Ten years ago, I was a stressed case manager, overwhelmed with foster care paperwork. I needed a way to wind down and rest but being at home wasn’t getting it. That’s when I decided to travel. Somehow traveling was a way for me to “reset.” It gave me the boost I needed to better serve my foster families and kiddos. Travel became my new hobby, and in many ways, it saved me when I felt stuck.
I will never forget the first time I planned a vacation. It was with my closest friend, Deje, and we went to Cancun, Mexico. We had a travel agent, used a payment plan, and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. We had “big girl jobs”, too, and were so excited to go on vacation. That was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on! I’m not sure if it was the day we spent on a sailboat, or riding ATVS, or snorkeling in the ocean, or the jet ski I drove and almost tipped over… Whatever it was, in those moments I felt like I was living on my own terms. I felt free.
That level of freedom gave me a desire to travel and go on new adventures.
I’ve spent the past 10 years learning how to travel for cheap, make the most of a short trip, and embrace the adventure. I’ve gone on weekend trips to Amsterdam, London, Panama, Portland, and more. I picked the places I wanted to see and experience most, and then I focused on visiting those sites. I’ve learned that I don’t need a long vacation to experience beauty.
Even though I’m not a case manager anymore, once in a while l still make plans to get away and reset on a short trip. People ask me why I like to travel so much. I usually say that experiences are the best gift, but I honestly think it’s what I learn when I travel and how I grow as a person that I love the most. With each place I travel to, I make space for reflection, and I come away from every trip with a new perspective on my life.
Traveling taught me how to love my own company, take risks, and try new things. I learned that I could hear myself think when I traveled alone. I love this quote by Shauna Niequist that pretty much sums it up: “When you’re traveling with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there’s no other way to preserve it.” I learned I shouldn’t fear traveling solo because I can peacefully explore new places even if I’m alone.
If you find yourself afraid of leaving the country, try domestic trips first—especially if you are traveling solo—then branch out. There are also lots of travel groups you can join where the trips are curated for you. You don’t have to let fear of the unknown keep you from trying something new. And you don’t have to go out of the country for a reset. There is beauty all around us. You can stay in the U.S. and go to a place you’ve never been to before. I bet there is some amazing place in your city or state that you’ve yet to explore.
The goal is for you to find your own way of feeling free, embracing new things, and resting. So, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and commit to making space for you—space where you can come alive.
Sis, where are you going this summer? How will you explore new places and parts of yourself?Leave a Comment