Having been to 13 countries before age 22 seemed like the most natural thing to me. I was used to regular travel, spending a few months at a time in college, then going on a Christmas break to Florida with my host family from New Hampshire, and having an international adventure in the summer. Little did I know that things were about to take a turn for the worst.
The first summer off from college, I spent 3 months in Bulgaria and went to Istanbul and Turkey. The second summer I did an “internship” with my host mom in New Hampshire, a ridiculously-gorgeous state during the warm months (but equally as boring), where I lounged around in Boy London shirts and used my most pleasant voice to answer the phone. What saved me that July was a cruise to Scandinavia with the family, where we hit 6 countries in 13 days on a swanky Norwegian Cruiseline ship. Phew! My wanderlust was fulfilled for the time being. FInally, the summer before my last year of college I went to Barcelona, having arranged my own internship through a local employment agency, so that I could pay for my expenses while having a great f*cking time in the city. So far, my life just like my Instagram, had been a series of airplane rides, exotic food, roller coasters and champagne. Then everything crumbled.
As a foreign graduate in the United States, I was given 12 months of grace period to find a job and hang out before deportation, so the summer of 2015 went something like this:
May -> July – I’m working 12 hours a day knocking on doors to sell crap. I’ve got no money, time or energy. Kill me now.
August – sh*t, I’m unemployed, therefore broke, and will probably get deported. Hey, maybe they’ll deport me somewhere exotic!
September -> December – ok, I finally have some money in my account but this job won’t let me take any days off WTF!
All in all, after this series of unfortunate events, I realized in horror what was happening to me.
Having spent 18 months of ZERO travel up until December of 2015, I was severely disturbed by travel withdrawal symptoms. (yeah, it’s a thing) I never realized how much I loved and needed travel until the moment when everything lost sense.
Being stuck in New England for so long, I began feeling really depressed: headaches, irritability, anxiety – check, check and check. I caught myself staring enviously at Instagram and doodling palm trees in my work notebook. I was no longer in touch with my essence and didn’t care to socialize. I longed to be squeezed in a tiny airplane seat, f*ck leg room, I didn’t care if it was the sh*ttiest class as it took me somewhere new.
Have you ever wondered if travel was right for you? I did. Before 2015, I took it as a hobby, an expectation even, for me to be in a different country every month. My friends never knew where I was and would open my snapchats from mountain tops in New Hampshire, castles in Germany and boats in Greece. Once all this got taken away, I truly realized how passionate I was about adventure and how bad I craved it. I knew with a complete clarity that travel was my calling.
So, what lights your fire?