Lessons from 33 days on the road! 

So… I did an awful job of keeping this up to date, but I did it! I’m on the road. I quit my job on April 7, headed to Boston on April 15th, and landed in Cape Town on April 19th.

I spent the first few weeks with a friend, and have been traveling solo ever since!

Day 1: My burner buddy Bucket and I set off for Cape Town to go to Afrikaburn.

Day 30: Left Kigali, Rwanda for Bangkok, Thailand.

I have so much to say about Afrikaburn, Cape Town, and Rwanda… but all in good time.

So here are some things I’ve learned on my 30+ days:

1. Get comfortable, but don’t let your guard down. This is something I thought would be common sense throughout my trip, but was reminded early on when I had some valuables stolen from a hostel. Even when everything feels safe, and everyone seems honest, anything can happen. Always pack up valuables and keep your wits about you. Theft is usually a crime of opportunity. 

2. Just because you see a crowd of people going somewhere, does not mean that’s where you want to go. I learned this at the Grand Palace when I saw a group lined up waiting to enter a section of the Palace, apparently it was the exit and even though I had only been there 30 minutes and had accidently walked out, they wouldn’t let me back in. 
3. Only book a few nights at a hostel at a time. If you don’t like the vibe, location, amenities, want to change plans, etc. having a few days booked is best. Most of the time you can extend your stay, or if you are in a heavily populated backpacking area find another near by. It sucks to feel like you have to stay or lose your money.

4. You will make friends! I am not an extrovert, I don’t do well in big groups, but it is so easy to meet people traveling! Not at every stop, or every night, but you will meet people! It’s as simple as asking people what they are doing that day or night, and asking to join if you’re keen!

5. Don’t be afraid to venture alone. One of my favorite experiences so far came when I went out in Bangkok alone to see some temples. I ended up on a river boat ride with a mother and daughter from Malaysia. The boat dropped us off on the wrong side of the river and drove away. We ended up spending the next couple of hours together and I got lots of advice and contacts for my continued travel in SEA. 

6. Drink more water. Trust me, however much water you’ve had today is not enough. Your body is going through a lot. New time schedule, new atmosphere, food, germs, etc. If you are having a bad day or in a bad mood, find a cool quiet place and drink a whole bottle of water.

7. Listen to your body and let go of FOMO. You’re fucking traveling! It can be anything you want. If you want to sit in your air conditioned room and read a book or nap all day, do it! Not everyone moment is going to be the most experience of your life. Our day to day lives include a lot of down time, don’t feel like you can’t have it on the road. You will never see or do everything in a country, enjoy the experiences and ride. Who knows what you will miss most about traveling when you’re home.

8. Write! Or draw or whatever helps you process your emotions and get things out. Writing has been a great comfort to me during the struggles and challenges of traveling. You don’t have to be an experienced novelist. What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell? How do you feel? 

Don’t listen to me. Everyone’s experiences and needs are different. Travel however, whenever, and wherever you want! 

Procrastination of Alice…

It’s been a long 5 months. And surprise, things have not gone as expected.

I had a dedicated 4 months of saving nearly 80% of my paychecks, of saying no, of spread sheet making, travel planning, I read dozens of country’s State Department pages, and then Burning Man happened. To say I’ve lost my direction would be a massive understatement in regards to the current state of my life. But, I’ve only been back in default world for 2 days… so I’m going to cut myself some slack.

My Burning Man journey really began this year when I went to my first regional Burning Man event, Burn in the Forest (BitF) in Vancouver, BC. It was a very last minute decision brought on by the opportunity to ranger the event. It was amazing to see so many members of my queer burner community outside of the dusty Nevada burn. To see them laying on rocky beds by the river, sitting in the clean grass, and complaining of tiny spiders instead of art car sized boogers, was really quite special.

BitF also brought out a very important realization while I was participating in what I like to refer to as an “extra circular activity.” I escaped to my tent to find a moment of solitude from the event. Even a regional burning man event with 2 thousand people can be over stimulating and over whelming. Burning Man is very intimate. If you aren’t ready to fully embrace that intimacy, it can be jarring. I was lying in my tent trying to slow my breaths and figure out what was stressing me out so much. Why was I running from this atmosphere I craved and missed all year?

