“So if you don’t mind me asking, how did you do IT?”
A strange little word, IT. I only started marinating on that thought once people started asking me with a certain tentative curiosity, “So, how did you do it?” Almost asking me with the hope that if I were to tell them how I accomplished my IT, just maybe, it will unlock the secretes of how to attain their IT. Marvelous how much such a small word can encompass. Vague and broad, yet depending on its application directionally specific.
I have many “its” but when people ask me these days they’re generally referring to my world travel. How did I do IT? There are many factors that got me up to the tipping point of my dramatic lifestyle change.
Rewind to my childhood. For a number of reasons after my parents divorced when I was 8 I began to feel like a financial burden for both my mom and dad. I was always fed and had a roof over my head. But somewhere between child support scandals and who gets to claim who in taxes I was affected. So at 15 I got a job in retail and 16 I moved on to restaurant work. At 18 I put 3k toward a car and got a 8k loan. I had 5 years to pay it off, I paid it off in just under 2 years. Boom- just like that I established credit, good credit. And guess what? I didn’t need a credit card to do it. I have never been interested in the concept of spending money that wasn’t mine and accrued charges; ultimately making the thing I couldn’t afford with my own money to start with more expensive than it was when I shouldn’t have bought it.
Other than my transportation and food, I did not buy things. I was afraid to spend money, which just like being able to spend it freely without guilt is both a blessing and a curse. I had all this money saved but every time I got a flat tire or needed dental floss it felt like the end of the world because a piece what I earned was now gone and what if I one day didn’t have enough to get by?!? Which is just a mess of backwards thinking because obviously money is a tool the human species utilizes to create the life they wake up to every day. Key word there TOOL. How good is that shovel in your garage for digging a hole in your back yard for the willow tree you someday want if you never stick it in mother earth for fear of it getting scuffed up or broken? Never going to reap the benefits of a shady willow if one isn’t willing to take a risk with the tool you have to get it done. How good is money in my bank if i don’t start utilizing it to my benefit. Additionally how do I rid myself of the post money spending, MONEY COMPLEX, in other words, how do I spend money without feeling guilty afterwards? What kind of life was I living by hoarding my pile and not allowing myself an un-guilty purchase?
LIFE BEGS US TO TAKE RISKS EVERY DAY. Weather we gear our risks toward benefitting us positively or negatively, well thats up to us.
At 20 years old I got a voicemail that profoundly changed my world forever, a dear friend passed away in a tragic accident. I picked up a second job the next day. With $13,000 saved up, and now two jobs I realized just how precious our time on this earth was, I could fucking die tomorrow. The following week I ended the relationship I was in (for good this time), got a cute apartment with a co-worker, bought two large flat screen TV’s, a laptop, a sound system for my car, and room. After all, why work so hard and treat myself so little?
I was enjoying my living situation but two waitressing jobs weren’t fulfilling me, and I needed to make something greater of myself. I choose esthetician school, mainly because popping zits is satisfying! Shortly before I dove into that career my life lead down a path of leadership development. I invested quiet a bit of time, money, and energy toward it for the next two years while juggling two jobs. The organization didn’t become a life long business for me like I desired, but it did lead my life in a few very positive directions. Nothing wrong with reading a ton of books with the intent for personal growth for two years of your young adult life.
On my 23rd birthday I went to nude hot springs with a few close friends. After a whole day of sun bathing and floating around in hot pools I hit the sauna, where I first met a Unicorn. There we are, both butt naked, dripping sweat, saying hello for the first time. I was in conversation with Bradley Coopers Doppelganger, happy birthday to ME. He wasn’t just beauty on the outside, his whole existence blew me out of the water. In a nut shell at 24 he started a non-profit in Guatemala that has put up over 50 schools for kids. He flosses, eats quinoa, starts every day off with warm lemon water, doesn’t believe in social media, and he cares about the world in a way that many people will never tap into. Of course a man of such nature doesn’t believe in monogamy, thus I dub him Unicorn.
My encounter with him was inspirational. It got me thinking that I wanted to do something out in the world. Adventure, explore, backpack? YES- that’s it. I wanted to backpack. Once the seed was planted I began to put my feelers out. I called my grandpa because world travel was something he certainly has credentials in. I said, “Grandpa, I want to backpack a country for 6 weeks. I have money saved I can figure out my jobs as far as time off goes. Where do you think would be the safest place for a solo female such as myself to go?” He said he would call me back. HA.
When he got back to me he says, “How about I just take you to Belize for 10 days, and show you the ropes of how to be in a foreign country.” The excitement that pulsed through my whole body was so tangible that thinking of it now I can relive the experience, there was definitely jumping up and down.
BOOM- I was going to Belize in June.
