Confessions of a Chronic Traveler

This is an honest glimpse into my most intimate thoughts and feelings:

Beautiful photos capture only a fraction of the profound experiences I’ve had during my time spent far from home. In an attempt to scratch the surface, I’ll admit that sometimes traveling gives me anxiety. I get scared being alone and I want to cry for no tangible reason. I want to go home and hide under the covers in my own bed. I miss having a boyfriend, even if it’s just a false sense of security. I miss going on dates to my favorite restaurants. I’ve begun to crave affection in ways that have made me realize how essential it is to living a happy life. I miss my dog. I’m afraid my family is growing old and I’m missing that. I feel like my friends will soon forget who I am. I don’t remember birthdays, I miss parties and concerts, I’m the worst at returning texts. I’m always gone and when I’m around, you might not even notice I’m there. For all these reasons and more, I’m so grateful for all the people that fall into my life and decide to stick around. As life changes so do our connections and I know how easy it is to abandon friendships as a causalty to life. Despite my best efforts to float away, some people remain a constant. Their presence in my life means more to me than they will ever understand.

Fear can be overwhelming and paralyzing at times. To be as cliche as possible: just breathe and don’t cry; if you have to – make it brief. Be brave. The most rewarding moments in life require courage. There’s so much beauty in this world if we let ourselves see it. Life is a montage of fleeting moments; don’t waste it on things that aren’t important to you. Tell yourself there is nothing to be afraid of because what is meant to be, will be. If it’s your time to go then be grateful you get to experience new places, people and emotions before you cross your finish line. Love harder, be present and pursue your dreams relentlessly. They will only come true when you learn to value them more than your comfort zone.

When you travel and create content on your own, there’s no one to blame and no one to motivate you. It’s just me and the camera and my backpack which has no room for excuses. That itself is enough to scare most people off but holding all of that before me, I strap on the big girl boots and get on the plane.

“What if everything goes wrong and you don’t know what to do?!”

Do it anyway.

“But what if you fail?”

An arrow never shot never flies. Do it anyway.

I can overthink every detail until I start to drown inside my mind or I can let go of the anchor and start to swim. Its only natural to be scared. Do it scared. The moment we do, we discover how many monsters were shadows and we find out chasing dreams and tackling fears are much more manageable tasks.

When you see people traveling and it looks like a perfect experience, remember that perfection is an optical illusion. Travel isn’t meant to be comfortable, the destination is the reward but the journey is what makes you a better, stronger person. There is so much more to the story than what you see on the surface.

Personally, I’ve noticed after the first month travel high wears off there’s a solid week or two where I begin to drag my feet. My brain’s ability to process information and accomplish complicated tasks slows to a crawl. I become so tired of being tired. Even on the days that I get to sleep past sunrise I wake up exhausted. I’m still looking for a cure, espresso isn’t cutting it anymore.

Pro tip: Don’t take the healthy days for granted, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

I’ve gotten used to being the only person in a crowd that looks like me. I’m also getting used to the way people uncomfortably stare for extended periods of time because of this. Sometimes I wonder if I got hurt how long would it take to reach a hospital. Usually if I’m asking myself this, the answer is too long to make a difference. I cringe to think back on all the public bathrooms I’ve had no choice but to enter with a held breath and watering eyes. I don’t think the distinct feeling of vulnerability during turbulence ever really goes away.

Sometimes I imagine returning home to my domestic reality after these long absences. I can almost feel my fingers running over my vinyl collection and flipping through the pages of my old books. The soft (bedbug free) sheets on my bed, the way the light filters in through my skylight in the morning. Dust coats every inch of my belongings. Its weird coming back to the place I’ve called home for my whole life but haven’t physically spent time at recently. Home is so much more than a physical place but my god, the conveniences… My shower. My car. My reliable internet connection. One of the things I’ve truly become grateful for is my closet full of clothes. At least choosing an outfit in the morning here isn’t a hard decision, it’s just the cleanest variation of the same 3 outfits I’ve been wearing for two months straight. Same nasty hiking boots I wear everyday. You never realize how incredibly convenient having a refrigerator is until you haven’t had access to one in a long time. I literally crave going to the grocery store, planning my meals for the week and being able to store fresh food in a clean place. It’s the simple things that I miss the most.

I think about how comfortable I could be right now instead of being crammed on a sweaty bus for hours down a dirt road with 10 people that don’t speak a word of English. I constantly question myself, my intentions, my choices. What have I done? I just spent every dollar I’ve ever made chasing a dream that terrifies me. I could have lived an easy, carefree life in California for an entire year with the money I spent on this trip. I literally have no idea what is going to happen next. This is where faith steps in; faith in the path that hasn’t presented itself yet. However, faith will only carry me so far. Nothing and no one but hard work and myself will take me to where I want to go. I am scared for the hardships that lay ahead and I’m already grateful for the lessons they will teach me.

In these moments of doubt and uncertainty, I remind myself where I came from, why I am here and where I am going. Every morning I wake up and set the intention. I repeat my affirmations:

I can accomplish anything I set my mind to

I’m playing my part in the global scheme

Do what I love & money will follow

I will not waste this privilege

Express gratitude daily

Manifest relentlessly

My work has value

Radiate positivity

I am supported

Let go of fear

I am worthy

Be present

Persist

Enjoy