Epiphany 25

Throughout my life, I’ve had a lot of turning points that lead me here. The most recent is the one I will call the Epiphany 25. About 4 months ago, on my 25th birthday, my friends (who are a little older than I) warned me of this big epiphany I would be having at some point in the following year. To be honest, I didn’t know if they were being serious or what to think, but I looked forward to the day I’d be getting this epiphany, if it did come. I didn’t think it would come so early in the year.

 

I think it hit me either in late February when I was researching one of my favorite photographers, or in March when I went to LA for vacation for four days and dreaded coming home more than ever before. Or more likely, it was a combination of both. So much was happening to me at that time and I’ve been preparing to go back to school, and I think somewhere along the way, it hit me that I was going back to school for the wrong subject, but I’d already met with a counselor and worked on building an SEP so I didn’t really want to change it.

 A couple weeks passed, I did what I do best: Research. I researched a lot, about my school’s photography programs and business certificates, about cheap/free ways to travel, how to be successful as a photographer when, chances are, most of your photography will be of the fine art variety.

 

At some point during all of this research, it hit me. The dream I had when I was younger that I thought had died just resurfaced, I wanted to forget having a stable life and a job that keeps me in one place and I wanted to travel, using photography as a way to fund the travels. At the time, I didn’t know how I’d manage this… being completely honest, I still kind of wonder how I plan on doing most of the stuff I plan on doing, career-wise. It’s an ongoing process and it excites me more than anything has ever excited me in the past, when thinking of a career I actually want to pursue.

 

As much as this epiphany excites me, it also kind of scares me, especially as time goes on and all of my goals and dreams just keep on growing to be bigger than I meant for it to be. I really can’t wait to see what my Age 25 Epiphany grows to become.

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My Influences Part I: Grandma

So, this is part one of a series of I’m not sure how many will end up here, but I wanted to talk about influences in my life and how they’ve inspired what I’m doing now, giving each major influence their own dedicated post.

 

For the first choice, it only feels right to go with my grandma. She wouldn’t have known it when she was alive, but she is actually one of the biggest influences for me wanting to take up photography on a professional level, as she was always taking pictures of everyone and everything when I was younger. I think there must have been hundreds of pictures displayed in the old house, and like a million more tucked away in photo albums and envelopes in cabinets and drawers throughout the house.

I remember in the ninth grade, I went on a field trip to the Hearst Castle, grandma made me take her camera with me. It was an old 35mm film Vivitar, so whatever pictures I took that day I had to wait two weeks to actually see, but that was a huge turning point for me. I knew at that point that I wanted to travel to all these cool places and capture all these awesome moments. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life, when I grew up… but I was raised to believe that was too expensive, that I’d need to be rich to travel like that, to live a life like that… and my family was far from rich, so I never even thought to try.

 

My grandma also made me want to see the world the way she saw it in her younger days. I know that’s impossible, I can’t go back in time and visit places she’s been or see things through her eyes, but it does inspire me to at least try… if not the places she went, then other places filled with history.

Grandma was a storyteller. She would tell the same stories about “the old days” over and over, and I never once got tired of hearing those stories. I lived for them, and I would give anything to sit down and hear them all just one more time. Because of that, I feel like I’ve grown to appreciate history, not only my grandma’s, but everyone’s. Many of her stories were about experiences with her siblings and parents when she was just a little girl, living back during the second world war. I couldn’t retell her stories and capture the essence she gave them if I tried.

Maybe it’s because of her stories, or maybe it’s because of all the old photographs I saw lying around the house when I was growing up, but I’ve always believed that sites of historical significance have their own story to tell, much like the stories grandma told me of her past. Some good, some not so good… but all of them worthy of being heard. All of them important enough to be known. As a traveler, and as a photographer, one of my goals will ultimately be to visit as many historically significant sites as I can and try to capture the stories that were once told. Just because history is done and a part of the past doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us now, or that it won’t in the future. Just because the moments I’m looking to capture are in the past doesn’t mean they don’t leave a certain essence behind.

 

So thank you yet again, grandma. I know you probably never expected for your old photographs or your awesome stories of the good old days to inspire something this big. I hope to make you proud.

