Two and a half year later reunion.

It’s 9:00, and the reality of forgetting headphones for my 9:25 train hits me. So my daring self decides to run to Marshalls quick, because 25 minutes is plenty of time right? I scooped up the headphones, but wasn’t so lucky with a parking spot. I have 6 minutes to spare, no parking spot, and a highway to cross to get to the train station. I can’t help but think, if this was someone who doesn’t realize everything is going to be okay, what kind of panic would this set for them? Would it be enough to make a person not want to take a train again?  I mean 6 minutes to spare isn’t the best life to live, but I made the train and ventured up to New York.  Please don’t let panic take control of your life. It makes no situation flow effortlessly.  I panicked when I missed my flight in Thailand, and cried and got mad at myself, for what? To make myself feel worse? Mistakes happen, life happens, sometimes you make careless mistakes. Be gentle with yourself and realize everything WILL BE OKAY and you’ll never be a perfect mistake free human. 

Okay, that’s the lesson of the day! Let’s get to the fun stuff.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain

I get asked often, how does a girl from a little town in Pennsylvania end up traveling through Thailand alone? Where did the courage and knowledge come from?

So here I am, to answer that! 

I’ll start by thanking my grandparents heavily for this one. img_95851Since I was a little girl, my grandparents were religious about taking me on trips with them. As I’ve stated in previous entries, I wasn’t raised in the most stable household, so my grandparents did such a wonderful job of keeping my childhood balanced by showing me the world. Thank you forever for that. For causing the restless travel bug to hit me every year or so.

The biggest help for being able to do such amazing traveling has been living in Ocean City for seasonal work. The money you can make in those 4 months is absolutely mind blowing and unbelievable, as well as life changing. If you don’t have heavy commitments in your life right now, I highly recommend  checking out a summer there, I promise your bank account and the experiences that come from that will cause anything but unhappiness. If you want any help or recommendations with that, please reach out to me. I’ve done it for ten years, so I’m sure I’ll have a tip or two for you!

Let’s rewind two years ago. I was working in Ocean City, over college, with a full bank account and desire to do something to awaken my thoughts and soul. img_95741A girl that I worked with from England recommended an organization named Contiki to me. I began researching and was sold. I just had to decide which group I wanted to do.

Let me explain Contiki to you real quick, because it’s not talked about here in the States often, which is such a shame!

Contiki is an organization for 18-30 year olds. It plans out detailed trips all over the world. Everywhere from 3 days to 50+ days. From camping, to sailing, to budget hotels. It plans
your meals, your sleep arrangements, your museum/excursion visits, and your transportation. It is actual heaven. I finally settled on 26 days through Europe, with 42 other people. We hit 8? countries, all down the western half, through Italy, up the eastern half. I saw the most stunning cities, with the most admirable people.

IMG_9586.JPGContiki Website <~~~ Check it out!!!

I spent 26 days with complete strangers, from the early hungover mornings to the late nights, every day. We shared the most intimate and vulnerable feelings together. We fell in love, we cried, we laughed, we shared deep personal stories, we danced and we drank. I left after those 26 days with a true family scattered all over the world. People that if I ever needed something while in their country, would be there for me in a heartbeat. People that reach out to each other when there are: engagements, weddings, graduations, job promotions, deaths, etc. Truly the most beautiful and supportive group of people who started as strangers; who are now my lifetime companions.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.: -Tim Cahill

Remember my train story I started with? That wasn’t told for nothing, I promise! I took the train to New York last week to meet two of those beautiful humans in the States. Matt and Kellie got engaged right before our Contiki began, and IMG_9512.JPGsince have been married and have carried out their beautiful life they share together. When they told me they were heading to the States from Australia, I knew there was no way I wasn’t seeing them. I shared 36 hours of absolute wildness with them. How is it that two people I spent only 26 days with, and haven’t seen in two and half years feel closer and more dear to me than people I’ve known for most of my life? Witnessing the love and respect they still share for each other, was such an privilege to see.

Thank you both for letting me be apart of your trip to the States. Thank you for letting me have so much fun with you and your friends, and thank you for being beautiful role models in what true img_95091love should be life. I love you both endlessly.

I love the support and friendship I have with my Contiki family more than anything, and am so incredibly fortunate life brought us all together. I encourage each and everyone of you to take a life changing trip before you settle down, with a career with a family with your life expectations. Have those memories to hang on to when life becomes heavyI am still paying off that trip, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is short, the memories are what matter, not money. I promise you. If it had not been for this trip, embarking on it alone and instantly feeling at home with strangers, I would never have had the confident and comfort of continuing on my travels alone. Thank you all for helping to create that feeling of comfort inside of me. 

“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindnessimg_95841
of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.” ― American writer Paul Theroux

From this Contiki trip, a new chapter of my life is unfolding, I can’t say much more than that yet, but keep your ears and eyes peeled for these next steps. Which would not be happening had it not been for meeting these people beautiful. In this case, you Jordan! Thanks for the inspiration to continue leaping.

“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown, eat interesting food, dig some interesting people, have an adventure, be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about, I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking twelve miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people — Americans and Europeans — come back and go, “Ohhhh.” And the lightbulb goes on.”- Henry Rollins

img_95791

 

Forever and always, xo.

 

 

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