I imagine my story is very similar to many other’s out there. My parents were high school sweethearts and married when they were 21. My worldview has always been that that was normal and would be the course of my own life. My mom always encouraged me to go out and be myself before I tied myself to another person, but even hearing that my whole life I stayed with my high school (and part of middle school actually) on and off boyfriend for 10 years.
Well at the end of 2013 I decided that I wasn’t going to live my life to fit what I thought was expected of me. I made the conscious decision to start living the life I had always dreamed of. Up until that point traveling, being independent, and stepping outside my comfort zone had only been something I’d think and dream about but never thought I’d have the guts to do. After reaching a breaking point with my boyfriend and realizing how unhappy I was leaning on him to make my life fulfilling I decided to break up with him and move in with one of my childhood friends. My life has never been the same. I decided not to hate talking to new people because I was intimidated. I planned the trips I wanted to go on. I started doing more than sitting on the couch and watching TV with my boyfriend (usually watching what he wanted).
My first trip was sailing to Catalina with my best friend. I snorkeled through a cave after almost having to be pushed out of the dingy. It was a turning point in my life. I was terrified to look down into the water because of all the sea weed. I was doggy paddling trying to keep my head above water with out choking on the water going down my snorkel and managing a verging anxiety attack. My friend kept telling me to look down. Look at the seaweed. When you use it, it wont scare you. I finally put my goggles in the water and I will never forget the sense of peace that came over me looking into the depths of the ocean and seeing the seaweed that seemed to extend forever dancing in the current. I made my way through the cave and didn’t want to get back in the boat. I realized later the metaphor for life that had been. You can’t avoid the things that scare you, that seem insurmountable. It took a push for me to get into the water, but I was going to have to get through that cave whether I liked it or not. I could have struggled against what scared me and kept my head above water. But facing my fears, looking down into the water was one of the most beautiful experience of my life. Life isn’t about struggling against fear. Its about embracing opportunity and dealing with fear and struggle in a productive way.
Since that trip I’ve been to countless US cities and a few countries (more and more each year). I want to travel because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve had the spark inside me to live in motion and to learn for as long as I can remember. I have a thirst for new experiences that is only perpetuated by each new trip, new friend, new lesson.