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Society And Learned Helplessness

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There is this psychological phenomena I have recently learned about called Learned Helplessness. It’s a very interesting thing that I feel like I’ve actually been working to overcome, lately. Basically, what it is, is the mental state of being forced to endure painful or unpleasant stimuli, so much so that when given an opportunity to escape it, you just accept it something you cannot change.

While this concept is mostly tied to animal behavior, dogs are actually a popular test subject for this phenomena; I do believe it applies to humans as well, especially when society gets involved.

 

I have a friend, a lot of stuff has happened in her life over the course of the last two to three years, a lot of negative outcomes that she just didn’t have any control over. This friend became a victim of her own negativity and just learned to accept it all as unavoidable. She’s only just starting to figure out ways to escape that way of thinking.

When you don’t have control over something, it’s not uncommon to just accept that’s just the way things are and there’s absolutely nothing you can do. While I understand that “it is what it is” mentality, I feel like it’s a dangerous mentality to settle into, especially when you’re subject to a lot of negativity in your life.

 

Now, I am lucky. While I did have to face a lot of negativity in life when I was growing up, I was eventually taken out of the bad environment, when I moved in with my grandma at age 14. While I have been affected by several negative impacts over the years, mostly in the more recent years, I can’t really say my life is full of negativity. Not in the same way as my friend, anyways.

I am pretty sure I’ve touched on this before, the way my grandma wanted to shelter me from the world. Her ways of doing so were very effective, and while I understand her want to protect me, it did kind of render me helpless… and it was something I had learned to live with and accept while she was alive.

 

Society also has this way of making people settle for less and learn to live with what they’re given rather than reach for more and be apart of something bigger than themselves. My former teacher and I were kind of discussing this when we went out for lunch on Sunday, how society tends to expect people to fit in some mold and if you don’t fit in that mold, it makes it impossible to really fit in with society and do things that should be simple, such as getting a good job.

What a lot of people don’t realize though, is that while there are a lot of professions with a strict guideline on how to make it – med school for doctors, law school for lawyers, veterinary school for veterinarians, etc… those jobs you do need help to make the career possible. There is a much larger amount of careers where you really have to find a way to do it yourself, there is no set-in-stone way of getting there and being successful. Society makes you feel like you’re not in control, and you feel like you need to reach out and look for help from other people to get that control.

With the many career paths in which you have to find your own way, you can’t really rely on society or other people to help. Taking it in your own hands is often the only way anything will ever get done, and I feel like that’s what all this is about. My venturing out into the world, building my own career, not giving a fuck what society wants out of me anymore, or what other people want out of me. I don’t want to be victim of this phenomena or a victim of society’s games. I want to live my life and have complete control over my own destiny.

Biggest Fears of Traveling

So, today I want to talk a little about my fears… and not the silly ones like somehow accidentally ordering escargot while in France. Living my life on the go and building a career for myself when I was basically raised to believe that wasn’t entirely possible, it’s a very scary thing. Here are my three biggest fears when it comes to traveling the world.

By far, my biggest fear, is that when I actually get out and see the world and then come back home, home isn’t going to feel like home anymore. I guess that’s not so much of a big deal considering it really hasn’t felt like home since grandma was alive. After she died, I didn’t feel like I really had anything to keep me here and everything just feels temporary. Living in her house after she left was temporary until I found an apartment, living in the apartment was temporary until the lease ran out, living with my mom was temporary until I find another option… now, living with my cousin feels temporary because I don’t know if/when they’ll get tired of me and send me back to my mom’s. Nothing after grandma’s death feels like a permanent solution. This is something I am completely prepared for, but I don’t know if preparation will really be enough. Especially hearing about the coming home experiences of other long term travelers.

Right after that… my fear of something happening to my family while I’m gone and me not being around to help. My mom isn’t in the best of health, my sister is spinning out of control and there’s always my niece to worry about because my sister just doesn’t care. This was actually something I was guilt tripped about when I was telling others of my post-college plans, but honestly… none of that is my responsibility. I shouldn’t have to live my life for anyone other than myself.

