“…Some think a single girl must be traveling the world to ‘find a husband.’
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was truly happy to travel and be single.
But, I fell hard and fast for CP (for whom I coincidentally and Hollywood-fairy-tale like, had a crush on back in high school)…”
This one’s going to get personal.
My adult life has somewhat been defined by travel. From my first trips to California or Florida as a kid and teen, to my first trip to Europe in my twenties, I reveled in this exciting wanderlust I felt. The only thing I was sure of in life was that I wanted to travel more. While I was working full time as a TV producer, I made it my goal and a priority to ensure I would go on a big (read: far) trip every year. And I did. Each year, during my 2-3 week vacation time, I headed out to places like Tokyo and Greece and Croatia and Prague. But it wasn’t enough. When I returned, my exhilaration quickly turned to depression, as I didn’t want to be back in my scheduled life.
I want to hear from you: How do you feel in between your holidays or vacations?
I longed to be free in the world. There was so much more I wanted to see and do. I filled my days at home with enriching things like learning to play guitar, taking improv classes, tennis lessons, and volunteering as an English teacher and a Chicago tour guide. I loved being involved and learning more about me and about the world. I wanted to soak up all that life had to offer. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was my way of “traveling” when home.
Travel Around the World
I had no idea this was what I was going to do or even wanted to do until about six months before I actually did it. I knew I wanted to travel more, but, like many, I couldn’t conceive the form that could take. I thought maybe I could try to get a job in Europe so I could just move there. I never set out to be a nomad.
Until I did. I quit my job back in the summer of 2006 (the same time I started this blog), and left the United States that autumn to not return once until 15 months later. I continued to travel in the U.S. and then left again for more world travels and it wasn’t until 2010 that I actually unpacked my bag, got an apartment in Chicago, and put down some shallow roots again.
Part Time Nomad
Now I have made travel my life and career. I am immersed in it. I am a freelance travel and food writer/photographer. I speak about travel as well as video and also still do some freelance TV production and video consulting. Many of my new long-term travel friends and peers continue to travel the world with no home base and not many belongings. I love the ‘few belongings’ part, but I know for sure that I like having a home base. I loved my world travels, but I don’t desire to be gone with no home that long again.
I want to hear from you: Do you need a home base or prefer to be totally free?
Plus I am all about slow travel now. I don’t necessarily need (or want) the momentum of travel like I did before (the continuous change of scenery and loathsome task of packing and unpacking each week), but I still crave newness and adventure. So, barring the fact that I love my hometown of Chicago and do enjoy returning there each time, that home base could be anywhere really – well anywhere that I like, that makes me feel good, and is aesthetically pleasing to me. For now I travel for a month or two at a time and then return home and it feels right.
Sharing my Life
I have made a conscious choice not to write much about my personal life here. I have made the random reference here and there about relationships, but haven’t revealed too much. It’s a tough balance of wanting to let you in, but keeping some things private and for myself and the ones I love.
When I traveled around the world, I was completely single. I had just left an intense five-year relationship filled with big highs and painful lows. While that was hard, being free and unattached in the world was such a relief. Mostly because, not only was I guaranteed not to argue with myself (well, most of the time!), I didn’t have to “miss” anyone and feel like half of me wasn’t present in the moment. That truly made my travels clear and pure. Because when I am with someone and in love, I give my all emotionally and share my life much more than you may think this independent gal-around-the-world would. But I do. I am loyal and giving and dedicated. I am all in.
It just so happens that upon my return to the U.S., I met and fell in love with someone I knew 20 years ago from my hometown and my high school. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. I wasn’t really looking. And if I had been, New Jersey probably would not have been the first place I would’ve started. Not only because I’d left New Jersey a long time ago, but because I felt I ‘outgrew’ that kind of suburban lifestyle.
Some think a single girl must be traveling the world to ‘find a husband.’ But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was truly happy to travel and be single. But, I fell hard and fast for CP (for whom I coincidentally and Hollywood-fairy-tale like, had a crush on back in high school – cue music montage).
So now, he is a big part of my life. And that matters to me. Connecting and sharing my life with someone is what it’s all about to me. Life is short and I want to live, laugh, and love.
He couldn’t be more supportive of my travels and hopefully joins me here and there, but I still love to travel alone and he encourages my need for this, so I couldn’t ask for more. So travel is there, but I know for sure, I always want to come home.