It’s 2010, and I’m twenty one years of age. I’ve had nothing but a good life to date. I find myself somewhat settled in Brisbane, living an hour away from my parents, and only minutes away from a handful of good friends. I’m lucky. If I were to jot my credentials down on paper, they would read like many others; school, sports, university, part-time jobs, and romantic flings. Like you, I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a time when travel is easy, cheap and more or less safe. And like you hopefully, I’ve taken advantage of this when I can. It has only been over the last two or three years however, where my views on life have contorted, changed and evolved. Oblivious to me, my way of thinking at some stage took a tangent away from the ‘norm’, and only more recently have I realised that this needed to be addressed. Self fulfillment is specific to the individual. It may indeed mean financial security to one person, while to another it may mean emotional development. What is most important however, but often overlooked by the individual, is that we take the time to define this term ‘self fulfillment’ for ourselves. If we don’t, we run the risk of being left unsatisfied, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Ultimately many of us end up following a map that we didn’t plot. I was lucky enough to have a realisation – A moment of clarity where I was able to take a step back from reality. In this moment, I was able to define my own self fulfillment. I penciled things I wanted to do on a piece of paper. The result was a list of sorts. Starting at number ‘1’, and finishing at number ‘100’. Trivial tasks sit next to epic adventures. Childhood dreams mix amongst adult fantasies. For me, my self-fulfillment is all about living life, trying everything once, and living everyday without a regret. Individually, not of all of the items on my list are imperative to my well being or satisfaction, but combined they write a code, and set a standard by which I now chose to live by. Together, these one hundred points compose a lifestyle. A lifestyle that lets me free, enriching my soul and filling me with joy. Not just by achieving points on my list do I feel this way, but also through the journey which unfolds along the way. My self-fulfilment is a lifestyle without boundaries. I am lucky enough to have realised this. *UPDATE* 8th February 2012. It’s now 2012 and I am 23 years of age. I’m living in London surrounded by no family and very few people I would call ‘good friends’. I think it’s fair to say that I don’t really have a ‘support network’ here. BUT I’m ridiculously happy. Happier than I think I have ever been! I’m probably in the worst situation I’ve been in throughout my life (not sure how to categorize this ‘situation’) but on the other hand, mentally and emotionally I am in the best place I could be. I’m motivated and slowly but surely on the (right?) path to finding out who I am. I’m a 23 yr old! It sounds ridiculous, i know, and to be honest, I’ll look back on this and probably think it is. I mean, I thought I knew who I was at age 10 ! I am well educated, well traveled, I can relate to almost anyone and everyone and I have this crazy head on my shoulders that is allowing me to do everything I want and more. Honestly, my bucket list is my main source of motivation. It somewhat rescued me from a dark place. My list as a whole is not the only thing that motivates me nor are the individual things on that list. BUT it’s motivation. It’s inspiration – for me and hopefully for others. I am happy and I’m doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, solely for ME. I have nothing holding me back. I have no strings attached. At this exact moment in time, I find myself standing outside a bar London in the middle of winter at a group get-together, watching red double-decker busses drive by, seeing homeless people beg for money and cigarettes, seeing girls walk by laughing and joking in high heels they can’t walk properly in and I am myself wondering when am I actually going to ‘grow up’ and get a real life, a real job, go home, finish university, settle down and have a family… but this is the life I want. Sure, I want to settle down, have babies, live happily ever after, bla bla bla. BUT I want to travel. FOREVER. I want to see new places, meet new people, experience new things. Can you do both? Will this eventually become boring for me? I suppose I am a lost soul… but I am a happy, lost soul on the right path to self discovery… right? I guess things will fall into place. Like this list, my thoughts, opinions, morals and beliefs will change and morph with life experience, I suppose. Everything happens for a reason. Somebody recently told me it was a comforting way of thinking… but who is going to prove it otherwise? *UPDATE* 28th January 2015 It is now 2015 and I recently turned 26. A number of things have changed since my last update almost three years ago. Although I am currently in London, the place I call my home, I have no fixed address and I’m legally unable to live here for more than 6 months. The hardest thing in my life is to have a home that I can’t call my home. In saying that, I consider myself pretty lucky for that to be the hardest thing. I am surrounded by the most incredible people, friends that have now become my family, people that I’ve learnt I cannot live without, and an ever-growing friendship circle filled with the most beautiful, interesting, loving and inspiring souls. I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years and consciously make