And the last one, not as big as it’s just weird and I don’t quite understand it, but I am actually a little afraid of succeeding in all of this. I don’t expect it to be an instant success, building my career on the road. The thought of actually going after something I’ve dreamt of for so long and actually succeeding, especially knowing I have people who don’t necessarily agree with me doing something this bold… it’s exciting, but it’s also kind of scary to think about. Especially since this success would be so much bigger than any of my past successes.

Week In Awesome Update

This week has been an awesome week! Well… apart from all the injuries I have dealt with. I should really make a note to self to pack a really good first aid kit whenever the time comes to go on this journey. Seriously. Personally, I hope something in me changes when I’m no longer home and I am not such an awkward idiot who is always injuring herself. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself how I am, awkward tendencies and all… but life would be easier without them.

 

Anywho… what made this week awesome! Many things.

 

First things first, my first $200! One month ago, I was someone who couldn’t save a dollar to save her life. If I had money, chances are it was burning a hole in my pocket and I wouldn’t have it for long. It’s a huge reason why I am thankful my aunt is in charge of my inheritance fund… if I had it to myself, it would have been gone a year ago, and I would have been so screwed.

I have been saving up now for one month and I have recently made it to the $200 mark in my savings, in under a month actually. It’s a small feat, but it feels kinda incredible, having so much self control over something I used to have no control over. I think my grandma would be most proud.

It really does go to show how quickly money adds up when you’re not spending it all.

 

Then, earlier on in the week… I officially changed my major from math to photography! I was mostly inspired by the fact that I had an interview, failed that interview, and did not get the job. Basically, I am tired of having to rely on others to like be enough to hire me. I want to have control of my own life, completely. I want to be able to build my own career so I don’t have to worry about others telling me I can’t work for them or they don’t believe I have the qualifications. Me majoring in math was, as I put it in a previous entry, a safety net. Something I was leaning on because that’s where existing jobs are. What I really want to do is get out and see the world, be a photographer, be a writer. Live by my own standards rather than society’s.

And the last bit of awesome… I am meeting with my former math teacher tomorrow (today?) for lunch! I haven’t seen her for almost two years! She has always been like family to me and she was actually the one who originally inspired me to be a math teacher. I have yet to tell her that I changed my major… or any of these recent plans for my future, for that matter. I am actually planning on telling her all about it when we are at lunch. But she has always been one of my biggest supporters for pretty much everything I did in life, for the last eleven years. I have no doubt in my mind that she will be just as excited about this as I am, and I can’t wait to let her in on it all. 🙂

My Very Long, Surprisingly Condensed Bucket List

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So, today’s post is inspired by a small talk I had with my aunt after she shared this photo on Facebook of a water slide in Sicily that slides into the ocean. I mean, I knew this post was going to be a thing, but I honestly thought it wouldn’t come till much later. Because the full bucket list is very, very long (as in, it would take weeks to just write), I thought I would save that for a later date/maybe it’s own page. For today, a very condensed version. Lots of Top 3’s, because that is easier to write and, I’m sure, for you to read. (You will thank me later!)

My goal is to visit six out of seven continents. I wouldn’t say no to Antarctica, but I would have to take a long, hard moment to ask myself if frostbites are worth it. If I do end up visiting Antarctica and live to tell that tale, I might as well add Mars to the bucket list as well. I mean, space gets cold, if I can take the South Pole, I can do it all. Right?

Anywho… To the bucket list! I am thinking it will be outline-style… (6) Continents > (3) Countries > (3) Places I wanna see/things I need to do within said country. Mostly in order, some of it just in random order because I really can’t choose just three about each place. It’s torture.

