Over the weekend I was talking with some friends about our trip to Scotland 14 countries, I can’t believe I have had the opportunity to travel that much!
While to some 14 countries is just a typical summer in Europe, to me this is what I used to dream about.
And I still can’t believe I am living out my dream!
You know those travelers you hear about who have grown up traveling the world?
Well that is not my travel story.
In fact, if you would have asked me 7 years ago if I thought I would travel in my 20’s my answer would of been, “it’s a dream, I just don’t know how to make it happen.”
So in celebration of my 14th country I thought it would be fun to look back on how my travel story began.
Growing up I always dreamed of getting out and exploring the world.
At the same time I was also terrified of leaving the comforts of my small town. But something in me knew that if I didn’t get out and explore I would always regret. So when I started university I made a promise to myself, I would make a trip abroad happen before I graduated.
I remember talking with those around me about my dreams for travel. Many of them agreed that traveling sounded amazing, yet not one said anything along the lines of let’s make a trip happen. As much as I wanted to go out and travel I was scared to make the leap on my own, and so I just went along constantly looking up travel deals and just hoping that one day I would get to make my dreams of travel come true.
During my junior year of university I made a visit to the international office, and was immediately intrigued by all of the study abroad options I learned about.
I always knew about the chance to study abroad in university, but for some reason I hadn’t thought it was something that would be possible for me to do. I don’t know why I never consider study abroad a viable option for myself, it just seemed too amazing of an opportunity to be real.
After that first meeting with an international advisor though there was no way I could let the opportunity pass me by, I had to find a way to make a semester abroad happen, this was my chance to finally travel.
Once I had my mind set on doing a semester abroad the next challenge was finding a program to apply for.
My BSc is in business, and my business school, it was very strict on the study abroad programs it would accept. For the 1,500 business students there was about 5 spots avaibale in study abroad programs that would be accepted by our business school.
I didn’t let this stop me though and applied anyways with my fingers crossed I would get in.
I remember the day I got the email telling me I wasn’t accepted.
I was devastated.
And at first I took it as a sign that traveling just wasn’t meant to be.
But my little sister, always much wiser than her years and who was just in elementary school at the time, looked at me and said, “why don’t you just look at other options?” I won’t ever forget this, me having a mini meltdown, and my sister just laying around painting her nails giving her innocent advise.
Why did my dreams have to stop with that email?
And so I spent the rest of the evening researching, looking up option after option, and then I found my chance.
An internship program in Australia that my business school would give me credit for!
The day I left for Australia will be one I will never forget. I so clearly remember sitting at the airport waiting for my flight, and having the reality of what I was about to do fully hit me.
I was terrified.
I mean I didn’t really need to travel just yet did I? What was so bad about staying in my hometown with all my friends and family around me?
I will never forget the tearful phone call I made to my mom asking her to come back and pick me up, I didn’t want to go to Australia anymore. Her reply, “travel safe, call me when you get there, I love you.”
This is tough love at its best and I will always be thankful for this!
Those first few weeks in Australia, I won’t lie, they were hard.
I missed my family, my friends and being in my comfort zone. I even tried changing my ticket to return home earlier, but my mom made me promise I would wait at least a month before I decided.
After those first few weeks my something changed, and I finally began taking in my life abroad and enjoying it.
Each day I found myself getting more caught up in exploring my new home, meeting people from all over the world, and learning about new cultures and languages. I was fascinated, I had to soak up as much as I could before my time in Australia was up.
And you know what, I did end up changing that ticket, but I didn’t come home earlier, I extend it for an extra few weeks!
As they say, the rest is history…
I met my Viking in Australia and have been traveling the world and exploring with him ever since. But even if I hadn’t met H in Australia I know that I would always have made traveling a priority in my life, I was just hooked after that first trip.
Amazing how just one decision can change so many things in your life.
My decision to study abroad set me out on a completely different life path than I could have ever imagined. Never did I think I would be living abroad and traveling as much as I can.
Yet somehow here I am, traveling the world and making my dreams happen. 14 countries and still exploring.
Never give up on your dreams, if it truly is your dream you will find a way to make it come true!
Question of the Day?
What is your current dream? Do you dream of traveling?