Did you grow up feeling restricted by the norms and expectations of society?
Did you feel like you were constantly being labeled as the black sheep of your family? Maybe you still are?
I know that I did, and trust me when I say that I still do to this day. I’m writing this post to introduce myself – I am the face behind the Black Sheep Travels.
Welcome to the community of aspiring solo female travelers who seek a sense of belonging in this world. Welcome to a community that is open to vulnerability, a community that is seeking an adventure towards personal growth and self-development.
But before I welcome you…
I feel that I must share with you my raw and honest story.
A few years ago, a deep burning fire grew inside of me. I felt like I had to break free of the chains of society and become my own person. I did everything I was told to do from a young age.
I got straight A’s, was involved in almost all organized school sports, I got into a prestigious University, I maintained a high academic average throughout, and I was applying for a post-graduate degree in Secondary Education.
I listened to my parents and my grandparent’s wishes, but all the while I felt like something was still missing in my life.
As fortunate and blessed as I was to grow up in a 1st world country, I knew that there was more to life for me than the box that society was trying to put me in. I’m not saying that a box is a bad thing for everyone.
But it wasn’t right for me. I was always a bit of a free spirit – a bird that could not be caged. Every time I tried to spread my wings and do something a little different, I got told that it wasn’t the norm.
I remember when I was in the 3rd grade, my teacher Mrs. Savo asked the class to write a short story. We were practicing our cursive writing, and the story I chose to write was titled, “The Dragon & The Girl.”
I remember the kids thought that I was a bit weird. My story seemed a bit “out there.” When I read it now (yes I still have it – thank you to my dear mother who keeps all of my things), I think to myself how ironic it is that I wrote about a theme of breaking free and saving myself.
Please excuse my 3rd-grade level grammar…
Did you grow up feeling like you didn’t quite belong or fit in with the rest of the world?
Did you often feel like you were stuck and confined to a tiny space, feeling slightly claustrophobic?
About 10 years ago, I moved out of my parents’ house and went away to University. I’m sure many of you can relate to that first feeling of independence. Can you remember what it felt like to finally discover who you were as a true independent self?
It wasn’t until 6 years ago when I moved my entire life overseas to go to study in Australia that my life really did a complete 180. I remember mailing my teaching application in the middle of a blizzard during my last year of my Bachelor’s Degree.
I received the acceptance letter into the teaching program at the University of the Sunshine Coast a few months later. I was so excited, that I immediately booked my flight. I got a round trip ticket with the intention to return to Canada in a year because I was always playing it safe.
Little did I know that after an entire year living down under, I would ditch my return ticket and discover a whole new way of living.
In 2014-2015 I taught myself to surf, longboard, and kiteboard. I tried new things that I never dreamed of doing, and I met people from all over the world who I would’ve never imagined ever bumping into back in my hometown.
I took my first solo backpacking trip to Bali, Thailand & Laos – I remember almost having a panic attack when I got on that plane all by myself.
But I did it. I conquered my fears, and I grew.
Do you remember feeling the butterflies in your stomach when you got onto an airplane all by yourself?
Or maybe you remember the first time you faced your fears and went on the biggest rollercoaster ride when you were finally tall or brave enough?
How amazing did that feel? How amazing CAN it feel if you decide to take that risk?
The conversations that came from the interactions that I had with so many strangers and new friends taught me many things.
I became open to learning about different cultures. I always loved to travel, but traveling somewhere on a holiday and actually living and assimilating myself in a new country and culture was something entirely different.
Is there a place you’ve visited/lived in that made you feel like you were home? Did you say to yourself, “this feels like where I belong!”
Or maybe you’re ready to find that place. Do you feel deep in your heart that you must see beyond just your hometown?
Well that was Australia for me. I knew that after that year, I would never be quite the same again. I left my friends and family behind, broke up with my high school sweetheart, and embarked on a solo adventure to the opposite side of the world, completely and utterly terrified!
Who remembers that gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking feeling of traveling all by yourself? Maybe you haven’t yet set off on your adventure, but just thinking about doing something like this makes your stomach churn?