  1. Europe
    1. Switzerland
      1. Lake Geneva
      2. Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern.
      3. Eat all the cheese. I am not even going to bother lying, that is probably going to be my #1 favorite thing about Switzerland when I go.
    2. Italy40
      1. Sicily. Mainly for that epic slide seen in the photo above. Also to pay a visit to the Greek Ruins.
      2. Pompeii. As ancient as it is, do I need a reason?
      3. Rome. I must do as the Romans do. Tourism be damned. :p
    3. Iceland
      1. All the geysers. (Would those be okay to swim in?)
      2. See the Northern Lights. Pretty sure that’s on everyone’s bucket list, though.
      3. Skaftafell Ice Cave in Vatnajökull National Park. Seriously beautiful.
  2. Asia
    1. India
      1. Buddhist Caves of Ajanta.
      2. Eat all the food. Again… I have fairly recently (within the last 41year) learned I love Indian food! I mean, even the vegetables are delicious, and I hate vegetables.
      3. Holi. The festival that takes place over two days every year, also known as the “Festival of Color,” it celebrates the victory of good over evil. With all the color flying around, it’s like a photographer’s dream. :p
    2. Cambodia
      1. Preah Vihear Temple
      2. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
      3. Pub Street and Siem Reap Night Market.
    3. Thailand
      1. Hill Tribe Villages.
      2. Bangkok. There’s a bunch of Buddhist Temples there that I must see. I would love to take some time and stay at a Buddhist Monastery.
      3. Khao Sok National Park
  3. Africa
    1. Egypt
      1. The Great Pyramids of Giza. I mean seriously. Who visits Egypt and doesn’t when those out?
      2. Saqqara. The Pyramids there have been dated to be even older than the Great Pyramids of Giza. Also, it sounds like a wonderful destination with few tourists.42
      3. Luxor Temple
    2. Rwanda
      1. Kigali. Learn about the history and visit the Genocide memorials.
      2. Nyungwe National Park
      3. Huye
    3. Morocco
      1. The Blue City.
      2. The Majorelle Gardens
      3. Hike in the Atlas Mountains
  4. North America
    1. Canada
      1. Vancouver
      2. The Niagara Falls
      3. Stratford Festival
    2. USA
      1. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Has literally been at the top of my bucket list for things I wanna do in my own country for years.43
      2. Portland. I just want to see everything in that city. (Oregon, not Maine. Though… I would not complain to see Maine’s Portland as well. :p)
      3. New York City. I actually want to live there. Not long term, maybe for about a year… to be honest, it sounds too expensive to live there long term.
    3. Mexico
      1. Chichen Itza
      2. Teotihuacan. A prehistoric city. Most people might find it boring, but I tend to find historical places fascinating.
      3. Marieta Islands. Maybe go snorkeling or kayaking!
  5. South America
    1. Brazil44
      1. Iguazu Falls
      2. Tijuca National Park
      3. Sao Paulo Museum of Art
    2. Peru
      1. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
      2. The Sacred Valley of the Incas
      3. Ampay National Sanctuary
    3. Chile
      1. Laguna Verde. Volcanoes, hot springs, surreal landscape. What more can I ask for? Other than for the volcanoes to please not erupt while I am there. Please?
      2. Valparaiso.
      3. Paragliding in Iquique
  6. Australia/Oceana
    1. Figi
      1. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant
      2. Scuba dive at Rainbow Reef
      3. Explore the Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve.
    2. New Zealand
      1. Waitomo Caves
      2. Milford Sound
      3. Bay Of Islands
    3. Australia
      1. Sydney. Let’s be real… I am probably too afraid to explore too much of the wild side Down Under. All the 45bugs are bigger in Australia! Also, I really wanna go to the Taronga Zoo.
      2. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef. Because I love water too much to ever be afraid of that. (There aren’t any giant swimming tarantulas in Australia, are there?)
      3. Healesville Sanctuary. I promise I will try not to steal a koala while I’m there. Or try to ride in a kangaroo pouch.

 

So there it is! The extremely short version of the bucket list. Maybe I’ll post a more intensive list at a later time. My own 100 Things To Do/Places To See Before I Die.

Also, none of these photos are mine.

The Ever-Changing Path and Future Goals

There are a lot of things I want to do in this life. When it comes to career goals, it’s actually kind of really difficult for me to decide on just one thing, something I can see myself being successful at and happy doing. I flip flop on what I want to do all the time, if I’m envisioning my future being in one place constantly… however, when I think of possible career goals while spending a big part of my life traveling, it is so much easier to say what I want to do, things I feel I would be successful at and happy doing.

