I hadn’t ever thought about when my wanderlust began until now. As I sit here trying to decide what my first post should be about, I figure there’s no better way to kick off my travel blogging journey than with the story of how my nomadic lifestyle came to be.
I always considered myself a drifter in grade school. I craved change, so I never clung to any clique, and was friendly with everyone. But the actual urge to see and do more with my life didn’t hit me until I was 16. I think it had something to do with my stepping into the world of skateboarding and snowboarding. As a child and young teenager, naturally, all the adults in my life were always telling me what to do. I played a sport every season of the academic year, and basketball was my life because that’s how I was told I would be able to go to college. It wasn’t until I randomly decided to buy myself a skateboard near the end of my junior year, that I began to come into this newfound sense of liberation and independence.
The friends I made in this new world were all free-spirits, artists, rebels and adventurers. I quickly found myself melded into a family of like-minded peers that I never knew existed. Then there was Geoff; the introverted, skateboarding, hippie boy who became my high school sweetheart and taught me everything I know about board sports and free thinking. He took me hiking all over our home state, introduced me to film making, and showed me that life should always be an adventure.
From there, my desire for freedom took off! I decided my dream was to become the first professional female skateboarder and/or snowboarder of color and study film on the west coast. I was honored with a very generous, private basketball scholarship (for which I am eternally grateful to the Ritter family) and blessed with the freedom to choose any four-year college to attend. I decided to only apply to schools in California, despite everyones advice to have a “fall back plan” with a school close to home in Connecticut. I was on a mission to get as far away from familiarity as possible and surround myself with people and a lifestlye that vibed with the young woman I was growing into.
And so it came to be. My mom flew me out to California State University in Northridge, got me settled, and a week later we parted ways with tears flowing. I was on my own standing in front of dorm room 104 as a wave of fear, uncertainy and excitement washed over me; the bite of the travel bug. I was all alone on the complete opposite side of the country and my big adventure had officially begun!
The new scenery, new friends and overall sense of total freedom made my freshman year of college an unforgettable travel experience. It wasn’t a weeklong vacation to Florida or a cruise with my family; this was a long-term chance for me to learn about adaptation and truly immerse myself into a whole new culture.
The flame was ignited from then on out, and I went on to blindly transfer to a college in Colorado the following year. A school with about six thousand students nestled in a small city in the desert that I had never heard of. I spent the winters shredding the biggest and most beautiful mountains I had ever laid eyes on. I also fell in love with country western/cowboy culture, something that had been totally foreign to me having grown up in Fairfield County, Connecticut where you could count on every teenager in the early 2000’s to say “I listen to every style of music, except country!”
It was in Colorado that I befriended the most interesting people: extreme outdoor enthusiansts, budding transgenders, military brats, hoodrats, rednecks, Africans, Hawaiians, lesbians, (I actually ended up dating a Hawaiian lesbian for almost 2 years…go figure) and I adored them all! Having been a drifter in high school, I loved the extreme diversity. It was exciting to observe how everyone around me was coming into their skin and finding their way in the world. It only fed my desire to learn more about people from all over the planet.
It took me five and a half years to graduate college because I wanted to befriend everyone, try every major that interested me and take fun classes like hiking and snowboarding that only offered one credit. I was focused on enjoying college in a different state and gaining real life experiences. Although, I always took care of business in the classroom when I needed to and carried out a 3.2 GPA, just not at the expense of my own happiness. There are those that spend the majority of their college years stressed out because they pack their schedule with lots of classes for the sake of graduating “on time” with a 4.0 GPA.
I hold so much respect for those types of people, but I am not one of them. I need the freedom to learn by being out in the world and talking to people and having them share their knowledge with me on a deeper, personal level.
Having taken this uncommon route on my quest for knowledge, I found myself doing things I never imagined I would. I’ve shot guns, tasted red meats (born and raised vegetarian), fallen in love with women and backpacked through foreign countries. I gave up my teenage dream of being a pro skater and Hollywood film editor, along with the idea that I’d be married with kids by 26. I graduated college with a bachelors degree in mass communication, yet I work as a nanny on and off so I can travel the world for fun. I’ve truly learned that you make plans and then life happens. Once I let the travel bug bite me, I took the entire world in to my heart and soul. Now, I am on a mission to continue breaking out of the chains they call “The American Dream”, and inspire others to do the same if they so desire. We are all free to live out our own versions of the American Dream and this is mine; a nomadic lifestyle with no social security or 10 year plan, and I am in love with it. I want to do everything, see everything and meet every person that I can in this world, and I can’t wait to share this wild ride with all of you!