Hello! My name is Melissa Ann Maida.
Let me take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself and why this blog exists…
Today, when I catch up with my friends and family, they often ask “where are you?” before “how are you?” I am a nomad. I prefer the mountains over the beach … Until I’m back at the beach and am reminded of how glorious sunrise yoga beside the ocean is! My hair is always a different color, I’m usually wearing a bandanna on my head, no make-up, mismatched clothes and a beat up pair of Birks. Everything I own fits in a backpack..
But this hasn’t always been my life…
At the start of 2014, I lived in a nice house in the suburbs, drove a brand new car, and had a successful cosmetology career. Recently engaged, I was in the thick of wedding planning. That spring, everything started to change. My dad passed away, I opened a salon, and my sister got married. The chaos of so many major life events, in such a short time, put pressure on my relationship. That July, I called off my wedding.
In the midst of all the chaos, I turned to the internet looking for a blog or a book by someone who’d had a similar experience. I desperately wanted to know there was someone out there who survived what I was going through- and maybe get some tips on how they did it? After incessant searching, I found a few fluff pieces but nothing that was exceptionally raw or honest. In that moment I told myself- “If I ever get to the other side of this, I’m going to write my story down to help the next person who finds herself here”...
Well, I’m on the other side and am writing down my story…
Getting to the Other Side
While mourning the loss of my father and a failed 6-year-almost-marriage, I threw myself into my salon. The salon was friggin awesome! My blood, sweat and tears went into decorating that place and it showed. I loved doing hair, had amazing clients and my business partner was my best friend.
The freedom of self-employment granted me the opportunity to travel! Between 2015 and 2016 I went to Mexico twice, took my first solo backpacking trip to Europe, traveled for 3 weeks in Australia, and spent 3 weeks with my childhood girlfriends in London, Munich, Paris and the Netherlands.
Between working full-time and traveling the world, I managed to incorporate new healthy habits into my life. I started eating healthier, reading and writing more, and doing yoga consistently.
Plus, I lived in LAS VEGAS! Which is fantastic for the obvious reasons- unbeatable sunsets and 24/7 fun- but for me, it means so much more than that. I have an EPIC support system in Las Vegas.
Running a successful business, traveling, staying healthy and the support of my friends and family helped me process and heal from everything I’d been through.
But the changing didn’t end there…
Continuing to Change
“I travel because I become uncomfortable being too comfortable.”
It wasn’t long before my life was stable and secure again. My schedule at the salon was steadily booked which brought in an abundant income. I had moved into a three bedroom townhouse all by myself and still drove a brand new car. I had the latest tablets and phones (that I somehow justified by saying they were for my business.) My travel opportunities and the time I had to spend with the people I loved decreased as my obligation to making money and maintaining my material possessions increased. Over time, I had become bound to the salon that had once made me feel so free.
Every step I took tied me tighter to the material life I was creating. I knew if I kept going, one day very soon, turning around or changing direction would no longer be an option.
Indefinite World Travel
While backpacking through Europe I had met countless people traveling for months and even years at a time. They had walked away from their routines, their jobs, and their stuff- opting for a life of freedom, exploration and adventure.
At first, I wrote these long-term travelers off as gap year teenagers with wealthy parents. I was jealous of them. If they were in their mid-twenties or early thirties, I decided they must not have “real jobs,” they must not be as established as I was, their lives must not be as awesome as mine was. I judged them. Every time I made an excuse as to why I couldn’t travel like them, I met someone new who proved me wrong. Finally, I decided to JUST GO!
I spent TWO YEARS selling ALL of my belongings, paying off debt, saving money, building up airline miles, researching destinations, preparing to work on the road, dissolving my salon business and gracefully untangling myself from all other stateside obligations.
On April 4th 2018, with a one-way ticket to BANGKOK in hand and everything I owned on my back, I took off to indefinitely travel the world!