And so my adventure begins. But first, allow me to catch you up to speed.
On March 13, 1990, a child was born. Kidding, we aren't going back that far, but if you ever want to buy me a birthday present you'll know when to do so. Anyway, I have this theory. The theory is as follows: Some people are born with a travel bug and some are not. I understand this is not a mind-blowing concept by any means, but let me explain. The nature of this travel bug begins with a childlike curiosity, builds with a desire for knowledge, and thrives on a passion for the unknown. My extremely made up statistic says that 9 out of 10 people in this world have at least a molecule of the travel bug in them. However, what separates the people I call "travel buggers" from the merely curious souls is the willpower and gumption to make their explorations of the world a reality. The desire to see and feel more is an all-consuming and ferociously relentless entity.
My whole life I have wanted more than anything to be a travel bugger. I have the bug inside me. I know because I can feel it. Churning in my belly when I see pictures and videos of foreign places. Growling when I have the same routine for more than three days in a row. Before I explain why I cannot claim to be a travel bugger (not yet, at least), I would like to note that I have a super phenomenal family. My father has worked extremely hard to provide for my mother, brother, and myself. He has his own business with only one employee. This dynamic has made it difficult to allow time off for extravagant family vacations. This isn't easy to understand as a child, especially while attending a private school and watching classmates frolic off to Aspen for Christmas break or Europe for the summer. Even though we didn't have the opportunity to participate in those family adventures, I can say that my dad was home for dinner every single night. He never missed a sporting event or a chance to say "I love you, I'm so proud of you." That alone is more valuable to me as an adult than any of those trips could ever amount to. But that's the thing. I am an adult now, so it's time to make these adventures and travels happen for myself. Come hell or high water.
I have this problem and it completely stems from who my parents are as human beings. If something is not practical, it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept. Running off to Europe sounds fantastic to the travel bug inside of me, but is it a practical thing to do? Directly, no. It is not practical at all. Let's face it. Quitting a stable, full-time job is scary. I take that back. It's terrifying. However, the indirect effects of independent exploration as a young adult could be positively life altering. My best friend and I are constantly texting each other links to titles such as "23 Reasons Why You Should Live Abroad At Least Once" and "Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel in Your 20s". I have never understood how these young people find the money to stop their lives in this career climbing environment and travel. Being a girl without a trust fund or the desire to go into immense debt, how can I fulfill my travel fantasies and be practical? Here's how.
As I previously mentioned, my parents rock. That doesn't mean it has been easy living with them for over two years after four and a half years of collegiate independence. By making the decision to move home and having supportive parents that did not require me to pay rent while simultaneously working full-time, I have been able to save enough for the type of adventure I am craving. I understand that moving home is not an option for everyone, and if you do not have an incredibly healthy relationship with your parents going into it, I would not suggest taking that route. Even though I consider my parents my greatest allies, I questioned my sanity most days and shed many tears of frustration. But here I am. I finally have the money in my account that will fly me to Rome for three months and au pair (nanny) for a beautiful family. I plan to leave at the end of May and return at the end of August. I cannot wait to dip my toe in the travel bugger lifestyle and share my stories and photos.
I recently approached my cousin for advice. She is the world traveller of the family, so I knew she would be encouraging. I will leave you with her eloquent words of wisdom that I ripped off our private Facebook message because I could not have said it better myself: