forest, concrete jungle and corn field. I am ready not just as Miss Teenage Durham, nor just as a potential Miss Teenage Canada. I am ready as Shayna Buckle.