I’ll start off first by saying I never thought I had it in me. I never thought I could do it alone, as a girl. Traveling to over 45 countries. Most of them 3rd world countries. Living in hostels, eating food I had no idea what it was, and living without my phone or internet seemed pretty far out there. But I knew I had this inspiration from somewhere and my ambition that made me work so hard to get where I’m at today.
I always knew from when I was little I wanted to travel. My mom always told me I could never set still. I always had to be going somewhere or doing something. In college, I was always the one that everyone knew would be down to go on road trips or spring break with. In 2012, after i graduated with my masters degree, I got the chance to move to St Croix, USVI. I went there with the intention of staying for 6 months. Little did I know that the next three years of my life was going to be spent on that beautiful rock.
Living in the Caribbean opened my eyes to many new things. Things that I had dreamed about as a young adult growing up. Different cultures, different people, beautiful beaches, an all around different way of living. My first 6 months I went without air conditioning, TV, hot water, and internet. And from that point on, it changed my life forever. I realized the small things in life weren’t what they seemed to be. “Wanting” and “needing” are two completely different aspects in life. I soon realized it’s the consequences and cons of living where “you” vacation. But at the end of the day, giving up the small things in life were well worth it in the end. And, because of this, St. Croix is one of the few places in this world that still has my heart to this day.
After opening my eyes to many things all over the Caribbean and meeting people who had the travel bug, I soon realized my dreams in life weren’t unreachable anymore. Seeing though I’m from a small town in a state where no one leaves, I always thought traveling the world was very far-fetched. I wanted to backpack Europe in 2005 when I graduated high school. I remember I told my dad I wanted this as a graduation present and he laughed. Traveling just wasnt heard of where I came from. Moving out of the states and living on an island surrounded by people who travel everyday is when I realized anything is possible if you want it bad enough.
One day I was setting on the beach enjoying my day off with my best friend and we started discussing traveling. She is Italian and has always wanted to go to Italy. My number one destination at the time was Thailand. We advised a plan to work and save all of our money and make a small European/Asia trip over the summer. Neither one of us really knew what we were doing. But we did it anyways and winged it. We went out, bought a $160 backpack and set out to Spain. From Spain we did Italy, Greece, then Thailand. Little did I know it would change me for the better.
I feel in love with Thailand. How they lived their everyday life with so minimal, but yet was so happy. How they didn’t care what color my skin was or what I looked liked. How they were so accepting into their country. This was my first real culture shock. And of all places…Bangkok! And I loved every minute of it. I then knew it wasnt over. I went back to the states and immediately knew I wanted to travel more. But not just a small trip. I wanted to make it big! Months on months of traveling. But then I got nervous. I didn’t think I could do it alone. I started asking myself all these questions in my head: “Is it safe over there?” “Do I know anyone that has done this before?” How many people have been kidnapped traveling alone?” “Will I die?”
After further analyzing my situation and realizing I didn’t have much in the States holding me back, I said “why not.” “What’s the worst that can happen?” Those two thoughts made me make the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. It started one hell of a journey that has sculpted me to the woman I am today. And I hope everyone that reads my blogs will understand that in order to really travel, you must understand the nature of it. You must have the ambition and courage to set out and get lost in places you have never been before. To be outgoing and just simply love life in every country you visit. To look past the language barrier, the culture, the poverty, and the religion of these people you will meet. Be open-minded and accept everything that is thrown your way. This is why I travel….These things are why I began this journey I now call my life….