Something I am slowly beginning to realize… when you make such a big decision with your life, something that will definitely turn it around a complete 180 degrees, trying to make it something you never dreamed possible, plans you had tend to change in ways you didn’t really expect them to.

A few months prior to me making this decision to see the world, I decided to return to school. I quickly decided to stick with math, which was my original major back when I started going to college in 2008. I chose it for the simple reason that that’s where the jobs are, and even if I can’t find a “real job,” at least I would be qualified to tutor, which will bring in some money. Also it’s something I’m good at, I don’t have to second guess whether it’s right for me or not. Nowadays, it feels like I’m only sticking with it because it’s a safety net of sorts. It’s kind of ironic that I’m holding on to the safety net so tightly even though my goal for the future is to step far out of my comfort zone, where there won’t be much of a safety net to cling onto.

Not that long after meeting with a counselor, I learned that the college I would be attending now offers a few different programs for photography, and I thought maybe I’d go for the Certificate of Achievement in Professional Photo along with the Math AS. A fair balance between something I’m going for simply because it has outlook and something I’m going for because I actually want it.

The more I think about it, the more I tend to reconsider everything. I mean, why am I still considering the math degree when it’s not really applicable with the direction my life will be heading after college? And it’s not even like math and photography compliment each other at all.

So, with all that in mind, I am actually considering backing out of the math degree completely, going for the AS in Professional Photo rather than the CA, and going for a couple certificates in Business that will compliment the Photo AS pretty well, I mean, chances are if I’m going to become a photographer on any professional level, chances are I’m gonna want to make a self-run business out of it one day.

Of course, this is just a current train of thought. I don’t know if I will actually back out of the math major, even if it does make sense. Although, knowing it will take less time to complete school if I go with the new plan and, therefore, less time before my first big adventure… it is very tempting.

I have one big goal for myself, when I hit the road. Well, actually I have a lot of goals… but one of the biggest is to make something for myself. Build my own career that I can do at any time, anywhere. Something that doesn’t have me nailed down to one place forever. Let’s be honest, with today’s economy and job market, building my own career would probably be easier than finding something better than what I currently have. Math just doesn’t fit with any of my on-the-go career goals.

When something isn’t working for you, sometimes you have to change it up, make something out of nothing, something that will work for you. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t… but if you never try, you will never know.

Traveling With Purpose

My relatively recent decision to take my life on the open road with long term travel all started with one thing. I have not told a lot of people this, only a handful of really close friends, but I have been thinking seriously about joining the Peace Corps at some point in the future. My plan was to use the Peace Corps as a way to escape home and a gateway to long term travel, but now I am thinking the reverse would be better.

While I was researching the Peace Corps, I also researched a bunch of other volunteer abroad organizations. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do, while traveling, is go to places and help people who are far less fortunate than me. Traveling with the purpose of helping people who are less fortunate would add a whole other layer to the whole experience. Not to mention, a lot of my top destinations in mind, for the more distant future, are developing countries, so why not go on some sort of mission to help?

So, here are my Top 9 Organizations I hope to sign up for, in the future. In no particular order.

