Ever since we were teenagers, my best friend and I would talk about backpacking around Europe for a summer. (“I think we could do it on maybe a grand?” I said when I was 19. Uhhh, no.) It was one of those half-baked plans that people throw around, and I didn’t start actually planning it until I was 23. When she wasn’t able to come, I decided to go alone. Before this experience, I had never left the country or even planned a real trip. I ended up traveling for 3 months. In the beginning, I had been completely terrified, and everything seemed to go wrong. I worried that I had made a huge mistake. But things quickly changed for the better, and I ended up having the time of my life. Travel has become my #1 passion: my life revolves around planning the next trip.
The first time, everyone told me, “Enjoy it, you’ll only do this once!” But when I came back home, I worked my ass off and deferred graduation to go to Europe for a second summer.
Now the next half-baked plan that I’ve been thinking about is living and teaching in South America (for a couple of months or…a couple of years). So after finishing grad school, the idea is to save $$ like crazy, pack up my stuff, move out of my apartment, and…go.