APRIL 2014, many things that were sure in my life weren’t sure anymore, and this stressed me out. The company I worked for as an esthetician gave notice that they were filling bankruptcy. SHIT, was I loosing my big girl job? Simultaneously, my roommate found out she was accepted to Oregon. She wasn’t just any roommate. She was a roommate that paid half the rent, and didn’t physically live at the house. She kept it so she could live with her boyfriend, but not have to answer to her highly old school family. It was ideal for me I had my very own apartment with a garage for half the price!! So, maybe I was loosing my job, I was definitely loosing my roomy. What was I to do? Find someone else with their mess and problems to move in with me, or down size and pay twice the price? All while working at a restaurant I had been at for the last 7.5 years, and still didn’t even feel appreciated? Life felt HEAVEY.
May 2014, I went to a concert with friends in San Francisco. Dancing up a storm in a self created circle of space watching the performance intently my mind exploded. It clicked over 9 times. Like the hand of a clock, moving forward one jolty precise click after another. Taking a massive inhale through the nose my eyes started to well with water. I released fear. Fear of unknown. Fear of not having money. Fear of what people would think if I didn’t have a fucking job at all. This is gonna sound like some hippie shit, but my third eye was on fire, and I was awake enough to witness. Walking back to the car that night I told my friends… “I am quitting my jobs before I leave for Belize, selling my things, going to hawaii, and- I don’t know what else.”
So how did I do IT?
A series of events occurred in my life over a period of time that changed me. Though my epiphany was the tipping point, it took everything that came before it to get me there.
I BECAME A RISK TAKER. Meaning- I let go of meaningless mental garbage that was keeping me from seeing the bigger picture. I stopped letting the fear of spending money keep me from putting chunks of my pile into worthy places. I made space in my brain for new ideas, new ways of thinking. It was now okay to not be a proud work-o-holic. While even to this day I put considerable amount of thought into where my money goes I am working toward giving myself grace and freedom to buy that tall starbucks chai latte without shame because I LOVE BLOGGING, and I do it best in coffee shops. I am not there yet, but I can envision taking my blogging environment to the beaches of the world. That thought makes my heart race. What makes your heart race?
I didn’t know what the next 7 months had in store for me? I didn’t know I would go to belize and be point toward Thailand that would ultimately manifest the 6 weeks of backpacking trip I started pursuing in october 2013.
All I knew for sure was my last day of work was June 19th, and from there a series of mini vacations would carry me through until November. It looked like this…
1. To kick it all off I was a bridesmaid in my childhood best-friend, Sarah’s wedding.
2. Cousin Kylee Palmer visited me in Cali, and we had adventures for 5 hilarious days. I learned she hates cilantro, receipts of any kind, and loves dancing with her arms up to ghetto music. Her and I started brainstorming places we may want to travel together. After a three way conference call to grandpa a caribbean cruise was born that coming January. Yes- we are blessed our grandpa worked so hard his whole life and can do such magnificent things for us.
3. 10 Days in Belize with my kick ass Grandpa. Where I stayed in my first hostel, but woke up early enough to hang with gramps for continental break fast at his swanky pool equip hotel. Staying in my first hostel I met a handful of single female travelers from around all over the world. The question I asked each of them was, “I’m new at this where would you suggest is a good country for a solo female backpacker to start? Where have you felt the safest?” The response was always, South East Asia. This seemed too foreign to swallow. They were recommending I go alone to South East Asia? I couldn’t quiet wrap my mind about it, thinking of embarking on a trip of such boldness made me weak in the knees.
4. I got home from Belize at 2am, 7pm headed on a camping trip with a huge group of friends and acquaintances. Pack house that week and then head to Northern nights music festival. Where I met McKinley Tennant. A yoga instructor who I connected with so deeply once she told me her story and that she was just back from Thailand I knew I had to get there, but wasn’t sure how when or what it would look like.
5. At the end of July with only my car full of camping gear and bear necessities to come back to, I left for Hawaii. I Spent most of August there what a wild ride that was. It was a series of serious lessons on what ignoring your intuition can do to you.
6. September through October I hit the road and explored California. Visiting family, friends and meeting many unique humans along the way I conquered; Paradise, Chico, Vallejo, Willets, San Francisco, Oakdale, Tahoe, Big Sur, Pismo, Santa Barbara, Hunnington Beach, Santa Monica, & San Diego. While in Oakdale my grandpa helped me piece together my Thailand trip. I would leave November 6th and come back December 19th. That gave me a week to be home for christmas, and then I would wrap up my travels after the cruise my cousin mid January. OR not- how the heck did I know.
Ultimately when I got back from the cruise I decided to stay at my grandpas and fill that bank back up working for 6-8 months while I sit in coffee shops blogging my thoughts and prepping my next big adventure around the world.
“WOW. That is so much I wish I could do something like that, but I could never. If you don’t mind me asking… How did you do IT?
Well theres no short easy way to answer that, but once I recognize that it was possible to travel the world, and not be enslaved with the mindset most Americans are I will never not be a world traveler. Now I haven’t been to all the corners of the earth, but I am compelled to explored and inspired to show people the way if their open and willing to find their IT. Also, I might encourage the person who claims they wish they could do something to instead switch that thought to, “If I were to do this, what would need to happen?”
Wheeewww, that was a LONG one. Thanks for being tuned in!!!