Travel to fill your tanks. If we're not seeing new life, we repeat ourselves. It is not a luxury - it is a necessity
- Genevieve Gorder via In the Company of Women
It's been a little over a week since I returned from Haiti and as I scroll through hundreds of pictures and review the notes and journal entries I wrote during the trip (so many posts coming your way), I wanted to share how I got to Haiti in the first place. Not how I literally got there (holy moly was that stressful AF - more about that later this week) but how my decision to quit my job 2.5 years ago landed me in Haiti 2 weeks ago. And how seeing the world has become one of my biggest priorities in life for self growth, inspiration, and perspective.
About 2.5 years ago I left my fulltime job (read more about that here) to live that freelance life with the goal of being able to work anywhere there was internet. ie: I wanted to travel more. I've been very fortunate to travel a bunch in my 30+ years on this planet but most getaways have been planned family vacays or one-off weekends away with friends... nothing insanely adventurous or spontaneous but all incredible experiences that I feel fortunate enough to say I did. The first year of freelance life I traveled like CRAZY; there was a period of 3 months where I wasn't home for a single weekend. It was all domestic travel, a trip here and there just because I could. This wasn't really satisfying my travel craving and needless to say after 5 trips to SF no one's gaining any more perspective they didn't already get from trips 1 and 2.
Things all changed last summer when one of my bffs told me he was planning a Croatia trip with another friend of mine. My response "Can I come?" I know, kind of rude but we're super close so it wasn't weird. They had already bought their flights and hotels and the trip was less than 1.5 months away. He said "of course!" and I could tell he didn't think I was going to do it. That Friday I had booked my flight and added a few days on each side to travel in Italy by myself. Mind you, I had never traveled internationally alone before but it just seemed like something I should do.
In writing this I realized I never did a Croatia Travel Diary or a post on traveling alone, so I'll definitely get that in the queue.
So many things about that trip impacted me, most importantly the days I spent traveling by myself. Successfully exploring new cities in another country gave me confidence in ways I never knew existed. Just eating meals alone and barely being able to communicate with the waiter gave me perspective and compassion for those with limited communication abilities and ESL people living in America. Traveling by myself helped me hone in on what it is I actually like to do on my vacations vs. having someone's preferences or agenda to think about - it was incredibly freeing. Not to mention just being alone in a foreign country gives you a lot of time to think and be with your thoughts!
Add Croatia to the mix and, I mean, it was literally one of the best trips ever. Going to a new country for the first time is always a powerful experience; so much unknown and intrigue. Croatia is STUNNING and it really opened my eyes to the fact that there are endless beautiful places in this world that I want to experience IRL! I came back from the trip so revitalized and thirsty for travel and I remember saying to Andy "next summer I want to go to Europe for a month!" On July 21st I leave for Europe for a month... I know, so freaking excited. I digress...
In making that spontaneous decision to go to Croatia and stepping outside my comfort zone to travel alone, I legit changed the trajectory of my life. When I returned from that trip it was so hard to put my feelings into words until I read this quote in one of my favorite books: Travel to fill your tanks. If we're not seeing new life, we repeat ourselves. It is not a luxury - it is a necessity. - Genevieve Gorder via In the Company of Women. That is it, right there. Priorities have changed from wanting the new "it" bag to saving to travel to new destinations... experiences over things... an attempt to fulfill a seemingly insatiable wanderlust.
Fast forward to March of this year when Taye and I were invited to Playa Del Carmen to checkout a new hotel. She suggested we extend the trip to Tulum and I didn't even think twice before saying yes. I loved it so much I'm taking Andy for his 31st birthday!
... then Haiti happened. My good friend Valorie's bf runs KIN Travel and about a month before the trip they casually mentioned to me that there was still room on their Haiti trip in case I knew of anyone. Knew of anyone? Umm.. me! I booked my flights that night knowly VERY little what I was getting myself into. And holy sh*t it was a trip of a lifetime. Cannot wait to share the deets in the coming week.
Much like the "SAY YES" Challenge (saying yes to any opportunity that comes your way), I now say yes and JUST GO! Every travel opportunity is shaping my life, probably in ways I don't even realize yet. Obviously I'm a big proponent of travel so if you ever need anyone to give you a little push. you know who to turn to. How's your travel bug now? 😉
photos: Valorie Darling