My ‘Someplace Better’

There are a lot of aspects of my life that I am very open about. Hello, I am an over-sharer, remember?

But there’s one huge part of me that I’d say I’m rather private about, or so I’ve been told. Now that I am traveling full time and fulfilling my life’s desire to see the world without constantly checking work emails and to simply be present, I think you should know what made me this way.

Why do I have a burning desire to experience new cultures? Why do I get the most satisfaction checking things off my bucket list? And why do I say YES to everything travel related?

In short, the answer is my Mom.

9 years ago today I lost the person who made me. The person who gave me my auburn hair, my freckles, my height (sorry Dad, it’s true) and the courage that I can be anything I want in this world so I better never hold back.

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I’m a true believer that what happens in your childhood shapes the person you are today. Hands down.

Life throws you curve balls and this was ours.

You learn how to get through it, channel your anger and sadness to be strong. You turn that energy into willpower. You don’t just throw your hands up and give up when you get that curve ball, no way.

This isn’t supposed to be sad. I want it to be inspiring; to show you that shitty things happen in your life and how you can turn them (eventually) into a positive outcome and get someplace better.

 

Switching gears.

I follow a ton of travel bloggers. One in particular has a mantra that you can travel the world on $50 a day. He released a contest and wanted to award 1 person with $18,250 to quit their jobs and go travel for a year.  His ask was to get raw, honest and share WHY traveling makes you tick? I shared my entry with my closest friends and family but decided today that I’m going to share with everyone.

I didn’t win.

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And that’s okay because by writing it down it helped me. It confirmed that what Andy and I are doing this year was perfect for us.

Our own little curve ball that we decided to throw into our lives on purpose.

Here’s my contest entry:

Science says that you receive about 50% of your genetic makeup from each of your parents. If there’s such thing as a travel chromosome then I would be absolutely convinced that I was the mailman’s daughter. As a kid, both my parents made it a point to tell me that there is so much out there in the world and you can’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and experience it. My parents had never been out of the country (aside from a few Caribbean islands), and never had the travel bug quite like I do.

For me, my burning desire to see the world and escape the safe nest my parents created occurred 9 years ago. It was my junior year of college and I was about to travel half way around the world to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. My mom helped me plan the entire semester, from travel to housing to convincing my dad this once in a lifetime experience would help shape the woman I’d become in the future. Exactly 7 days before I was about to leave my cushy New England college and plunge into a world outside of everything I knew, my mom suddenly & tragically died.

During that week where I could barely comprehend how my life had just drastically changed I somehow made one of the best decisions of my life, and that was to still go to Australia. Everything I did while I was abroad I did for her. I know it may sound cliché, but I know that since February 2009, I genuinely live everyday like it’s my last.

Post college, I moved to NYC with $800 in my bank account and a chip on my shoulder to conquer one of the most intimidating places in the world. My dad said I was nuts, my friends said I should stay home, but that only motivated me to show them that I could make it.

In the last 7 years I have traveled to countries I never thought I’d see, established a career in technology, and got engaged to my best friend.  The travel gods must have heard my prayers, or maybe it was my mom’s god wink that sent me a man that fully embraces the travel lifestyle and desire to see every inch of this world.

In my book, I’d say I’ve conquered NYC and am ready for the next journey. Together, we would help inspire others to explore the world and, if given the option to take the comfortable route or uncomfortable route, always choose the latter because it can lead to something amazing.

I mean, what could be more uncomfortable than living out of a suitcase during your first year of marriage?!

Genetically speaking, my parents may not have passed down that travel gene, but they instilled characteristics inside me that have led me to travel the world without fear and embrace every opportunity that comes my way.

It wasn’t just this event that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I am surrounded by such powerful women in my life that of course will never replace what my mom was able to give me everyday but they sure have a much bigger impact than they may think.

My little sister Tess, Mary (my dads fiancé), my amazing mother in law, Barb, my Aunt Geri and Aunt Thea – you all have qualities in you that remind me of my mom in someway. Not to mention my amazing cousins, sisters-in-law Sarah & Nisha, new sis Keri and last but certainly not least, my best girlfriends.

You have all helped me in so many ways possible and for that I am forever grateful.

But the biggest mention needs to go to my Dad because he had to become a Dad-Mom to a 17 year old and 20 year old.

What a guy.

He may have got his grays a few years earlier than most dads but he did it, he got us through.

The 3 of us knocked that curve ball out of the god damn park.

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15 thoughts on “My ‘Someplace Better’

  • So proud of the woman you have become. It is because of life’s curve balls that make you the person you are meant to be. I am so thankful to have experienced some of your early travel days by your side. Enjoy every moment of this year and know your Mom is one proud Momma looking down over these adventures for the 2 of you. Love you Sammy! xoxox.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wow – so proud of you Sam! You’re incredibly strong and brave to share your story with the world. So happy Andy is helping you cross off your bucket list one destination at a time. Miss you both, and keep posting!!!!! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  • Honestly Sam I say it every year but you and ur sister are two of the strongest most courageous women I know! I knew Tess long before I met you but I have still been able to watch you two grow in the shadow of such darkness you both faced 9 years ago. I will never forget the memorial service for your Mom and the young girls u were then. Since then you both have accomplished so much. I am honestly so jealous how u are able to throw ur cares to the wind and fulfill ur dream of traveling no holds barred. Your willingness to face adversity under the most shitty circumstances and coming out on top! You are successful, beautiful, smart, care-free and inspiring. I am honored to be your sister in law and you inspire me every day to let go a little bit more! I just thought of u all day today; so proud of you!!! Love, Nisha!!! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m in tears, Sam. Such sweet words about your mom and how her encouragement shaped and still does shape what you’re doing. Hoping I can influence my girls and their dreams like your mom did for you. Love seeing your travel pics – enjoy every moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sam ~ the beauty and truth of your words brought me to tears!!! Your mom would be so very proud of you and Tess!!! I’m so happy you have chosen to go on this adventure with Andy and are sharing it with all of us!! Love you!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your words are beautiful Sam. I have come to know you “virtually” through your fabulous sister, Tess. I love to hear the pride and love in her voice when she speaks of both you and your mom. Becoming a “Motherless daughter ” 3 years ago at 54, was life changing for me. I honestly cannot imagine what it must have been like at 17 and 20. I am certain having each other is one of the few things that makes it tolerable for you and Tess. This journey you and Andy are on is absolutely inspiring. I am loving your blog. As a mom myself, I am certain your mom would be so very proud of your courage and sense of adventure.
    Kim, Zach’s mum

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kim! I feel like I know you too!! Tess absolutely adores you. Next time we are in Newport with Zach and tess we will have to plan to finally meet. Thank you for your kind words, I’m so flattered that you’re following along! See you soon.

      Like

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