I travel because I become uncomfortable being too comfortable.

– Carew Papritz

Girls LOVE Travel is a Facebook community of over 500k travel loving females. I joined several years ago and have thoroughly benefited from the community’s advice, inspiration and support. I’ve posted a few times before, with specific travel inquires, and have given others advice, but I’d never shared my story before this post.

On April 4th 2018 I left the USA with a one way ticket to Bangkok in hand. On a layover in Tokyo I decided to post my departure photo and brief explanation of how I got to this point on the Girls LOVE Travel Facebook page…

The response I got was unimaginable! Within a few days my story impacted thousands. It received over 14 thousand reactions and 1 thousand comments! I was overwhelmed with love, excitement and gratitude! Hearing that people can relate to my hardships, travel dreams and non-traditional lifestyle is priceless!

Original Girls LOVE Travel Post

girls love travel melissa ann maidaToday is the day!

Nearly 4 years ago, 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.

Mourning the loss of my father and a failed 6-year relationship, 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. (I must add my business partner was also 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 also 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. I’ve always said the more secure my life is, 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 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!

So here I am.

I have spent the last 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 can JUST GO!

Today I board a flight to BANGKOK with a one-way ticket in hand and everything I own on my back!

I have no plans and no clue what life has in store for me tomorrow, let alone 5 or 10 years from now!!

Cheers to all you traveling girls!

Post Comments & Direct Messages

“This is truly inspiring. I love hearing a strong woman’s power story, and this is 100% yours! This really gives me the hope that i will be able to get to this point one day. Enjoy life, love!! ❤”

 

“I’m comping to Bangkok tomorrow from Cambodia. I travel 3 months in Europe and 6 months in Asia. And flying to Iran the 1o of April so I can try to bicycle home to Denmark from there. Let me know if you want to meet :D”

 

“Posts like this make me realise how much I love this group and all of you amazing women! So brave and I hope one day I can have enough courage to live life to the fullest and go on an adventure! I hope you have the best time! 😊✈”

 

“Your dad would be so proud of you. Enjoy your travels and stay safe 

 

“That’s amazing! Congrats!! I spent 8 months backpacking through Asia and Nepal and it all stared with a one way to Bangkok! You’re in for a beautiful ride!”

 

“WHAT A WONDERFUL FANTASTIC OVER THE MOON STORY  I think you explain perfectly why I wanna travel the world  Being able to know what exactly my LIFE will look like in the next year, month, the next 24 hours SCARES THE LIVING HELL OUT OF ME!!! Knowing that that time of my precious life will be GONE FOREVER and I wasted it not seeing the world SCARES ME TO THE BONES !!! Enjoy the freedom and living many peoples dreams- WE DREAMERS LOVE YOU 

 

“You’re such a true GLT ! Thanks for sharing your story. Maybe our paths will cross. I retire in 3 years from the airline. I can’t wait for a life full of travels and no schedule to adhere to.”

 

“Yes girl! This is amazing. Best of luck. Thank you for sharing your story, things like this inspire me so much. Can’t wait to be debt free!”

 

“I don’t know where you will be in 5-10 years either, but I do know you will be telling incredible stories about your life that most people can only read about. Cheers to you🍷🍷!!!”

 

“I did that in 1997! Sold everything and moved to Hong Kong. 5 yrs later I ended up adopting a little boy I worked with in an orphanage. 20 years later he is almost 24 and still the love of my life! We’re going to Thailand this July for a holiday just to recapture eastern culture again. Enjoy every moment and allow it to change you! Xx”

 

“Just wanted to say a big congrats. No one celebrates this type of achievement compared to babies, houses and weddings. So I thought I’d send your a big ol’ hell fricken yes!! Enjoy your trip!!! You deserve it.”

 

My Response

UPDATE: Wow ladies! Your reactions and responses to this post have absolutely overwhelmed me with love and excitement! Hearing that people can relate to my hardships, travel dreams and non-traditional lifestyle is priceless!

When I was in the process of calling off my wedding, I searched the internet high and low looking for others who were in the same situation I was. I didn’t find much. I made a vow to myself in that moment:

“If I ever get to the other side of this thing, I am going to share my story to help the next girl who finds herself here, unsure where to go next.”

At that time, I had no idea what a rad story I’d end up having to tell!

Thank you guys so much for your love and support!

P.S. After 36+ hours of travel, including 3 plane rides, 22hours in flight, and waiting at a McDonalds on Khao San Road in the middle of the night for my guesthouse to open, I made it safely to BANGKOK! (Let me tell you, I’d never been so happy to see a bed in my life!)

I will be responding to all of your comments and dms over the next few days!! Thank you all again!