Hello blogging world!
That’s me. Well, that’s me in 2018 when that fire in my heart was burning bright and I decided to plan a trip to Greece as a gift to myself for graduating college. I was determined to travel outside of my home country, America, and it was an unstoppable feeling. But before I dive too deep into that, let’s take it back to the beginning.
The Journey Thus Far
I’ve loved to travel ever since I had the opportunity to take a trip planned by my middle school choir teacher to England and France. While I can’t remember a whole lot about that trip I took in the 6th grade, I do know that the thrill of visiting a new place, and becoming engulfed in a new culture, enlightened the very essence of who I am. I fell in love with travel. My little 6th grader heart knew that I would spend the rest of my life craving to be in a new place, with new people, experiencing new things.
My whole family (as shown above) was able to go on that trip. Talk about an epic family vacation. Except, my oldest brother and my dad didn’t share the same love for travel that I felt. By the end of the trip, they vowed to never leave America again. I couldn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now, but to each their own.
That first trip out of the country was in 2008. The singing & dancing group I was a part of called ‘Show Choir’ organized these trips to go perform overseas every other year, and we spent the whole year in-between fundraising.
So, after the first trip that sparked my passion for travel, I eagerly awaited our next trip which ended up being Spain in 2010. Here’s a picture of some of the coolest 8th graders you ever did see, at least we thought so. We’re really channeling our inner Cheetah Girls (hopefully some other millenials out there get this reference).
Fast forward 4 years and I had another opportunity to travel to Spain with the Spanish teacher at my high school. Following high school graduation, around 20 of us travelled with him, being a native, and I experienced travel in a whole new way. I was an adult. Well, if you consider 18 to be an adult. I had more freedom to roam, and wander, and not follow such a rigid itinerary. I got to really soak in the culture. Oh, and the drinking age in Spain is 18 so that surely sweetened the experience. Can you say Sangria?! Our Spanish teacher encouraged us to dress like the locals, took us to the most authentic places, and had such profound knowledge to share about the land. Even though I had already been to Spain, I felt I discovered it all over again and it reignited that spark that never truly faded.
I’ll forever be grateful I had the chance to travel overseas multiple times throughout my adolescence. I have no doubt that those experiences shaped me into who I am today, for the better.
As I went on to college, I started thinking about how I could travel again. Except at that point in my life it felt like such a more daunting and unattainable thought. Like most other college students, for the first time in my life I was living on my own, paying for my own things, and feeling overwhelmed with anxiety as I tried to plan my future. So I temporarily dimmed that fire inside me that ached to travel, and focused on doing well in school, as I always had.
And then one afternoon during my senior year, I walked out of an Accounting II exam that I had spent all night cramming for. I hated math, I’ve always hated math, it’s never come easy to me. I remember allowing myself to breathe easier knowing the exam was over, and now I could think about anything else other than dividends and interest rates. And that’s when I locked eyes with a flyer hung on a bulletin board that read “Experience Machu Picchu” laid over that beautiful picturesque scene of the ancient Incan citadel. I walked up to the poster that explained any student in the business school could sign up for this University led trip. That spark inside me started catching fire and almost instantly I was set ablaze. Determined to do whatever it took to make it happen. I paid my deposit for the trip 3 days later.
Fast forward a couple of months, I was at dinner with my family including my favorite Aunt Libby, gushing about my excitement for the trip. As if the universe was craving a laugh, it was at that dinner I got an email informing me that not enough people had signed up for the trip, it unfortunately had to be cancelled, and I would be getting a refund for my deposit. My family saw the way the light in my eyes faded faster than the last moments of a sunset. But that fire in my heart was too big to be contained. So when my Aunt Libby offered to take a trip with me, and said we could go anywhere, I didn’t give her a chance to change her mind and I got to planning. That’s how we ended up exploring Greece in 2018 right after my college graduation. The universe has a twisted sense of a humor, but it certainly led me right where I needed to be, and for that I am grateful.
The trip to Greece was different in the best way. With age comes wisdom, and more liberties. I was able to plan the whole trip myself, which included a few days in Athens, and the remainder of the trip on the Island of Crete. I planned our flights, where we stayed, what beaches we visited, and we even hiked the Samaria Gorge. Yes, my bravely beautiful Aunt Libby (pictured above) hiked 16 km with me. It would be even more impressive if I shared her age but I won’t do that to her out of love. But trust me, she’s a badass.
After that trip, elated with pride and feeling invincible, I really was feeling like the world was my oyster. I had my college degree and now it was time to enter the work force. With all the strength and determination of a millenial woman, I set my sights on my next adventure; moving out of my home town. Even more, out of state. I got what I considered a dream job at the time, over a video interview, to sell solar panels. And just like that, I was planning my move from Akron, Ohio to the the sunny, southern town of Charleston, South Carolina. I would be moving to an island, and living less than 15 minutes from a beach. Dreams do come true.
Time to Dream a New Dream
I’ve been living in Charleston for almost 3 years now. In that time my career has blossomed and I’ve gone from door to door sales, to Sales Manager, to now being in a position where I create e-learning simulations on my company’s software and solar sales practices. With all the bad that came out of COVID-19, the greatest good was that my company switched permanently to a remote work force. We began the ‘work from home’ life in March of 2020 and I gradually realized that ‘work from home’ can mean ‘work from anywhere’. I’ve been travelling between Charleston and Savannah to aide my adventurous heart in experiencing somewhere new, as the world slowly goes back to normal. Maybe it was being cooped up throughout the pandemic that lit that fire in my heart again to go further, travel farther, experience more.
It finally dawned on me that I could live a larger life if only I had the bravery to pursue it. I’m good with my finances, I have a job that allows me to ‘work from wifi’, and I crave to travel this world far and wide. So this is my new dream. To keep the job I love, continue to grow in my career, and still see the world. I started this blog to share my journey of finding the balance between work and wanderlust. I don’t know where this road will take me, but I can’t wait to share what I learn and experience along the way. Maybe I’ll inspire someone else out there to take that leap themselves. Because if I can do it, so can you. Come dream with me.