“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye This is my sixth life. Or is it seventh? When we move to a new city, especially if it’s abroad, it often feels like we started […]
Travel & Adventure
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt A couple of years ago, I was at a cross roads in my life. I was ready for a change, but I didn’t know what it was that
I have never been one of these gung-ho change your life kind of people until, that was, I chucked in my job, gave away my car and moved to the other side of the world with my wife
I used to play it safe. I spent years upon years living in a city I didn’t like, working in a job I loathed, and dating men who didn’t know how to love.
Essentially, I was flatlining.
Yet I stayed there – in that city, in that job, and in that relationship – because it was comfortable; it was safe.
I’ve spent the last year and a bit wandering around the globe and exploring this wondrous thing called life. Through 26 flights, I’ve managed to circle the globe twice, and touch 5 of the 7 continents.
The journey led me to scuba diving for a month straight with whale sharks on an island in Thailand, to hitchhiking may way through an African country, to being paid to make sand castles on the beautiful Australian beaches, and almost having a foot amputated in Asia. It’s been an incredible experience. I’ve learned about the world and myself more than any book, teacher or person could tell me.
“I would love to do what you’re doing!” “I so wish I could figure out a way to quit my job and travel like you.” “You’re living the life of my dreams!”
I used to get messages like those on a regular basis. Nearly every day I got an email from yet another person who looked at our life as though it was the ultimate – the pinnacle of aspirations. And it WAS a good life! Together with my husband and children, I was riding my bicycle from Alaska to Argentina. All told, we pedaled 17,285 miles through fifteen countries. Our journey took nearly three years.
When it comes to change, people are more apt to do it for others than for themselves. It was no different for me when I morphed myself to be the “right” kind of friend, the “cool” girlfriend, or the “most dependable” employee. In each of those instances other people really liked me, but I didn’t like me very much.
A friend’s snarky attitude made me less happy to be her confidant, even though I forced myself to patiently listen to her rants. I realized too late that the “cool” girlfriend meant the one who never disagreed with her boyfriend or made requests of her own. And the companies that adored my dependability easily forgot those countless overtime hours when it came time to promote or give raises.
I’ve always been passionate about traveling, even as a young boy growing up England I was fascinated during our annual summer holidays to countries such as Spain, France and Italy. I am a firm believer that experiencing different cultures, languages and ways of living is something which is extremely special and helps you grow in so many ways as a human being.
In my adult life I have been very fortunate to have traveled and worked extensively in various parts of the world. My passion for travel and working abroad has taken me to numerous different countries in every corner of the world.
Five years ago, I took one of the boldest actions of my life. I traveled halfway across the world to Ubud, Indonesia alone. In June 2008, I was 27 years old and had never left United States soil despite a constant longing to. A combination of fear and comfort held me hostage in familiarity—until, however, I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling novel, Eat. Pray. Love. It chronicled the author’s adventures through Italy, India and Indonesia as she sought to “find herself” after a divorce.
The book’s vivid descriptions of Indonesia’s rich culture and lush countryside converged with my imagination of ornate wood-carvings, colorful temples and sprawling rice paddies. It was this convergence that left no question about where my first trip abroad would be to once I mustered up enough courage to go. And whenever I decided to go, I wanted go alone—just like Elizabeth Gilbert.
My life has been a series of events of beginnings and endings. It’s funny that whenever I experienced a major life change, it coincided with a physical move. I didn’t mean it to happen that way, it just did. So here’s my story.
I sat in my bedroom crying my eyes out on the phone. My dear friend finally told me, “Sarah, I think you are suffering from a broken heart.” I was in a serious relationship with someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. All of a sudden, this person told me they needed a break. I guess I should have known. I would constantly try to show affection and tell him I loved him, but he would pull away. I’d be upset over a family problem and there was no attempt to comfort me.