Finding Yourself Through Travel

gyg-logo-teal-transparent1Amber and I used to joke with each other about how much we might change or grow in our “gap years.” For as much work, energy and money we were putting into our traveling – hell, our lives had better change! It was one of those half-joke, 100% serious ideas we carried into this trip. We came to somehow become better people.

Then a few days ago, the GYG team had the wonderful privilege of meeting Ibu (Mother) Robin Lim, CCN’s 2011 Hero of the Year. It’s a big title, to which I would never expect anyone to live up to. But, she was certainly inspiring.

She encouraged us to examine our lives in three periods. As a maiden, as a mother, and a crone – were we leading “heroic” lives? I have never and probably will never consider anything I do heroic. Unlike Ibu Robin, I’ve never gone into tsunami relief zones and literally saved people’s lives. Unlike my parents, I’ve never saved a patient’s life through medicine. I don’t anticipate being able to ever call myself a hero – but damn, it’s a good thing to ask yourself.

That is what is uniquely special about giving on your gap year. Travel forces you to examine who you are in the context of other people and places. Those comparisons, in turn, enable better imaginations of who and how you want to be. But giving on your gap year – I think that allows you to get inspired to be more than you imagined.

Not saying I am ever going to be 1/10000th of the “hero” Ibu Robin is. But I didn’t even really know it was possible to be that heroic! This changes my “get inspired” scale by a lot. Key word: perspective! I probably will not chase after an Ibu Robin-esque life. I don’t really think I’ll ever be as inspired as she is – but I now have a much greater appreciation for her selfless way of life, for what you can accomplish in 60 years. And I will try to find my best contribution to support Ibu Robin-esque people, who are just awesome.

The GYG ladies with Ibu Robin at her treehouse wonderland home in Bali.

We are just one month into our trip now. Surprise surprise, I haven’t “found myself” yet!! (If one ever really does that). But, I have gotten to ask myself some great questions and met some really inspiring people. Reflecting and getting inspired: a great combo when you are trying to figure out your life.


Written by the Gap Year Team