At a young age, I started writing short stories and poetry constantly, probably because it provided a much needed emotional outlet. It also gave me a break from reading, which, as a homeschooled child, was what I did the majority of the time. I spent most of my adolescence dreaming of going “anywhere but here,” but at the time, my top two choices were New York City or Paris because I thought that is where writers would be.
When I was 15, I won a scholarship to a boarding school in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I was suddenly surrounded by peers from all over the world and my desire to travel continued to grow. There, my writing took a much more academic turn, and I stopped seeing it so much as a form of self-expression as a tool to get into college. It was one of the first great losses of my life – and one that I look forward to rediscovering. But let’s not jump ahead just yet.
Attending that school provided me my first big chance to travel internationally. As a sophomore, I went on an art history trip to Italy and visited Venice, Florence and Rome. It was exhausting and stressful – I was ill and homesick and it resulted in a very expensive phone call home that my mom politely cut short after just a few minutes. It was also exhilarating, beautiful, intoxicating, and I knew I wanted more of that feeling.
I graduated in 2009 (oh hey, massive recession), enrolled in an “affordable” large college with a declared major in English and Spanish, and like most 18 year olds, no idea of how to turn my abstract desires into a career. I had hoped to study abroad as a junior to improve my Spanish, but it was not meant to be. Plagued by trouble fitting in socially, being just a number to most of my teachers, health problems personally and within my family, and financial concerns, I decided to leave college after two years.
Before I started working for the company I would spend the next decade with, I had the chance to take one more trip to Whistler and Pemberton, Canada. After spending a few days there, I drove back across the country to the East Coast and was able to spend time in parts of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota along the way.
Sadly, the end of that trip was the beginning of a long travel hiatus and I didn’t go anywhere from 2011 until 2018. These were the years where my life sort of got away from me. As I said in my introduction post, I found myself stuck in the wheel of a capitalist culture and couldn’t envision how to escape. While I had the means and opportunity to take trips, I definitely saw travel as an upper class privilege and the thought of traveling solo never even crossed my mind.
In 2017, after a series of personal losses and more health issues, on top of a job that gave me zero sense of value or satisfaction, I was worn down. I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep hole and I had no idea how I was going to get out. It was a struggle to get up most days, and I would sometimes cry on the way to work, or even at work if I had to speak with someone who was particularly nasty.
THE TURNING POINT:
One day, after randomly coming across an article recommending it, I made the decision to download Bumble. I didn’t have a lot of hope in a favorable outcome (online dating is hard), but boy was I wrong. One of my first matches was my partner, Kelton. I finally met someone in our rural area who loved traveling as much as I did, and suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone.
We took our first trip together, Christmas in New York City, less than a month and a half later and we’ve been traveling as much as possible ever since. Based on Kelton’s current job, and my previous job, that has limited us to about 3 weeks a year. Despite the pandemic rightly pausing travel for quite some time, we were able to visit Thailand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Portugal and Mexico (twice) in the past 5 years. We also took a few domestic trips which included New Orleans, Asheville, Chicago, and Sedona.
During the pandemic, I was extremely lucky to retain my job and be able to work from home for the duration. I was able to save money, despite high rent and cost of goods, due to barely leaving the house, selling my car when the market was favorable to me, and running a side business for a year and a half on Instagram.
In late April, I left my corporate job for good and started to think about my next steps. I kept coming back to my true passions in life – travel and writing. I truly enjoy spending hours researching and planning our trips. I definitely like to be a prepared traveler and have some type of safety net to fall back on if things don’t go as planned. Which, spoiler alert, they won’t.
I know so many people in my immediate circle who are intimidated by travel or just don’t seem that interested in leaving the United States. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but I think that traveling provides invaluable lessons about yourself and others that you can’t learn elsewhere. Traveling is a challenge, but it is also infinitely rewarding. It has changed my life because it has made me see beyond myself.
To be honest, I don’t know which direction my writing, or my traveling, will take. I would love to stay in the places I visit longer, which is why we are about to spend 2 whole months in Mexico. I want to have the time to learn more from the people there and positively contribute in any way I can. I want to do the research, so you don’t have to. I want to dispel some of the myths that kept me from traveling just a few short years ago.
What I hope to do in the meantime is provide value in this space – to make travel easier, more accessible, more personal, more rewarding, and more transformative by sharing my voyage with you.
4 thoughts on “The Virgo Voyager: My Backstory and Intentions”
I’m excited to follow along!
Your travel stories are always so amazing, I can’t wait to read more on here!
It is great to see you stepping away & taking this big new step! I look forward to following along! I will live vicariously thru your travels!!! Not many opportunities in my current role!
Thank you for supporting my venture by subscribing! Happy to have you following along!
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