People react in extreme ways when I tell them I am going to take an open ended trip around the world. Some say something along the lines of “Wow, that’s badass!” and totally understand my desire. While others say nothing and look at me with a furrowed brow and pursed lips as if they are trying to divide 9,978 by 16 in their head. Sure, it’s an obvious statement when you break it down literally: I am leaving Las Vegas and my hair salon to continuously travel around the world with no set plans on when I’ll return. But wait, with who, when, where, why, and how?

Who?

Me myself and I! This will be a solo adventure. With a few solo international trips already under my belt I have learned that traveling solo isn’t as uncommon as it seems. I’ve also learned that traveling solo doesn’t mean you’re alone, in fact, quite the contrary! I’ve met more people and made more connections traveling solo than I ever have traveling with a partner. On a solo trip to Europe, I met heaps of Australians that prompted a trip to Australia. On a solo trip to Southern California, I spent my birthday drinking champagne by the beach and attending a comedy show with a sweet British girl. Solo does not mean alone unless you want it to. When you open up to the world, the world opens up to you.

When?

I am leaving Las Vegas in September of 2017, kicking off the adventure with a road trip to Chicago (where I’m originally from). I plan to spend the holidays there with family and friends. In the spring of 2018 I will be officially departing from the USA!

Where?

Anywhere and everywhere. I want the freedom to travel organically. I don’t want to check items off a list or follow a schedule. I don’t want to buy souvenirs or stay in all inclusive resorts or have manufactured experiences. I want to explore other countries and intertwine myself in other cultures. I want to carry everything I own on my back just to know how little I actually need to be happy. I want to spend the day writing in coffee shops where I can’t read the menu. I want to learn languages and try unimaginable foods. I want to hike to the top of a mountain just to watch the sunrise. I want to stay in hostels and swap stories with travelers from all over the globe. I want to constantly see the world through new eyes. I want to let these experiences change me and force me to grow. If this takes me to India, Argentina, South Africa, Norway, Canada or Cambodia so be it! Life is about the journey after all, not the destination.

Why?

Quite simply, because I’ve always wanted to. When I was getting my degree in education I would fantasize about teaching English overseas. I wanted to go somewhere long enough to actually experience it versus packing a place into a week long vacation (as many Americans try to do). As I got older and started to settle down, I wrote off my desire as a childish dream. That all changed when the freedom of self-employment afforded me the opportunity to take a solo trip to Europe in the summer of 2015. My eyes were opened to the fact that long term travel was still a real possibility for me. Struggling with feeling too old (I was only 26 for crying out loud) and too successful to walk away from my business, I didn’t know what I wanted out of life anymore.

After a few months in this limbo, I booked a trip to Australia, hoping to find some answers. For most of the trip, I stayed with a friend who worked during the day. This gave me a lot of alone time to think. I took Pilates classes, read a few books and walked to the neighborhood coffee shop every morning where I organized my thoughts on paper. Somewhere between sitting in that coffee shop in suburban Brisbane and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, it became crystal clear: hitting the road was my only option.

How?

Saving Money:

I cut back on frivolous spending, sold numerous household items, and worked my butt off to save money!

Budget Travel:

No luxury resorts or 1st class plane tickets for this girl! I will be keeping travel costs low through backpacking, cheap flights, local transportation, and budget accommodations such as hostels and couch surfing.

Working on the Road:

I have the credentials to teach English overseas, (a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and TEFL Certification), experience bar tending and can of course do hair!