  • GoEco – GoEco has locations within around 35 countries, and they have ten different categories for potential volunteers including wildlife, community aid, education, and medical… my top three programs of choice would be wildlife, conservation, and community aid.
  • IVCU – The International Volunteer HQ operates in about 30 different countries and has twelve different programs to choose from including arts & music, teaching, construction & renovation, elderly care, amongst others. My top programs of choice would include wildlife & animal care, childcare, and elderly care.
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions – CCS has five key objectives: 1. End poverty, 2. End hunger, 3. Ensure healthy lives, 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable education, and 5. Achieve gender equality. They have programs for orphan & childcare, education, healthcare, human rights, etc. The programs that interest me the most are human rights, women’s rights, and community development.
  • African Impact – AI operates in twelve countries within Africa. There are several impacts for potential volunteers to choose from within community and conservation, including building & development, medical & health, environmental, lion rehabilitation, and so much more… my top programs would be photography, lion rehabilitation, and child & orphan care.
  • UBelong – Their mission is to “bring people together across borders to share their humanity and take action for positive change.” They have programs in ten countries, ranging from arts and education to medical and health. My top choices for this organization would be community development, human rights and childcare.
  • Frontier – Frontier was established in 1989 as a nonprofit. It’s major focuses are within conservation and development and their mission is to conserve the world’s most endangered wildlife and threatened habitats. They operate in ten different countries to volunteer with children, wildlife conservation, environmental conservation, and many more. I am basically interested in everything this org has to offer… well, except for the medical fields, as I know I am nowhere near qualified for that.
  • A Broader View – A Nonprofit charity based in Pennsylvania, founded in 2007. It operates in 23 countries within 4 continents. It has 21 fields including orphanage work, day care, community development, teaching, medical, and much, much more. The fields I am most interested in include elderly care, community development, and orphanage/child care.
  • Rainbow VolunTours – This organization sends it’s volunteers to India to work on projects including orphan/childcare, woman’s rights, healthcare, education, and many more. My top three programs of choice though Rainbow VolunTours would be photography, orphan care, and community development.
  • Peace Corps – Often referred to the toughest job you will ever do, it is definitely far more involved than most of the other organizations on this list. It was created in 1961 by John F Kennedy. Through the years, it has adapted and responded to whatever the issues at the time were. There are over 60 countries where the PCVs serve for two years, plus training, working with communities in fields including education, health, youth in development, environment, community economic development, and agriculture. There is also the Peace Corps Response option which sends volunteers out for 3-12 month assignments, but those are just for RPCVs and professionals with 10+ years of experience. If I go into the PC, I would be most interested in youth in development.

Many of these organizations also offer Internships as well which are excellent opportunities to look into and the program lengths generally range from 1-2 weeks to 1-2 years.34

Money, Money, Money

I grew up primarily with my grandma. It was fun, because… come on, do I have to explain why? Grandmas are freakin awesome, and my grandma was even more freakin awesome than other grandmas because she was mine. But even the awesomest of people come with flaws. One of her flaws was that she just didn’t trust the world around her. She’d seen too much bad things in her life and watched the news way too much to believe there is good. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch the news, or maybe it’s simply because I don’t actively look for the bad in everything when there’s so much good. Either way, despite basically being raised by her, I grew up seeing the world in an opposite light.

 

Funnily, that’s not the only belief we came out on opposite ends of the spectrum with. I feel like a part of her had this belief that you had to have money to actually make it in the world. Obviously, you do… when you have a house, kids, family, you have all these piling bills that have to be paid unless you want a bad credit. But what if you don’t have a house or kids or a growing family of your own? Better yet, what if you don’t even really want any of these things and feel you’d be happier without the stress?

As much as my grandma loved me, I am not sure if she would be proud of me or if she’d be rolling around in that grave of hers now that I’ve discovered how cheap travel can really be, because once I have all the money saved up, and I’m on the road… I’m probably never gonna wanna come back home. Hell, home probably isn’t even gonna feel like home after being anywhere else for an extended period of time.

 

So, yeah… saving up for this trip of a lifetime is gonna be fun, especially knowing how bad with money I have been in the past. Not to mention I have a shitty job with mediocre pay, and I am a student. How exactly am I saving up to pay for this adventure? Well, I’ve recently learned how quickly money adds up when you’re not spending it. From my weekly paychecks, I generally take from 20-50% of the earnings out of checking and store it away in savings. If it’s a smaller paycheck, I put away more money. I don’t spend anything unless it’s on something I actually need.

Also, I am going to a community college, which means my tuition is gonna be a lot cheaper than if I were to be going to Uni. I am eligible for 5 years worth of student aid (I will probably be going for 3.5 years for two associates). Judging by the fact that I am eligible for about $2,865/semester and it only takes $552 to go full time (12 units), plus the cost of books and supplies, it really shouldn’t be that hard to put $1k away per semester and use the aid to my advantage. I feel there’s a certain irony about school funding these travels for the most part.

Obviously I will be adding any extra money to the travel funds as time passes, when I have the extra money to add.

