Okay get ready for a major brain dump. I spend a lot of my time writing about all the pretty places I see, but today I want to get real with y’all about why I travel. Because if there’s one thing I’ve heard since I started this little blog up, it’s “I wish I could do this too! and “I’m vicariously living through you!” And I’m always taken aback because I think to myself, “YOU TOTALLY CAN!” So today I’m laying all the cards out on the table about why (and how) I made the move. Full disclosure: there is no secret sauce.
The truth is, this wasn’t an easy change to make. I spent a lot of time dreaming of the what if’s, thinking about the feasibility and acknowledging what I’d have to sacrifice before I booked my ticket frantically in a flash sale. But truthfully, if this is the kind of thing that’s even remotely on your mind, and you just don’t think the timing will be right… do it. I hate to be cliché here, but today we are catapulted into adulthood faster than we can say taxes, and guys, it does not slow down. There will never be an a-ha moment where you think, “This is it, I’m ready.” There will, however, be moments you’re crying over Nestlé Toll House cookie dough while watching Eat, Pray, Love because you realize there is so much out there yet to be discovered by you. At least there were for me. And that’s precisely when I started to shut down the “it’s not responsible/it’s too expensive/it might be dangerous” thoughts.
Let me start by saying that I know and appreciate how fortunate I am to A) be comfortably independent (which is a nice way of saying single) and B) have a job that lets me work remotely. I realize not everyone has this flexibility, but that doesn’t mean that this will always be the case. There’s a whole world of creative ways to make this work. Sure, I could have taken the stable adulting route, and sure my bank account would probably be more comfortable because of it. I should also disclose that it’s a lot less glamorous than it looks sometimes. 3am alarms to catch the cheapest flight. Unforgiving TSA agents. Questionable sleeping situations. Getting lost in the middle of Italy with a dead phone, no map and no ability to express my situation in another language…. But I would never trade the experiences I’ve had for any bit of routine. Yes, my friends have already suggested therapy and my grandmother is actively seeking an “Air Force officer husband” for me. So that’s fine.
I travel because I want to live. I want to have stories to share. I don’t just want to learn about other cultures, I want to understand and experience them firsthand. I want to make friends from every corner of the globe and reminisce about our adventures through the years. I want to laugh until I cry and sometimes take life-threatening risks for the sake of feeling uncontainable freedom. I want to hang glide in Switzerland and ride elephants in India. And I don’t want any of this to be a mere dream. I don’t want to wait around for life to happen. I want to shape all my dreams into a beautiful present and unwrap it because “I AM THE ONE THING IN LIFE I CAN CONTROL” (sorry, Hamilton tangent there.)
Europe is just one corner of the world I want to see, and I hope to one day go from temporary nomad to permanent. One of the things I love most about Europe is their work-life balance. They’re never working to live, and I think they’ve got the whole “being present” thing down. In America, I feel like everyone’s life is centered around their job. And that’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t travel! But in Europe, the people make work fit into their lifestyle. Sacrifices are made for work (not relationships), moments are meaningful and adventure is a part of everyday life.
So that’s just my two cents. I want you to feel empowered to take this kind of plunge, and know that anything is possible. My situation is not extraordinary… I just got tired of waking up every day knowing exactly what would happen. So if this is you, go be the adventurer you were always meant to be. And that is the end of my soapbox. Mic drop.
I always love hearing about fellow travelers’ experiences, so please share in the comments below! Tell me about your “crying-over-cookie-dough a-ha moment” and how your life has changed because of it.