Born and raised in the Chicago burbs, 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 college degree, a successful career as a hairstylist and salon owner, and friends that I consider family. Las Vegas also taught me a lot of lessons. While living there I almost got married, I almost bought a house, and I almost committed to a life that wasn’t meant for me, more than once.
In 2017 I left behind my salon and the life I’d created in Las Vegas to travel indefinitely. It took literal blood, sweat and tears to get from the moment I decided to leave in April 2016 to the day I boarded my one-way flight to Bangkok in April 2018.
I spent two years- 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!
Since then I have been to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Bali, Guatemala and Colombia. I also spent several months in Chicago, watching my newborn nephew for my sister and brother-in-law in between my trip to Asia and Central/ South America.
When I left to indefinitely travel the world in April of 2018, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 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 way the world works, 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 learned a different version of American History, of World History, than I did. (And their version made more sense). Not only did people from different countries seem to know a different, more accurate, version of history, they were also more aware of the world around them than I was.
In America, 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 or questions I had about this growing up (and looking back I had many) were met with hollow, nationalistic, zeal at best and gaslighting at worst.
Traveling gave me permission to ask questions, and time to investigate my doubts, for the first time in my life.
Thanks to traveling, I have now read dozens of books and articles, listened to several podcasts, watched multiple shows and documentaries, and listened to leading activists, historians and thought leaders, in an effort to relearn history, get to know the world around me, and find my place within the narrative.
While I have a lot more clarity now than I did when I first set off to travel, I know that the process of unlearning and relearning will be a life-long journey.
This blog started as a place for me to tell stories about my travels but has evolved into a place for me to question the world and connect myself and others to what I discover.
As always, this will also change ☮