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.
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.
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.
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.