One Year Ago…

I blinked and a year has flown by.

How is this possible?

Did I even go on this trip?

It truly feels like I dreamt the entire thing.

Words can’t even begin to describe the experiences I had, the way I feel or the deep seeded travel bug that continues to grow within my soul. But one thing I know with certainty: This will not be my last Around the World trip. It may not be tomorrow, or next month, or even next year, but before I’m 100 years old, I know I’ll make it happen again.

Throughout my travels, I learned and grew more than I ever thought imaginable.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

Quitting my job, buying a one way ticket, living out of a carry-on size backpack for 252 days, and never looking back was the most terrifying, yet best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve learned more in these past 8 months traveling around the world than I have in any formal education setting. Fully immersing myself in dozens of cultures, indulging in local cuisine, missing buses, sleeping on a bench or two, being pick-pocketed, sprayed in the eyes with sangria, running with a bunch of crazy bulls, trekking across a glacier, witnessing the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, jumping off 50ft cliffs, sand boarding and horseback riding, scuba diving and mopeds, testing my courage and physical strength by climbing the highest mountains and toughest terrain through wind and snow(!), hitchhiking through Scotland, surfing and practicing yoga in Portugal, playing bocce ball under the Eiffel Tower, camel trekking in Africa, camping and getting caught in two sandstorms in the Sahara, cruising through the Amalfi Coast, dancing on tables at Oktoberfest, sailing around Croatia, solo adventures through Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, and meeting the most amazing people, both locals and fellow travelers from all walks of life is by far the most special part of life on the road.

So even though this chapter has come to an end, I know the adventure will continue.

This trip has only made my bucket list longer and has inspired me to begin planning my next excursion. To those wanderers, keep doing what you’re doing! And to those inspired, just do it! And remember “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I knew I would come out of this journey a different person, but to say ‘different’ is an understatement. I could have never imagined how strong, confident, adventurous, world-minded, optimistic, strategic, and an impeccable problem solver I would become.

This trip has been an absolute dream come true and I’m beyond blessed to have experienced it. Once you have the travel bug, it only grows deeper. And my soul will forever be wandering…
… Because not all those who wander are lost ??

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

The Final Countdown:
• 8+ months
• 252 days
• 29 countries
• 3 continents
• 115 cities
• 40 trains
• 36 buses
• 29 boats/ferries
• 31 planes
• 4 rental cars
• 3 Funiculars
• 2 Gondolas
• 2 Cable cars
• 1 hang gliding
• 4 Game of Thrones filming locations (Northern Ireland, Morocco, Dubrovnik, Split)
• 3 public transportation strikes in 3 different countries (Argentina Airlines, London Tube, Italy trains)
• 1 CNN iReport interview
• 1 stolen wallet
• 2 lost hats
• Too many Airbnbs to count
• 3 Horseback rides
• Countless taxis and metros
• 4 Camels
• 2 Surfboards
• 7 bikes
• 1 Kayak

Coming home to loving parents, amazing friends, and a beautiful place like San Diego makes the end of this grand journey a little less sad 🙂

Until the next adventure…