Hi! My name is Melissa. I am 31 years old.
Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, I moved to Las Vegas at the age of 19. I gave Las Vegas nearly 10 years of my life and it gave me a Bachelor’s Degree, a successful career as a hairstylist and salon owner, and a whole lot of life lessons. While living in Las Vegas I almost married the wrong man and I almost bought a house in the suburbs, because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. More times than I’d like to admit I came close to committing myself to people, careers and lifestyles that were not meant for me!
In 2016 I decided to leave behind my life in Las Vegas to travel indefinitely. It took literal blood, sweat and tears to get from the moment I decided to leave to the day I boarded my one-way flight to Bangkok on April 4th 2018.
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 so I could JUST GO!
It has been over 3 years since I’ve had a fixed address. In that time have been to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Bali, Guatemala and Colombia. I also had the privilege of spending several months in Chicago, taking care of my newborn nephew, between my trips to Asia and Latin America!
When I left to travel indefinitely, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I didn’t belong in Las Vegas anymore (I am not sure that I ever did) and was convinced that traveling would help me discover my place in the world.
I hoped that traveling long term would teach me lessons and force me to change and grow in the vital ways I needed to… but I wasn’t quite sure what that would look like?
Oh let me tell you, it didn’t take long for me to find out!
Traveling completely shifted my paradigm.
Everything I thought I knew and believed about the world and my place in it was turned upside down, then shredded to bits.
Traveling showed me the world through different lenses.
Traveling showed me myself through different lenses.
I encountered people from around the globe who were more politically, socially, culturally and economically aware of the world around them than I was. It seemed as if they had learned a completely different version of human history than I had…
Turns out, many had.
In the US we are taught a nationalistic and whitewashed version of history that completely skews reality, leaving us ignorant of the world around us and of ourselves. We are taught that our country, culture and way of life is not only the standard, but the ideal. Spoiler: It’s not. Any doubts I had about this growing up were met with blind patriotism at best and gaslighting at worst. I stopped questioning things.
Traveling forced me out of willful ignorance by giving me time and space to investigate what I’d been ignoring for so long. Over the past few years I have logged countless hours of research in an effort to unlearn the “white” lies, relearn our true history and find my place within the narrative.
While I have a lot more clarity now than when I first set off to travel, I know that unlearning and relearning will be a life-long journey and I’ve only just begun.
This blog started as a place for me to share travel tips and tell stories, but it has evolved into a place for me to question everything and connect myself and others to what I discover.
If you believe that Black Lives Matter, are into coffee shops, traveling, history, eating plants or meditating, and want to dismantle capitalism, white supremacy, and the patriarchy, we will probably vibe!