On the topic of broadening my horizons, I think this is also important in the literal sense. Travel - seeing the world beyond the four walls of your house, your office, or the hospital in my case. Going beyond the familiar. It is difficult, as humans, because we like the comfort of our own homes, our own towns - why? Because they are familiar. Going to the unknown, the unfamiliar, can be quite daunting. The planning involved in travelling is immense: what do I need to take? How much do I take? Where do I stay? Where do I go? What do I visit? What are the best things to do? Is it safe? So many questions. It's impossible to know the answers until you actually get out there and go.
Despite the challenges, I think travelling is one of the most wonderful things. I never realised the true diversity in culture, people and places that existed until I set foot out of Europe and went to India. It was incredible, and definitely ignited the travelling bug. I then went to America, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia... the list goes on. Seeing these vastly different places really opened my eyes to the variety that exists in our planet. I think everyone should travel, just to experience that variety. It's incredible.
In our busy lives of routine and structure, it's difficult to suddenly say "let's go away" - usually we think it requires meticulous planning, as described above. But it can be incredibly freeing to just say "let's go". During this Christmas break, me and my Mum realised we had a few days with no plans, and booked a very spontaneous trip to the French Alps - it was wonderful. We all need to de-stress, and travels are definitely the best thing for properly leaving behind our workload.
This year is definitely helping me to de-stress - a year out of the rigorous exam-driven studying of medical school - it is like a breath of fresh air to finally be able to look beyond that and spend time on my interests, studying and thinking about things beyond the insular human body.
I wrote this short snippet of music about packing your bags and jetting off somewhere. It's called "Fly Away". I also captured the accompanying photograph of a bird flying alongside our boat when travelling through Italy.