I can vividly remember sitting in class at the age of sixteen, the career guidance counselor standing at the front of the room lecturing all of us about the importance of choosing the correct path for our future working lives.

Doctors, lawyers and bankers. The counselor rattled off a series of working pillars for all of us to strive towards.

As he spoke in his familiar, repetitive, dull and monotonous tone, I turned around in my chair expecting to be greeted by a dozen drawn out faces, each one trying their hardest not to slip away into a deep and cavernous slumber.

They joined the other suffering inmates as bells tolled all around them, signalling the commencement of another tedious period of wearisome tuition.

But, to my surprise my inquisitiveness was met with the expressions of concentration as each student listened intently, hanging onto every word that spouted from the counselors passionless and unimaginitive mouth as he paced the classroom from left to right, plunging his theories and assumptions deep into the hearts of those that dared to listen.

"You must choose at least one science and business subject as you go forth into your final two years of schooling", the counsellor pontificated, bouts of dry spit gathering in the creases of his curled lips as he proclaimed his doctrine with the utmost authority.

"You will need to attend a fine course at an exemplary university in order to advance sufficiently into adulthood and to do so, you must pay attention and heed my exacting guidance".

"For if you do not", the counsellor momentarily paused, peering over his thinly rimmed spectacles as he stared in my direction.

"Your prospects will be dire... ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME MISTER CROSBIE!!".

He snarled and barked an alarming array of adjectives, immediately jolting me out of a daze and grounding me back in the reality he had created.

"Yes sir", I replied in false earnest, temporarily straightening my posture and removing the palm from the side of my left cheek.

I picked up a nearby pencil and began to move it back and forth in my hand, slowing it's tempo until it matched the consistent regular tick of an antique metronome.

My quick readjustment satsified the counselors demands as he continued with his decree, imploring his guidelines upon us all as he berated and reprimanded us for the remainder of our forty minute lesson.

Eventually, the lecture came to a close and everyone in the classroom packed up their belongings, slowly shuffling their way out into the busy corridor. They joined the other suffering inmates as bells tolled all around them, signalling the commencement of another tedious period of wearisome tuition.

I was utterly oblivious to the pandemonium as I stayed in my place, dwelling on the lecture that had just concluded.

"Was I the problem?", I thought to myself as a fresh batch of students entered the classroom, commandeering the vacant seats that still held the warmth from the previous occupants.

"Should I be heeding the counselors advice and following suit or is there another path to tread?", I reflected, the surrounding clangour hushing to a whisper as the next teacher entered the classroom and resumed his place at the head of the table.

I stopped for a moment and tried to picture this alterative route, a life that would be filled by collared shirts and briefcases, scheduled meetings and deadlines.

I couldn't.

I didn't know why I was unable to bring myself to accept such a fate but one thing was definitely certain, it was not a life I wanted to lead.

My skin crawled at the mere thought of such an existence but what was the alternative? What other options did I have?

All I had to do was metaphorically or physically sling a bag over my shoulders and follow my desires, wherever they lead me.

I carried that cloud home with me that evening and stayed awake late into the night as I tried to understand my calling and way forward in the world.

I grew anxious by the day as the weeks passed by without a sliver of resolution to place my finger upon.

All of my friends were deciding their subjects and outlining their futures but I just sat there in silence, lost in a sea of tummult and confusion.

Twelve long years of education had lead to this exact point and at the end of it all, it turned out it was something I didn't want.

"What a waste", I scolded myself as I kicked an empty soda can one dark Friday evening on my way home from school.

"Is there any point in sitting my final exams if I'm just going to turn my back and wander in the opposite direction?", I concluded, the soda can rolling away out of reach in a perfect mirror of my real world situation.

Two months had now passed since that initial day of reckoning and eight long weeks into the future, I still had no idea which way I needed to lean.

But that was a problem for another day. It was Friday after all and I was going to the movies with my friends to help wash away the dirt and grime that had clogged up from the previous weeks' undertaking.

The movie was 'The Beach' and little did I know how much my life was about to transform.

On a vacation in Thailand, the lead character Richard, a backpacker, set out for an island rumored to be a solitary beach paradise.

Richard was looking for something different than the typical tourist experience and with a rough map in his hand, he swam across a narrow sea in search of the idyllic spit of sand.

What followed was a ninety minute rollercoaster ride filled with community, friendship, love, hardship, betayal and eventual reconciliation and by the time the credits rolled on the movie theatre screen, for the first time in eight long weeks, a smile stretched across my face as a newfound sense of purpose encompassed me from head to toe.

Before I continue, let's get something straight.

I didn't want to live in a tribal community on the outermost edges of civilization. The penny hadn't suddenly just dropped where I had realized that camping fires, coconuts and salt water crabs were the missing jigsaw pieces I had longed to discover.

On the contrary, the movie I had just watched had profoundly opened my eyes to the endless possibilities our small spinning globe had to offer outside of the norm.

I only had to seek them out.

Richard had slung a bag over his shoulders and headed off in search of something new, something different, something most of the population in this world had no desire to obtain or achieve.

Whilst completely fictional, Richard's actions showed me that I didn't have to follow the same path as everyone else. I didn't need to check a box on the same ladder that everyone else was scrambling to climb.

All I had to do was metaphorically or physically sling a bag over my shoulders and follow my desires, wherever they lead me.

The world could be my oyster if I dared to dance with my dreams.

My life could be enriched in so many alternative ways without needing to confirm to societal norms.

I still didn't know which path I needed to take but I found comfort in the fact that whichever route I dared to tread, a possibility lay waiting at the end and with that simple thought, I left the movie theatre and returned to my home, ready to tackle whatever the future held in store.