Good. I want you to feel uncomfortable. Because that’s how you will push yourself to grow.
Does your story sound similar?
Did you grow up constantly marching to the beat of your own drum?
Whatever your story is, I bet you are here reading this post for a reason.
Maybe you know me, or maybe you don’t. But my purpose here is to share with you some of my most vulnerable stories and experiences, with the aim to show you how I harnessed both the tough times and blessed moments, coming out of it a stronger and better person.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to spill all of my vulnerabilities onto you. BUT I do feel like I need to give you guys some background about who I am, why I am writing this first post, and what the entire purpose is behind starting this blog.
So who’s ready to hear the rest?
As I write this post, I reflect on just celebrating my 28th birthday in quarantine. I am here to tell you that I am someone who is undeniably labeled as the black sheep of society.
Why you must be wondering?
Well, apart from choosing a nomadic lifestyle for myself that goes against the grain, I also went against my family’s wishes, traditions, and values. I guess you could say I’m the black sheep of my family too.
Wait, you thought I was finished with my story?
I recently closed my eyes and remembered who I was as a child. The young innocent girl, who was asked by her 1st-grade teacher, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember saying, “I want to be someone who can visit every country in the world.”
I guess that’s what I have become, a bit of an Adventurepreneur — I was ready to see the world. I remember as a kid when I got asked what country I wanted to visit, I would always say Australia. Reflecting on this memory makes me smile. I know that I am following my heart and fulfilling my destiny.
How are you currently writing out yours?
So why am I sharing this with you? I’m telling you my raw story because I know that there are people out there who can and will relate. And this is only just scratching the surface of “my story”…
Over the years, I’ve come to learn and realize that, other people’s opinions and expectations don’t actually matter. I have come to forge my own path, living a nomadic lifestyle that I have cultivated for myself.
I’ve worked in so many different industries, traveled to over 40 countries solo, and grown so much more than my age. And I know that this is just the beginning…
I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years, but I definitely wasn’t ready until now. I guess there are many things that I have experienced and learned as a solo traveler in the past 6 years.
And I want to share them with you! My passion is to share my stories with others in the hope that I can help them feel a sense of connection and belonging. My passion is to truly help others, and that’s why I am creating this community.
This blog will provide you with what you can prepare for and expect as a solo traveler. Each week I will be posting a blog on a topic that resonates with individuals who desire to live a life off the beaten path. A blog for this community of unicorns, who feel like they see the world through a different lens.
Are you one of them?
Will you come along for the ride as we take a journey into discovering your true self and your unleashed potential?
Do you want to learn how to get rid of all the fears and expectations holding you back?
Will you be open to being vulnerable with yourself and the different walks of life that you will meet in this big beautiful world that we call planet Earth?
If you answered YES to any of the above, then please subscribe to my mailing list so that you don’t ever miss a post.
Thank you for reading.
I appreciate YOU.
Karina – The Black Sheep Travels
May 11, 2020
Resonating a lot with this post! So happy that you decided to pursue your dreams and ditch the 9-5!
Thank you Dani! I’m happy too 🙂
Your story is truly inspiring, I have embarked on this same journey myself for reasons similar to yours so I can definitely identify with a lot of the things you’ve mentioned. Happy to be here witnessing the journey and I’m looking forward to the next blog post 🙂 All the best!
Hi Sky, thank you so much for your kind message. I’m happy to have you along for the journey.
I love this post Karina. I completely believe our soul knows the direction of our lives. It is the perfect example about your book you wrote when you were younger. I am so proud to have you as a friend. You are the face of courage strength and you are a strong female on a mission – unstoppable! I can’t wait to read future posts.
Travel had changed my life completely. And it brought me to you! If we never left Canada and our home towns we never would have met.
Thank you AnnMarie. I am so grateful to have you as a friend, thank you for the kind words.
I agree, travel brought us together & I’m so happy it did xx
I so relate and so look forward to hearing more 🙂
Aww I am glad 🙂
So relatable girl ❤️
I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