Writing my first book took four years. Four years of trial and error, self-discovery, and conquering the terrifyingly real fear of putting myself out there for the world to see. And being judged for it. I always say it’s the equivalent of giving a speech butt naked in front of a crowded room. Emotionally naked. Vulnerable. And there’s nothing more satisfying than accomplishing, overcoming, triumphing, and holding my own creation … a book … my book … in my hands.
Tangible fruition of a dream.
Little did I know big dream one (writing a book, or three) would spontaneously birth big dream two (traveling the world).
“While I was in Granada, I had a lot of time to myself. Sure, I spent time with my wonderful roommates and family and went to classes, but I’d say there were a solid 4 hours a day that I had to myself. Considering that the past 6 weeks of my life had been filled to brim with going places, meeting new people and trying new foods, my life felt a little emptier than before. This is where La Gran Vía came into play.”
“So often I feel consumed with obsessing over all the things I want or need, or the things I need to change. Of course that motivation and constant drive leads me to great things, but I think in this moment, on that church pew, with Kevin’s shadow projected across the white walls, I learned to find peace and happiness along the way; to be totally happy with where I am in the moment while still understanding and being ok with all the things I am working towards. I felt comfortable in my loneliness, in my skin, and in my position in the world.”
“I tried to mimic what people did. You know the whole: graduate, have a well-paying job, have a home with Ikea furniture, think about marriage and kids – you name it. Until I travelled to Tuscany. Little did I know when we drove through the cypress hills of San Gimignano, that my life was about to change radically.”
“I remember reading a Lonely Planet blurb about shamans in the Peruvian forest, and needless to say, it peaked my curiosity. A little over a month into my extended backpacking trip around Latin America, I was slowly meandering into Northern Peru, toward the misty mountain town of Huancabamba. It is said that Peruvians come from all over the country to pay the shamans a visit and to bathe in the huaringas – the lagoons.”
“When the locals ask “But…why are you here”? You know you’ve strayed from the road most travelled. ‘Here’ was Saltilo, Mississippi and indeed why was I here? I hadn’t planned to be here but on this 64 day, solo road trip from New York to San Francisco. I hadn’t done much planning at all, particularly for anything west of Nashville, and as someone who loves a good plan but is also an exceptional procrastinator, my route plotting experience spurned an ongoing inner conflict between the fastidious side of me and the side that just wants to watch TV.”
“As I was driving up towards Asheville, I was just listening to music and thinking. Dwelling on how stupid I was for making that call, and just angry in general with myself for still being so upset about a breakup six months later. It was at that point I decided that that was it. I was going to take control.”
” Looking into pure darkness, only Mother Nature and whispers of wild animals surrounded me. I looked to the sky and had never seen the stars so clearly. I remember feeling a huge rush of emotion take complete control of me. Tears filled my eyes and I had shivers run up and down my spine. The entire time I was in South Africa felt surreal, but during that very moment; reality settled in and it was the moment my life changed forever.”
“The silence was deafening and seemed to last for ages. Then came the immense pain. It wracked our bodies from within, vibrating in huge waves. Almost as if we were a chorus, the gasping began as the wind that was knocked out of our lungs rushed back in at the exact same moment. Six gaping mouths groaned back to life as we realized we had been in an accident. Being in the back of the truck bed of the mini tuk tuk, we never saw it coming.”
As I passed out the cookies to the children I asked myself, how did I get here? The short answer was that I had asked if passing out fruit would be better, and was told: “kids like cookies – if you really want to thank the Ugandans for their hospitality, you need to give cookies.” So what as the long story? I had been fired, and obviously travel was the only thing that made sense.