Well, getting into every thought that raced across my mind would be an unnecessarily long and potentially boring journey, but what it came down to was the pressure of this October date. In October I am going to quit my job, I am going to go on a RTW trip (mostly by myself). In October I will have my shit together, I will be able to have the Burning Man experience I want… it will all be fine. I was far from being ready. As I sat in my little hiking tent, unable to stand, unable to comfortably change, clean myself, have a moment… I thought to myself, no way is this how I’m going to live for two weeks in the mother fucking desert.

The moment I returned from BitF is when my burn got started. I let go of this October date, my tight budget, and the whole trip plan for that matter. I didn’t want to start in South America, I didn’t want to leave in October. I didn’t even know if international travel was what was most important. It’s just the journey, the leaving. It is knowing that whatever it is that I’m doing right now in life, isn’t the right thing. This is not my long term life. And the solution does not need to come in October, in fact there is no fucking way it is coming in October.

Good things are coming. I’m just figuring out what these things are.

Fourteen Moves, Eight Years

It’s not an exaggeration. I’m not sure what it is, the house, the people, the situation… maybe chalk it up to my indecisive nature. But in the last eight years I have moved 14 times, lived in 11 houses, in 4 cities, with 21 different roommates, all within about 80 miles of each other.

I have just completed move fourteen and at this point I am having a, “What the fuck?” moment. This move, I have assured myself has purpose. It seems obvious that I am searching for something. At 26 I am cluing in to the fact that I need to take a more active approach. The goal is to save up enough money, quit my job, get rid of my worldly possessions and embark on an open ended journey. My recent move has shown that getting rid of my worldly possessions is not going to be as easy as I thought.

When you look at what I bring to a home, it doesn’t seem like much. Other than a bed, I don’t have much in the way of furniture. I do have a small TV, video games I no longer have the time to play, and a record collection I recently started – poor timing I may add. But when you put them all into boxes, the things add up fast.

I tried my best to be diligent. I made four trips to Value Village. Looked at all my stuff and asked myself, have I worn this in the last year? Did I even know I still owned this? Will I ever use this again? Even though I was able to get rid of so much, there is still so much that I have.

We took the last box off the truck late Sunday night and stored it in my mom’s garage. There is not enough space in the house for all this stuff. There isn’t enough space in my life for everything, not if I truly want to leave default world behind. It is hard to let go. I carry my past through my stuff; my many triumphs and defeats, reminders of what I have accomplished and what I have overcome. A lifetime of memories associated with things that are just waiting to be stored or stashed somewhere else.

Things are not memories. Letting go is step one.

move

Waiting to move the last of my shit

A Life on the Road

It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl; filling a backpack with what I can carry and walking out of my parent’s house. No real plans or destination, heart and mind open to adventure. But I’ve always been afraid. Afraid of being alone, afraid of missing home, afraid of all the things they say a girl traveling alone should be afraid of.

I’ve dabbled in some travels here and there. Making plans with friends, always waiting for others to be ready, for my friends to want to go on the same adventures as me. Never knowing when the time would be right. Then one day it finally hit me, fuck these fears and fuck waiting for others to be ready. If I want to travel, if I want a life filled with adventures, then I must be ready to seek them on my own.

In the last 8 years I have moved 13 times. In those 13 moves I’ve moved within the same 80 mile radius. I can’t stay in one place, but I also can’t get very far. I am getting ready to move for the 14th time, and yet again I will be moving back home with my mom. This is the time. I can see the dream I’ve had since I was a little girl coming to fruition.

The next 7 months need to be filled with more discipline than I have ever shown in my life. I have drawn out a budget and it is going to be tight, I am already in the red. To stay on pace, or more accurately to get on pace, I am embracing the power of no. No I don’t want to go out for chicken wings. No I can’t meet for drinks. No I’m not going to Vegas. Not only must I must embrace no, but I must embrace yes. Yes I can do this. Yes I’ve made a plan. Yes I’m ready. It will be hard, but what is 7 months?