Summer’s officially here. To celebrate the first day of sunshine and warm weather, I rode out to the park with a mason jar of wine and snacks. Armed with only my knitting and Kobo, I was determined to make the most out of this day. I found a grassy patch that overlooked the dog park. Though there was a pathway nearby, the way I set my picnic camp up made it seem as if that was a secret hiding place amidst a crowded park.

A picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park — Toronto, Canada

A picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park — Toronto, Canada

As I set forth with my knitting project (currently knitting a cotton sweater), I starting zoning off into ‘my space’ and a few thoughts came up.

Exactly five years ago, I would have been in Western Europe — my first backpacking trip that made a huge impact in my life. Initially, my itinerary had only included London, UK, and nothing more. When my cousin received news that I was visiting the UK, he jumped on board and asked if I wanted to do an entire backpacking tour around Western Europe. Excited at the possibility of doing an extended vacation and with no expectations, we planned the trip on a whim. A few weeks later, we met each other at my friend’s apartment in London. A couple of days later, we boarded the train that took us from London to Brussels. Neither of us knew if we could live with each other for five weeks straight, but we took the plunge and dove right into it. This was the summer of 2008.

In Munich, Germany, my cousin and I went our separate days for a couple of nights. He wanted to explore other parts of Germany, whereas I wanted to move on to Interlaken, Switzerland. On my last day in Munich, I decided to walk around by myself for the first time. To be honest, I was filled with fear and anxiety. What does a lonesome girl do in an unknown city?! I tried my best to cover up the fear to the best of my ability, and headed over to the bakery to get some cakes for the park. At the park, I tried my best to relax and soak in every moment of it. My eyes darted around, watching to see if anyone was looking at this lonesome girl. Of course, everyone was preoccupied with themselves, and it was all in my head. I couldn’t stop looking at my watch, and before long, I knew it was pointless to pretend that I was enjoying my last day in Munich. I packed up and left.

Europe 2008 — Munich, Germany

Europe 2008 — Munich, Germany

Five years later, I sit in a park in Toronto, Canada, knitting away. As I nestled in my peaceful surroundings, capturing every precious second of solitude, I am suddenly aware of how much I’ve grown in the past few years. Traveling opened my eyes to see the world in an entirely different light, which made it an addiction. I am no longer daunted by solitude and don’t always require someone else’s company to make me whole. In fact, travelling solo has been a favourite of mine since, allowing me to explore cities on my own agenda and exposing myself to a world of possibilities.

As I prepare for my next life adventure, I will myself to trust my inner child — that she will always be able to bring out the best in me.