Hello! My name is Melissa Ann Maida.
At the ripe old age of 24, my dad died, I opened a salon and I called off my wedding.
In that order and all within two months. 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 didn’t find much. I said to myself- If I ever get to the other side of this, I’m going to write down my story to help the next person who finds themself here… Well, I made it to the side and am writing down my story!…
Mourning the loss of my father and a failed 6-year almost marriage, I threw myself into my salon.
The salon was friggin awesome! It was beautifully decorated, every detail hand picked by my business partner and me. My business partner was my best friend, I had amazing clients and I absolutely loved doing hair- (I still do and have since I was 5 years old.)
The freedom of self-employment (and my new single status) granted me the opportunity to explore another childhood passion of mine: TRAVEL!!
Between 2015 and 2016 I went to Mexico twice, I spent 3 weeks traveling through Western Europe, 3 weeks traveling up the East Coast of Australia, and 3 weeks with my childhood girlfriends in London, Munich (for Oktoberfest), Paris and the Netherlands.
Needless to say, I was on top of the world!
Oh, and I forgot to mention, I was living in LAS VEGAS, spending every other weekend on The Strip- partying until the sun came up.
Sounds like an amazing life, right? IT WAS.
And that is exactly why I had to make a change.
Have you ever heard the quote:
“I travel because being too comfortable makes me uncomfortable” (or something like that)?
Well that sums me up. The more secure my life gets, the more insecure I feel. If I can wake up in the morning and predict, with any degree of accuracy, what my life will look like 5 or 10 years down the road, it’s time for me to make a change…
While backpacking through Europe I had met countless people traveling for months and even years at a time. They had walked away from their lives back home- their stuff, their jobs and their loved ones, opting for a life of exploration and adventure. Fully immersing themselves into new experiences and foreign cultures.
At first, I wrote these long-term travelers off as gap year teenagers with wealthy parents. Or, if they were in their mid-twenties to early thirties, I decided they must not have a “real job,” they must not be as established as I was, they must not like their life as much as I liked mine. 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.
I have no plans and no clue what life has in store for me tomorrow, let alone 5 or 10 years from now!