One of my greatest periods of being able to really understand and know myself was when I took my first backpacking trip around Costa Rica for 3 weeks.
 
Alone.
 
I was 23. Never left Canada/USA before. I practiced Spanish for a few months to prepare and could put together a few sentences – enough to ask where the bathroom was and other helpful questions.
 
I thought I was a pretty confident and independent person going into this adventure, as many of us do…
 
Boy was I wrong.
 
I came to find out that my perception of who I am is true, not based on reality,
but based on *Environment*
 
In the comfort of my language (english) and countries I’m familiar with I knew exactly who I was – or so I thought
 
But in a country where everyone speaks a different language and english speakers are the minority…you start to spend a lot of time in your own head.
 
I spent a lot of time reflecting on how my personality had started to shift because I was doing way less speaking, and a lot more listening, observing, and focusing on understanding.
 
The adventure forced me to step out of comfort zones, act on nothing more than intuition, be brutely bold.
 
And the most impactful of all – Be extremely vulnerable
 
I started to feel like a child again…
 

What I mean is, I had all these thoughts, and questions, and a desire to EXPRESS myself, but only had a limited vocabulary to do it.

 
Something as simple as ordering food at Subway became an adventure of embarrassment on it’s own.
 
I got humbled really quickly.
 
I gained a lasting sense of gratitude because I now have a reference point to reflect back on when I find myself taking things for granted once I was back “home”
 
I gained an understanding, respect and appreciation for immigrants around me in Canada who, though spoke little english, were trying and bold enough to start conversations with me.
 
That takes guts and a real desire to learn and get uncomfortable.
 
I could go on, but the point I want to make is that if you have never been to a country where *you* are the minority, and *you* aren’t fluent in the language…
 
Than you will be surprised at how much you change and grow and start to find yourself.
 

You may just realize your “personality” is more linked to your environment than it is to you

 
Get uncomfortable.
 
Take adventures. Start small if you have to.
 
Embrace the unknown.
 
Keep pushing your limits.
 
Believe me, Trust me. it will be one of the biggest things you reflect on with a smile when you come to the last days of your life.
 
Adrian
 
 
 
 

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