The Shoulders of Giants
When you're standing out, looking at a natural wonder like the Giant's Causeway, it's hard not to get all reflective and sentimental.
And there's a lot to be sentimental about right now.
It's about a year since I quit my job and started on this crazy adventure. I'm more confident about who I am and what I'm doing and things I want to create. Basically, you could say I've actually gone and found myself while I'm travelling - as cliche as that is.
But as I was trying to think of clever captions to accompany my Instagram post from this particular adventure, one particular quote kept circling in my head and it felt more poignant than ever.
If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. - Isaac Newtown
I've gone further than I would even imagine I could've at this point. I never thought I'd actually see myself thriving as I've had.
Sure, I always intended that I'd throw myself into the situation and had honestly hoped I'd 'find myself' at the end of this.
But I didn't quite expect to be where I am now.
I'm genuinely happy - and the fact that I'm travelling and still exploring amazing places is only one part of it. I'm happy beyond what my external circumstances can impact on me. I feel confident that I can be as happy jetting off to exotic locations as I'd be when I'm back in Sydney.
I've actually managed to reach a sense of self-awareness and inner peace I never thought I'd achieve.
I'm even dishing it out as advice to friends and writing for a mindfulness blog about my own practices here!
I even think I've somehow figured out my life.
On one hand, I barely recognise myself. This isn't the same workaholic, crazy, get-shit-done Tiff-Tiff from my corporate days. But on the other hand, I had never felt so 'me'; so able to be who I wanted to be without effort and less and less doubt.
And it hasn't come without a lot of help.
I mean, even these photos don't take themselves.
While all this work has often felt so internal and isolating, I know I couldn't have done this by myself. More than anything, this trip has taught me to appreciate the value of community and the tribe of people I have been building.
It doesn't matter how long they've been in my life or will continue to be. It doesn't matter how often we see each other; or even how often we speak.
It matters that they show up when I need them; that I know I can rely on them; and that no matter what changes - whether it's my hair, my location or my whole lifestyle - I know that there will always be a constant in my life.
I used to think that the Newton quote was about the legendary giants who have forged the way forward ahead of us so that we may climb greater heights.
And to a certain extent, yes, I still believe in the power of role models to inspire and lift me up.
But in a world where it feels like I'm on the wrong way a lot of the time; where there is no clear path ahead of me and that for once, I am forging a path that is for myself and not just following the example I feel I need to, this doesn't feel true.
So, instead, my giants are people coming on the journey with me and helping each step I take to be a little higher. They're lifting me up, helping me believe that I can make that step, pushing me to dream bigger and see that next step.
It's kind of funny: a year of travelling alone and the big takeaway is that I haven't been alone at all.
But that's the truth of it. As much as I thought I was a lone wolf or categorical solo traveller, it is gratitude for the people around me that I have felt most strongly this past year.
To the people who housed me and fed me without a single hesitation.
To the people who invited me places and introduced me to their friends so that I might not be alone.
To the random people who just reached out to say hi, I'm following your journey, it's looking great, keep going.
To the people who have listened to me through every doubt I had and never judged.
To the people who I've met along the way; and the people who've stuck by me forever.