2020: The Year of the Dormant Traveler

It’s hard to believe that this is the very first time I’m writing about the pandemic. Many times over the past year I’ve thought: Shouldn’t I be journaling about this? If for nothing else, for my future kiddos to read? For history’s sake? But I never did. Not once. I suppose I found it all too depressing and wanted to talk / write about literally anything else. BUT as I’ve just started this travel blog (#600,790,389) – brilliantly enough as someone whose travel plans are currently on hold ✋ (cue “Irnoic” by Alanis ♬ > “it’s like a travelerrr in isooolashe…”) – I thought I should probably start by addressing the ol’ elephant in the room:

1. How are you doing? U hanging in there? 💜

2. If you are an essential worker, I have soOoOo much respect, gratitude & admiration for you, brother/sister/friend! Thank you. 🙏 

Welp. Without diving too much into the pandemic and how it has been frustrating for me personally, which no one wants to hear I’m sure (as I know it has been uber challenging for us all & many have been dealing with far worse, God bless them)… all I’ll say is: oh em gee, THE RESTLESSNESS! 😩

I’m sure many of you free birds out there can relate to the utterly deflating feeling of not having been able to make travel plans this past year, or maybe even for the foreseeable future. *Sigh* Between 2006 & 2020, I was pretty much constantly bouncing around. ✈️ My dear sweet husband & I have been together for 9 years and still don’t have a home-home or even a single piece of furniture. (I know right? We crazy nomads have been lucky enough to rent adorably furnished rentals from the UK to NYC to Los Angeles to New Orleans and currently rural Vermont.)

But it’s not that it’s just a bummer not to be able to travel. It’s weird. It’s like a part of what I associated my identity with just abruptly peaced out. ✌️ How can I explain it… maybe an animal metaphor? A dormant traveler is like a caffeinated cheetah on a slow-moving treadmill. The roadrunner on a leash. These legs want to GO! 🏃🏼‍♀️

Anywho, like I’m sure all of you, the crazy bananas 🍌 year that was 2020 gave me ample time to reflect on my life and what is most important to me (besides my sweet family, friends & health, of course). The other night when pondering my existence and what gives me life, I scribbled in the margins of a self-help book by Rachel Hollis: “I am happiest when I am traveling.” 🌎 Why is that? Is it solely because I love experiencing new cultures and having wild adventures abroad – which I do, of course! – or is there something more to my random yearning to jump on an airplane for Namibia? 🇳🇦 🦓

…I think perhaps intertwined with the natural explorer in me is the feeling that traveling offers a deeper sense of purpose & identity. 💖

I’ve found that I have become increasingly private in my life – helloOo first blog / 2nd post! – and haven’t had social media for many years, so the desire (to go to dreamy Bora Bora 🌴🌺 for instance, ammirite) clearly isn’t driven by chasing swoon-worthy photo ops for Instagram… so what then?

It’s like… this twirly swirly ball of fire in my chest. 🔥

It’s more than a fleeting desire; it’s in my fabric. I simply feel most connected to Spirit & Self when I am traveling 🧘 and is most certainly something I have associated with my identity, i.e. “I am an traveler.” Do I also have to choose a cookie-cutter path? Like no one would ask Dora or Moana what they want to be when they grow up. That’s not to say they don’t also love teaching or molecular biology or making gimp bracelets with a blazing passion… but they are EXPLORERS first. ⛵ (Imagine these ladies in quarantine.)

To keep it 💯… back in the real world, I often feel like I’m never doing enough meaningful work and – though I recognize how unbelievably fortunate and privileged I am that these are my “issues” – as a creative 🎨 🎹 it can be mentally distressing. Where I once upon a time thought endless movie-marathons in bed would be heaven, I am now writing daily creative to-do lists (which are often less from a motivated “let’s do this” place and more from a state of low key panic with dozens of tiny people chaotically running around in my brain throwing papers) and thinking ain’t nobody got time for Netflix when I have to make meaning mmmkay. I have to write a song and learn this new instrument and this new language and make things to sell on Etsy (Whimsicandle, BTW!) and save the wetlands of coastal Louisiana single-handedly and do yoga, run, meditate… and yet I don’t ever seem to get far enough with any of these goals to the point where I feel I can confidently identify myself as an artist or musician or writer, etc.

The beauty of traveling, though, is that removes all the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves (ahhh…) and suddenly you are just free and alive and present; seeing and feeling and tasting and experiencing things you never had before. It allows you to just be. 😌 Fully in the moment. Without all the noise. Time is precious and where I constantly question what is the best use of my time, traveling just lovingly clears that table because I know that it is always time well-spent. In my experience, it is one of the Great Teachers and has given me some of the richest experiences of my life.

And so, without further adieu… in lieu of the opportunity to create a current travel blog – as in: until I am able to travel again! – I have decided to begin anyway by sharing / reliving past adventures abroad! Maybe I’ll start with the story of meeting my charming British hubby on an olive plantation in Greece. Opa! 🇬🇷 💘

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Me: “Travel” 😊

Be well, my free bird friends 💖

P.S. I get that traveling abroad and having wild adventures in gorgeous foreign lands is something most of us dream of, and I know there are so many things that make this challenging i.e. work conflicts and/or the financial means to live out this dream. I really do. In order to solo backpack through Greece, Italy and Prague, I ate canned soup for dinner pretty much every night for months 🥫 to save my pennies (not an easy thing to do living in NYC); I saw Australia, the Bahamas and much of Europe as an Au Pair (amazing but also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done); I used the little I had saved as an Au Pair to go to Thailand 🏝️ and pay for an ESL course there; I saw Iceland ❄️ because I was once denied entry to see my then-fiance in London 🇬🇧 (because I’d only booked a one-way ticket, which apparently looked like I was secretly plotting to just stay forever) and was flown home via a day-layover there; I saw tiny yawning baby sloths in Costa Rica 🦥 thanks to a work trip perk compliments of my now-husband’s former travel co. All this to say, most of the adventures I’ve had abroad were either because of saving $ bit by bit (canned soup my friends) and/or getting lucky… but never because I’ve been one of those financially comfortable peeps who just go gallivanting abroad whenever / wherever. Eating ALL the pizza in Italy. 🍕 I’m not jealous, you’re jealous.

P.P.S. However! I’m thrilled to say I now have much more flexibility in terms of travel! ✈️ No more canned soup! Are you looking forward to traveling again soon? Have you always dreamt of being able to work remotely from anywhere with the freedom to have more spontaneous adventures? 💻🌍 Check out VIPKid! Teaching English online to sweet Chinese & Japanese students is equal amounts fulfilling & flexible and – now hundreds of classes in – I’m honestly loving it. 💕 Once it’s safer to do so, my little fam and I will be packing up and heading back to our fave city of NOLA… all thanks to the stability & flexibility this remote job is providing. Yeah! Please feel free to use my referral link and / or drop me a line in the virtual cafe 🙂 Get started today and slay all day like Bey. You CAN live your dream!! ✨

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