Sharing some big life news…

I guess I’ll get right to it…I’m dedicating the next chapter of my life to backpack around the world!

I’m leaving in 2 weeks, which may sound like short notice, but this has been a LONG time in the making. I just wanted to tell certain people in my life first before they read it on the internet. 🙂

I know this may sound crazy and there might be questions. I will answer them all.

My plan is to start off in Singapore and cover South/Southeast Asia for the first few months. Then I’m returning to the U.S. for a wedding in May, and afterwards we’ll see. My priority is to see Asia – I’ve always been drawn to Asia because of my background – but if more countries don’t open up, I might pivot to another part of the world. I’m planning to keep things flexible as things will depend on each country’s COVID and borders situation.

I’m giving myself 6 months to start and a year at the most. This does mean I will quit my job as I always imagined doing this full-time. It was a tough decision to leave my job, but I’m grateful for the support from my colleagues at work.

Also, I’m doing most of this solo! Joe will join me in Sri Lanka in March, but he will keep his job and be based in the U.S – Joe has been beyond supportive, and I’m so grateful to have a partner who shares my values for this trip.

Why am I doing this?

This has been a dream of mine for a while now, and this trip is ultimately about fulfilling a bigger vision I have for my life. First and foremost, I have an endless list of countries to visit, and so an obvious goal of this trip is to fulfill my lofty travel goals at once while I’m young, healthy, and don’t have major obligations.

But a larger goal for this trip is personal growth. Over the last few years, every time I come back from a trip – even if it’s just for 1 or 2 weeks – it opens my eyes in some way. Travel has taught me how to rely on myself, put my prejudices aside, open my heart to new perspectives, face my fears, live with my choices, and appreciate every moment for what it is. So I have a vision that an extended trip will allow me to learn and grow even more than my past trips which were already so life-changing. I’m basically taking a bet that taking this trip will be more valuable than staying on my current path for the next year.

The path to this decision

This decision has been years in the making (yes…years). My intro to the backpacking world started my summer after college – I was broke so I spent 2 months working on farms in Ireland and Portugal while traveling throughout western Europe. Then fast forward to a solo trip to Thailand in 2018 – I spent 3 weeks on the backpacker’s trail and it honestly changed my life. I fell in love with that region of the world and left feeling like I didn’t nearly have enough time. I was inspired by other travelers I met, many who were doing extended trips (especially as it’s more common among Europeans/Australians to do a “gap year”). I knew after my Thailand trip that I wanted to do something similar in my 20s at some point.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2018

Fast forward to several amazing solo trips to Colombia, Philippines, Kenya, and more over the next few years…and the dream only intensified. I knew in my heart this was going to happen, it was just a matter of finding the right time. However, between a career change and the pandemic, the next three years were filled with this awkward “limbo” feeling, as I continuously faced reasons to put my plans on hold.

There were a few things that motivated me to finally pulling the trigger. When I started envisioning the next year of my life, I started getting anxious thinking about signing another year-long lease in SF. This “limbo” feeling was starting to manifest where I couldn’t make concrete plans or move forward with my life until I finally carried out this trip.

Also, I am 28 and am not getting any younger! The reality is women don’t have the luxury of time like men do. That’s just the way it’s always been. I do want to start a family in the next few years, and I know travel will be much harder with kids. So overall, this age factor has been a positive motivation or else I’d probably procrastinate for another year.

Considerations

I am the most risk-adverse person in the world, and I’ve spent countless hours calculating each risk imaginable…safety, finances, my career, my relationship – I’ve thought about it all!

I think the most immediate consideration is the pandemic. My honest view is that COVID is not going away anytime soon, so I was faced with a decision to keep waiting for COVID to “end” or to try to make the most of travel under the pandemic…I chose the latter. Even though I’ve had to eliminate many countries from my original plan, after 2 years of living through the depths of COVID, I’m just grateful for the countries I can go to. Flexibility will be key the next few months, and I’ll need to make decisions last minute based on the “hot spots” in the world at that moment.

Ultimately, there will always be 100 reasons not to do something – I will never feel like it’s the right time to pause my career or that I’m ready for a long-distance relationship… I’m hoping there’s something amazing on the other side, but I won’t get there unless I put chips on the table.

Closing

This trip is about growth, adventure, and fulfilling a life-long dream. I feel excited and energized, and that’s what’s keeping me going every day despite the uncertainty and fear. As always, I’ll continue to blog and share every detail of this trip. I want to thank everyone who continues to stop by and take interest in my life – it’s super encouraging to have this space to be transparent. ❤

Lastly I would LOVE to hear any recommendations from you! I’m a sponge right now and welcome your advice!

Cebu, Philippines, 2019

5 thoughts on “Sharing some big life news…

  1. Wow! Amazing news. Good luck, keep safe and have loads of fun… and of course keep blogging! I spent a year in Tokyo in my early twenties and before that 6 months in France. Thoroughly recommend the buzz of Tokyo. If you come back to Europe see you in London! Bon voyage! 😊X

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    1. Thank you for the wishes! Wow Tokyo and france sound amazing, especially since you lived there for an extended period. I will definitely take you up on meeting in London if I pass by! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post is so uplifting – I wish you well and look forward to hearing of all your adventures. From our own experiences, we loved Sri Lanka and Laos – and Angkor Wat of course. If and when I win the lotto, I’d LOVE to go to Komodo Island!!
    Safe trip Charlotte –

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marie!! Love that you went to all these countries in Southeast Asia. Komodo looks amazing! I’d love to make it there if Indonesia opens up. Thank you for the recs 😊

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