a point of learning something from everything. I no longer feel like a lost soul. I know who I am and where I want to be and even how to get there. I know what I want to do and I’m enjoying the journey of getting there…perhaps a little too much? My life is incredible! I’m strong and independent and if I want something I will always make sure I get it for myself. Where there is a will, there is a way. I’m confident in myself and my abilities, my mind and my body. I’m proud of my achievements and aim to motivate others in any way I can to feel the same. I don’t have the answers to everything and I still find things out the hard way. I often make mistakes and make them again and sometimes again but I’ve realised that this is what life is about. Shit happens. Put it down to life experience. I don’t often look at this list anymore and it’s not my main source of motivation as it was 3 years ago and before – Life experience is. I’m an opportunist and a “Yes-Girl”. I go with the flow and that seems to be working for me. I’m still striving for self-fulfillment, which is important, but I don’t really need a list to help me out anymore. Perhaps this is just growing up? I’m also ready to settle down and stop traveling. “Will this eventually become boring for me?” – 8th February 2012. Looks like the answer is yes. I enjoy seeing the world and will continue to do so but I’m ready for a permanent base and a place to legally call home. Although, being unable to live and work in the place I do call home is clearly stalling this process and (unfortunately?) I am too much of a romantic and not the type of person to ‘marry for convenience’ so that’s out of the question. I’m moving to Vienna temporarily in 4 days from now. The next adventure is about to begin! I’m buying time and waiting for the laws to change to allow me to live and work legally in the UK. It will happen! And when I get the A-OK, I will be the first off the plane in my beloved Londontown. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I will again, one day, be able to call this place my forever home. Until then, I will continue to grab all opportunities by the balls and throw myself headfirst into life. I’ll keep learning something from everything and continue to enjoy this wonderful journey. My List (in no particular order) 1. Finish university and go on to study post-grad Photography. 2. Party with Elvis and Marilyn in Vegas (DONE) 3. Live and work on each continent by the time I am 30 (DONE – Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, Africa) 4. Go to the Olympics 5. Go skydiving (DONE) 6. Learn to speak French 7. $1000 on black 8. Gondola ride in Venice (DONE)9. Give money to the homeless (DONE) 10. Everest base camp 11. Swim with Dolphins (DONE) 12. Break a Guinness World Record 13. Picnic in Central Park (DONE) 14. Have a book published 16. Help a stranger (DONE) 17. Bungee Jumping (DONE) 18. Spend one week in absolute silence 19. Go to a fortune teller (DONE)20. Hitch hike around a country (DONE) 21. Close my eyes, point at a map and visit whatever country my finger lands on 22. Sleep on the streets (DONE) 23. Go to Egypt and see the Pyramids 24. Get a tattoo (DONE)25. Write a song (DONE) 26. Antarctica 27. Start my own business (DONE) 28. Blue Lagoon, Iceland (DONE) 29. Get married 30. Have children 31. Grow something edible in the garden. (DONE)32. Fly first class (DONE) 33. Buy a house 34. Go on a road trip in the US (DONE)35. Blue Grotto (DONE December)36. Parasailing (DONE)37. Sponsor a child (DONE)38. Go vegetarian for a month. (DONE)39. Go vegan for a month (DONE) 40. Go on a raw food diet for a month 41. Party in Ibiza 42. Meditation retreat 43. Do something completely crazy and out of character (DONE)44. St Patrick’s Day in Ireland (DONE) 45. Learn (preferably teach myself) to play the guitar 46. Donate blood (DONE)47. Picnic by the Eiffel Tower (DONE)48. Live in a mansion (DONE) 49. Find my dream job 50. Bungee Jump (DONE)51. Go on an African safari (DONE) 52. Start a new life in a new country (DONE France ’09, UK ’11, Turkey ’11, Canada ’13, Thailand ’14)53. Study in another country (DONE)54. Go to the Grand Canyon (DONE) 55. Travel to Space 56. Drive along Route 66 (DONE)57. Ride on an elephant (DONE) 58. Walk on hot coals 59. ANZAC day in Gallipoli (DONE) 60. Oktoberfest in Germany 61. Go on a holiday without doing any sightseeing at all (DONE)62. Visit Stonehenge (DONE February) 63. Go to Carnival in Rio 64. Ski in Canada 65. Play at Disneyland for a day, or two. (DONE) 66. Go on a world cruise 67. Alaska 68. Scandinavia (DONE) 69. Have my photography published (DONE)70. Uluru (DONE)71. Party with a celebrity (DONE)72. Seek help. (DONE)73. White Water Rafting (DONE)74. Create a website (DONE)75. Adopt an animal (DONE)76. Write Poetry (DONE)77. Great Barrier Reef (DONE)78. Northern Lights (DONE) 79. Go to USA for Independence Day (DONE)80. Write regularly in a journal (DONE) 81. Visit all US states. 82. Bathe in the Ganges 83. Greek Islands 84. More ‘I love yous’ & ‘i’m sorrys’ 85. Hawaii (DONE) 86. Wimbledon Tennis 87. Audition for reality TV (DONE)88. Sing Karaoke (DONE) 89. Amazon Rainforest 90. Niagara Falls (DONE) 91. Great wall of China 92. Be a tour guide in a foreign country 93. Volunteer work in South Africa and South America. (DONE: South Africa) 94. Croatia Sailing (DONE) 95. Learn something new every day. 96. Amalfi Coast, Italy (DONE)97. Swim with a sea turtle (DONE) 98. Get hypnotized 99. Travel to the highest point in Europe (DONE) 100. Fall in love and trust completely.
– Gidget ‘Gigi’ Gallaher