“If everyone waited to become an expert before starting, no one would become an expert. To become an expert, you must have experience. To get experience, you must experiment! Stop waiting. Start doing.” ―Richie Norton

W

th this idea of world travel brewing in my head all I can think of is- where, when and more importantly how! And in-between these continuous moments of excitement are flare-ups of self-reflection; ones that can best be described as half-assed attempts at answering the biggest question of all—why?

I have no starting point, no plan, and no sense of direction all I’m grasping onto is a feeling—an undeniable desire to see and experience the world first hand– and so, that’s really all I have to go by and also where it all begins.  So in the end despite how much I contemplate it the answer remains the same—WHY NOT!

In all honesty, I am completely unqualified to organize a trip of this magnitude as I’ve only been on a handful of trips in my lifetime; never completely alone, all to places that speak my primary language, and all for no longer than 10 days. But what I lack in knowledge and experience I make up for in tenacity and willingness to learn.

I’ve now put in hours upon hours of time into researching how to go about making my dream of embarking on an around-the-world adventure a reality, and what I have found to be the hardest part of my research has been the fact that these sort or trips are very personal, they depend on many factors that are pertinent only to ourselves.

  1. What is your travel style?
  2. How long will your RTW trip last?
  3. How much money will it cost?
  4. What countries will you visit?

All vital questions; however, if you, like me, are in the early pre-planning stages these are all still very much unknown. So in order to avoid confusion I somewhere reverse-engineered the situation. I started off with what I do know rather than the things I had no answers to and I worked my way up from there. In doing so I’ve been able to setup preliminary goals for myself that I hope will help set the wheels in motion for the adventure that lies ahead.

  • I know I wanted to get more ‘bang for my buck’ and the only way I really knew how to do this is to travel slowly so—I set my estimated trip duration at 12 months.
  • I know I don’t want to rely on someone else so—I plan on embarking on this trip as a solo traveler.
  • I know that many before me have been successful on a budget of $50 per day without completely limiting themselves so— I plan on saving up enough (approximately $19K) to get me through the entirety of my trip. I also want to have all my debts (approximately $12K) paid off before departing. Unfortunately sans trust fund, rich parents, or a high paying job this is going to take some time so—I set my goal departure date for May 23, 2018–my 30th birthday, and just under two years. 
  • I know that my current employer will not allow me to take a yearlong sabbatical which means I’ll have to quit my job before embarking on this trip so—I’d like to find a way to supplement a portion of my income while on the road.

I may not know which way I’m headed or what my final destination will be but little by little I am on my way. As I continue to grow so does my ambition.

 

“Walk your own path. Pick your own pace. And stay out of the ‘comparathon’.
― Unknown

I

‘m a bit of a contradiction; when I’m away from what’s familiar, when everything is unknown, that’s when I feel an amplified sense of control over my own life.  After spending the majority of my twenties without a real sense of direction this is without a doubt a feeling that I hunger for—and traveling feeds my soul.

I’ve known for a while now that I’m stuck in this awkward in-between stage of adulthood where refusing to conform gets too easily confused with refusing to grow up; and rightfully so, since even now, at twenty-eight, I am still teeter-tottering between the two. I guess you can say I’m still struggling with the whole “adulthood” thing– frankly I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do and be when I ‘grow up’.

For much of my twenties the uncertainty of where my life was headed was petrifying. The absurd idea that as mid-twenty-something year olds we should have our entire lives figured out had me paralyzed, mostly because, well, I didn’t. With too many questions and not enough answers I anchored myself to the comforts of what was around and I quickly found myself stuck. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and I remained stuck…until now.

The older I get the more I realize that no one has a fucking clue what they’re doing with their life, everyone’s just winging it, and all of us are just trying to figure it out at our own pace.  Today, I find freedom in knowing that I have nothing holding me back; the blank pages of my life mean I have the power to write my own story, and I find that incredibly empowering.

World travel has always been a dream of mine but with the limited paid-time-off I receive at work and limited funds in my bank account it has always appeared to be nothing more than just that– a dream, and a seemingly unattainable one at that. Like many I have always leaned on the notion of ‘one-day’. One day when I have more time, more money, more stability. Maybe one day when I finally ‘get my shit together’.

But with the unpredictability of life–is there really ever a perfect time? If not now, then when?

 

Since my in-flight epiphany my entire perspective has changed.  What once seemed to be merely a dream now feels tangible. I’ve spent countless hours analyzing where I stand at this exact moment in my life—my job, my finances, my personal relationships— and it is clearer than ever that this dream of mine is within reach. The question is no longer ‘can I do this?’ but rather, ‘how?’— How exactly does a broke twenty-something year old who is as clueless about traveling as she is about the direction of her life piece together a plan to embark on a solo around-the-world adventure?

My mind is running in a million different directions. Per usual–I’m lost, but for the first time in a long time I’m lost in what I feel to be the right direction.

“There’s nothing better than when something comes and hits you and you think YES’!”
― J.K. Rowling

T

his year I rang in my 28th birthday in the sky above Tokyo, Japan. It was midnight on May 23rd and I was officially one year older.

My 10 days stint in the magic city had come to a close and I was headed back to America with a heart full of fond memories and a burning desire to return as soon as humanly possible. Like with many of my relationships–I’d fallen in love quickly and unintentionally. This time with a country I previously knew nothing about,  and one I may never have visited had it not been for a booze-filled spur of the moment decision made in the mist of one of my many self-induced ‘WTF am I doing with my life!’ crisis’.

I bid goodbye to my newfound love and as the plane rose higher and higher in elevation I stared out the window at pure darkness, just the glimmering lights from the buildings far below us shining through. I closed my eyes to take it all in and a certain feeling swept over me, one I haven’t felt in a long time—I felt alive.

Right then and there it hit me– This is exactly where I need to be.

It has now been six months and this feeling has yet to escape me, nor do I want it to. At the expense of sounding disgustingly cliché—my world just doesn’t look the same anymore. The 9-to-5 desk job I head to every day doesn’t seem as crucial to my personal growth and success as it once did, and all the material things I thought I couldn’t live without no longer hold the same value.  With travel on the brain I guess the question now is—where do I go from here?

Never have I ever felt more strongly about wanting to do something as I do about wanting to see the world. And although I can’t quite explain this feeling everything in me is telling me that it is something I need to pursue; and so, that’s exactly what I plan to do.

As I embark on this new stage of my life I can’t think of a better way to share my story than to document my journey as it is happening– here on this blog– an ode of sorts to all those years my life stood stagnant.

 

Cheers to new adventures!