 

I also recently obtained the Discover It Miles card, to collect Miles and pay for getting there and back via those points. Also, I get to build my already really good credit, which is a good bonus. The really nice thing about this rewards card is I earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar I spend, and while it does not have a traditional sign on bonus like many other options do, there is the doubling up bonus after the first year of collecting Miles. On your 1-year anniversary with the card, Discover automatically doubles all the points you’ve earned through spending throughout the year and there is no cap. And with the money I will be spending for school in the next year, I can definitely cash in on that. Also! No annual fees, which was a huge deciding factor for me when I chose to go with this card.

 

How much is it actually gonna cost to do this? Honestly, I don’t know, as I’ve yet to embark on this journey and I have never done anything like this before, not to mention I plan on vagabonding through Europe, and the basic cost of living differs from country to country… I am considering a vacation later this fall to Portland just to get a taste of what I will be experiencing using the same methods I intend to use to make travel cheap when I venture out into the world. (Also so I can get some experience on a plane, as I currently have none…) I made a budget for that trip, lasting a week, airfare included… and it came out to be $700. The airfare and the “Oh, shit I screwed up on budgeting this” fund take up most of the entire budget. Prior to getting advice on budget travel, I would have expected a trip like that to be $2,500, at least.

Plus, it really depends on where you go. If you offset as many costs as you can, by using services like Couchsurfing and buying food in markets rather than eating out every destination, simply living on the road like you would at home, it is entirely possible to do it with under $30/day. My personal goal before going off is $7,500…. I estimate, through research, that will get me backpacking through Europe for about 9 months. Give or take.

I do feel like making this decision was a really good one for me. Before, I didn’t really have a sense of priority, and because of that, I really didn’t know how to save my money. Now that I have actual goals, all of which are reachable, actually having a budget and saving up actually comes naturally to me.

With all my research and talking with people who do the same thing I want to do, I really am learning that it’s a complete myth that you need to have a lot of money to see the world, and I can’t wait to actually put all this research to use and actually get out into the world and experience what it’s like living as a Nomad.

The Start Of Something Big

Hello and welcome to my travel blog. I was initially wanting to wait until I actually started traveling to start blogging about traveling, and since I am a student and working to save up for world travel, it’s safe to say it’s gonna be a while before I really start… but then I got to thinking, while it is a few years off, I am doing so much now that will eventually lead up to the actual travel much later on. This process of saving up and changing spending habits and planning is a very important process and I feel it should be documented, so I figured I would start the blog sooner rather than later, starting from the very beginning of my journey.

26I am just a girl. One girl, one big dream to see the world, or as much of it as I possibly can. I have the same dream millions share, but so few actually experience.

I don’t want to be tied down to one place, living my entire life in one state or even one country. I want to experience other places, other cultures. The thought of not experiencing these things before it’s too late is one of my biggest fears.

Some people think I’m crazy and that this is dangerous. Okay, maybe it’s a little dangerous… but do I really have a bigger chance at getting killed or whatever while walking down the street just because I’m in a place that isn’t home, that I’m unfamiliar with? Are there really more bad people outside the little bubble that is my hometown/state? It makes zero sense to me that people warn me of the dangers when I am thoroughly researching everywhere I intend to go and will be taking a lot of safety cautions to make sure I won’t be more susceptible to danger than I would be here at home.

Some might think it’s a selfish desire to indulge myself in, just because I do have family here. But honestly, none of them are my dependents, none of them are my responsibility, I am not going to stop living my life the way I want it to be unless it’s for my own children, and since I don’t even plan on having kids… that isn’t a problem I have. Thanks to my lesbianism, I don’t even have to worry about it even happening by accident.

Additionally, apart from just generally finding myself and figuring out who I want to be, I want this journey to be about 25making something for myself, something I can never have by living a static life. I have always wanted to be a writer, this will probably be just what I need to actually write something that I can actually sell. I’ve also always wanted to be a photographer, it’s one of the things I’m going to school for! This might open up some doors for me to become a travel photographer. Let’s be real, that would be the ultimate profession, something I can do from literally anywhere at any time, completely escaping the nine to five life most people are stuck with.

So yeah… that is me, and this is my journey.