2017: Travel Plans and Ambitions

The general theme of 2016 for most seemed to be “the worst year ever.” I had my fair share of bad days and challenging circumstances, but there were also a lot of amazing things that happened.

I started the year unemployed, and ended it with immense personal growth. I expanded my comfort zone by leaps and bounds, started my own business, launched this blog, and built a budding career as a freelance travel writer and photographer. I spent an amazing week with John in Belize, went on a handful of fun day trips with my mom, traveled solo to Miami, and discovered new corners of Florida. I witnessed two of my best friends get engaged on Anna Maria Island, ate a LOT of delicious food, spent more time with family and friends, and grew tremendously in my personal and professional life.

While it’s been enlightening reflecting on 2016, I’m ready to look ahead to what’s in store for the new year. This time of year always has me feeling extra inspired and ambitious, and while so much is unknown I’m excited for the journey ahead. Especially the parts of that journey that include travel. Continue reading “2017: Travel Plans and Ambitions”

Musings of a First Time Solo Traveler

I recently traveled to Miami, by myself, and on assignment for a piece about seeing the Magic City local style. I then proceeded to get lost inside multiple parking garages, spilled curry sauce all over myself in a nice restaurant, and came to terms with the fact I am a grown woman who considers herself a foodie yet doesn’t know how to properly hold and use chopsticks.

As someone who has long been fascinated by female solo travel, I was disappointed it wasn’t coming naturally to me. I called my sister more than once exclaiming that I was an epic failure at solo travel, but regardless of my mishaps I did emerge from the experience with a greater appreciation of travel, and of myself.

Read on for my mishaps and lessons learned along the way. Continue reading “Musings of a First Time Solo Traveler”

Show Up and Do It

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Just yesterday, I finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a book that came into my life at the exact right moment, a book about transformation during a period of change in my own life.

The book is all about a journey (life and following your dreams) serving as an important reminder that we are always traveling. It may not be towards the place we hoped or expected, but we’re traveling nonetheless.

More importantly, this book speaks to the truth that without action, we often can’t progress towards the very things we want so badly to achieve in our lives, relationships, careers, travels, personal development, and our futures. What good is all the research, planning, living inside of your head making yourself crazy (speaking from experience here) if you can’t show up and do it? “It” being your talent, dream, vision, purpose.

In reflecting on this, I’m instantly taken back to Belize:

It’s a few hours into my first caving experience and I’ve almost reached the main attraction of the ATM Cave Tour. I’ve spent the past few hours swimming, climbing, and scrambling over rocks and boulders to get here. But before me stands a ladder, propped up against the cave wall, illuminated by the glow of my headlamp. I’ve never liked ladders. I watch as, one by one, members of my group ascend the ladder and disappear into the cavern above.

“Next!”

My turn.

Going up isn’t nearly as terrible as anticipated. The adrenaline dissipates, making way for amazement to take over as I view ancient Mayan pottery, crystallized skulls, and a fully intact human skeleton from Mayan times known as “The Crystal Maiden” – the main attraction of the tour.

The ladder is completely forgotten until the moment I realize I have to go back down. (Cue anxiety.)

After expressing my concern with Ben, our guide, he decides to make me go down first. Great. He demonstrates where to place my feet and hands to ensure a safe descent. The first step is the hardest, but eventually I start descending. Knees weak, legs turned to human Jell-O, I’m afraid I’ll just fall the rest of the way down. But I make it.

At the time, I laughed it off and made fun of myself, but long after I saw the situation in a new light. It was one of those rare moments in which I allowed myself to become completely vulnerable and afraid. It was 30 seconds of pure fear and uncertainty, but I made it down and so did everyone else. Full disclosure: the Snickers bar awaiting me at the bottom may have had something to do with this…

When I’m traveling, I have a tendency to just go for it. I face my fears, participate in activities I might normally say no to, and often act more fearlessly than when at home. I show up, and I do it. And I always leave less afraid, renewed self-confidence in tow.

In short, I’ve shown up and done it in regards to so many things in my life and travels. Why not treat my ambitions and dreams with the same fervor and respect?

Here’s to embracing the uncertainty, getting to know your fears, and showing up to take action towards what your heart is begging you to do.