“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.” – Pat Conroy
The first time I read this quote, I realized I wasn’t crazy. For many years, though, I thought I was. When you first feel yourself change—that kind of change that only comes from traveling—you don’t quite understand it. For me, this happened before I was even a teenager. Rewind more than 10 years: my feet hit the cobblestone streets of London, and I was instantly obsessed. My preteen self had never seen a place so different from home. Indiana didn’t have cobblestone streets. Indiana definitely didn’t have royal guards with big fluffy bearskin hats either. I was fascinated by the castles, the way the streets smelled, and that every little shop looked like it belonged in a photograph. I turned to my mom that day in London, and told her so matter-of-factly:
“Mom, one day I’m going to live here in Europe.” She just laughed. I didn’t understand it yet, but I had changed forever that day.
When I returned home, everything seemed different. Since that first journey outside of the U.S., standing still has never been easy for me again. Every second stateside I was daydreaming about being abroad again. It was as if I was homesick for somewhere that wasn’t my home. I needed to travel some place foreign to me, somewhere new. So I made myself a very simple promise: No matter what else happens in my life, I will travel. Every penny I earned went towards my next adventure. I learned how far I could stretch a dollar overseas before I learned how to buy groceries at home. Over more than a decade I have held true to that promise—held true and then some. From the Champs-Élysées in Paris, to the fields of the first Olympic games in Greece. From the packed streets of Ireland during St. Patrick’s Day, to quaint little Austria, I’ve seen some 14 countries since.
Fast forward to now.
I do live in Europe. (See, Mom!) In Spain, actually, and for the second time. After a year studying in the southern city of Murcia, Spain, I returned again to visit a friend in Galicia—the hidden treasure of Spain. There in a small town along the rainy coast, I met my other half. He’s Galician and (basically) the tallest man in Spain. Now I live here teaching English to support my passion. I want to inspire travel, learn a bunch of languages, and try every food in the world. I’ve never been special or rich, I just refused to let mundane routine force me to stand still. This is the newest chapter of me living, and travel is guaranteed ♥
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