My feelings of wanderlust started when I was a little girl and my dad brought me home some of these:
The sparkle caught my eye and I started dreaming about getting to my father’s home country of India. Well, it took me quite a long time to get there. I was about four when my dad brought me home my first bangles, and I didn’t get to India until I was twenty-five. However, the journey to get there started far before. I just wasn’t aware at the time that everything that happened was leading me on the pathway to being able to travel the world. So now I want to share that story with you. Later on, I will share tons of pictures and stories of my travel experiences, but I first have to explain how I ended up travelling the whole world.
When I was in my last semester of college the question everyone kept asking me was, “So where are you going to work?” I was twenty-two and like many other people my age I had to decide where to take my leap out into the world. Most of my friends secured jobs already; however, I felt totally lost. Back then the pressure was on to make a decision, but it was one I wasn’t ready to truly make.
A little luck appeared when my then boyfriend (who I was doing long distance with) was accepted to do his PhD in Germany and asked me to join him there. To me, this was a no brainer. I had travelled in Europe during my semester abroad in 2009, and was looking for a way to somehow get back there for a longer period of time. I felt super lucky; in fact, it felt like a cosmic wink from the universe.
So instead of getting a 9-5 job like the rest of my friends I packed my suitcases for Germany, not really knowing what was ahead, but willing to take that risk. The thing was back then I wasn’t really sure why I felt the need to travel, or why I felt pulled in the direction I took. But, I just had to find out. Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorite books. I totally felt like her in that moment of time. Instead of being logical and using common sense of getting a secure job and having a future, I fell deep into a rabbit hole to go on a personal quest of my own.
Well, I wound up in Germany and it was so not how I expected it. I envisioned my time there being a wonderful adventure in a new country. I thought I would learn a new language, and gain international working experience. The reality? It was totally the opposite. I found it really difficult to find my footing in a country where I couldn’t easily communicate with people. I quickly realized I was so not prepared for this adventure. There were so many issues: culture differences, unfamiliar social situations, lack of money, no support system, and not being able to speak the language.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely did have some wonderful moments of being in Germany. I just wasn’t prepared to stay there in the long term. Back then I didn’t have a clear vision to really figure out what I wanted on my own. I so wanted to travel but I knew that with all the obstacles of living in Germany that just wasn’t going to happen.
After about a year in Germany, I just knew it was time to go back to the United States. I thought that by being in my home country it would help me to achieve the life that I wanted for myself. Oh boy, was I wrong! I found a job in Germany easier than I found one in the States. I started to feel like a total failure and sinking into a depression. On top of that, my ex and I realized we just weren’t compatible for each other. We desperately tried to make our relationship work, but we were doomed to breakup. That long overdue breakup happened in February 2012, which you can read about here.
That breakup was seriously awful. Not necessarily because of going through the breakup, but also because I was totally have a self-crisis. I was completely lost and had no idea which direction to go. But no one’s life is without turbulence, and sometimes that turbulence helps propel you to the places you need to be in the most.
At the time of the breakup I was living in Oregon (which is where my ex and I met), and now I was moving back to my parents’ house in Connecticut. Not the dream situation. I spent six years on my own and now was going back to sleep in my childhood bedroom. I was so miserable. On top of that everyone just kept telling me to join Linked In and get a 9-5 job. Now, look, there is nothing wrong with getting a 9-5 job and living a settled life. Sometimes I wish I could be content with that kind of lifestyle. But I was so filled with wanderlust that I knew I couldn’t settle down until I had the chance to travel the world.
After some months I finally got my head back together, I decided that I was going to find a way to travel on my own terms, and live a life defined by me. I started to realize that the past few years were helping me find my pulse and give me the strength to take the risks I was about to take. I was determined now and nothing was going to stop me.
My original plan to get abroad was to teach English in Korea and then save money to go to India. I was all ready to do my final visa details to leave for Korea, but then another the amazing opportunity to work as a flight attendant for Emirates airline appeared, and I felt it was way too good of an offer to pass up. I never saw myself as being a flight attendant but I am so totally happy I took the risk to do so.
In October 2012 I moved to Dubai and lived there for nearly two years while travelling the entire world. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so gracious for having it! The best part? I finally got to see India–not once, but twice. Travelling to my roots in India was a totally life changing experience for me. Here’s a picture of me at a girl’s school. They are trying to teach me Malayalam—the language from my father’s home state.
(That is me in the purple pink shirt leaning in. They were giggling at my attempt to learn Malayalam!)
Some people have wanderlust that won’t go away; it may even start in childhood like it did for me. Traveling has changed my life and I’m so happy that I took the risks that I did. I was totally scared to make most of the moves that I did, but looking back all I can do is smile, laugh, and sometimes cry about all the situations that I’ve been in. It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth it. All I ask of you is that if you feel a deep desire to go somewhere, or live somewhere new, just try to do so. You should never give up on your desire to travel if you have it. You won’t regret it, I promise.