Friday, August 24, 2012

One-way ticket in hand...Europe here we come!

I leave in T-minus 18 days for Europe.

I never thought the day would actually come where I could say those words.  It's absolutely thrilling.  My dream of backpacking is finally happening.  I'll explain first a few specifcs about my trip you may potentially be wondering about..or perhaps you don't care, in that case, skip a few down :)

I will sharing this adventure with a few different people, lets have a few intros shall we?  First, my younger brother Chris.  Fresh off from completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail he is as eager as I to continue his adventure. Another travel buddy is a spritely lad who goes by the name of Robert Aubrey Wilkinson III, or as I call him, Robbie.  Robbie is a close friend of mine from my college days.  I have seen him sporadically over the past few years while he worked and lived in Huntsville, AL.  We have maintained a friendship since he graduated Tech in 2008.  Robbie is one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Last spring, (he apparently was feeling the same travel itch as I), up and quit his job to go pursue a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail as well, small world..He made it all the way to PA before deciding to cut his trip short.  I can't wait to spend substantial amounts of time with him again.  He is a bundle of fun and adventure.  Our final travel buddy is Nicole, a friend of our families for years now.  She is an emerging photograhper in the Nashville area (check out her stuff!
Nicole legit has just about all the exact same tastes, likes, and interests as myself.  We have the same love for music as well as the same kinds of music, clothes, outdoor activities, photography, and of course travel.  Nicole already had a trip planned to Cortona, Italy to join some friends at a Villa for a week or so.  She decided however that wasn't quite enough and wanted to come a bit earlier to backpack around with us!  I am very excited to get to know her much better.

That's the group, the fab four.  I will now layout the general idea of what will be taking place (so far we've only got the first 3 weeks mapped out to any extent)

We will be arriving in London, England the night of Sept 11.  We will have two nights and one full day spent in London before hopping a plane to Santorini, Greece on Sept 13th where we have a hostel booked and ready to go just a 100 yards from the shores of the beautiful azure blue ocean.  We are thinking of spending around 5-6 days here..we'll see.  From this point, travel methods become a little hazy.  We will either hop a ferry or another plane to Budapest, Hungary and from there most likely train to Prague in the Czech Republic.  We are hoping to spend a couple days in each city, they are supposed to be simply marvelous (we've also discussed Vienna and Salzburg).  Nicole has then put in a request to visit and hike to the Cinque Terre in Italy.  This is a gorgeous 5+ hour hike to see the cliff villages of Italy.  Um hello..we were happy to oblige.  Once through with that we will be meeting up with Nicole's friends in Cortona.  I hope to spend at least a few days in this lovely city and then at last part with our 4th member, sad day :(

From that point, the three amigos will continue on doing whatever in the hell we please.  We each have countries/cities we would like to see but if anyone has any suggestions of unique places they have visited or heard about, please don't be shy, comment and let us know!  Also if you have friends, family, or even acquaintances living abroad who would love to put up some wonderful, kind, backpackers, please do email me and give me their contact info!

Many people have asked me what my plan is for when I return home, also when am I returning home?  My answer is simply "No clue". Currently I have no set date for my return.  I have a one-way ticket purchased and suppose I'll wait till it feels right before I buy that ticket back home.  As for what I am anticipating..both me and my brother have saved money to travel, but we don't have all the money in the world.  In order to stay for longer than the original planned out 3 weeks, we will be utilizing the internet as much as possible.  We've both decided that WOOFING and seem to be the most available methods of traveling for very very cheap.  Therefore we will be doing both.  I'm also planning on meeting and making as many contacts as possible as we travel around.  As long as you're open to opportunities, doors can open anywhere and everywhere.

I anticipate my time abroad lasting around 2 months.  I want to use this time as almost a "trial period" to determine if this is the kind of life I want to live longterm.  If I determine that to indeed be the case, it will help to give me direction when I return home and start looking for a way to make a living.  I am extremely interested in using the capabilites of the internet to my advantage to create a business where I can work from anywhere..that will certainly continue to roll around in my thoughts.  I do know what I am interested in and what I am good at.  The plan for when I return home is (if needed grab a small part time job just to stay afloat) to make it my job to find the job of my dreams.  I am fully confident in my ability to do this and yes I am fully aware of the work this will take :)

I plan to post at least one more blog before leaving that will hopefully include some pictures of what I will be taking with me in case anyone is interested in that.  I also plan on taking my netbook with me abroad so that I can continue to blog of my adventures and keep everyone in the know about what we are up to.

So no worries my friends, exciting tales of adventure are soon to follow!

Till next time,


I quit my job.

Well..I did it.

I quit my job.

Talk about Scary.  Nervewracking.  Overwhelming.  Exciting.  For the last day and a half I have been torn between a couple of emotions.  The majority, however being relief.  I want to clarify that by no means do I think my job was perfect for me, but it could have been a lot worse.  I worked with some truly awesome people that I do hope to keep in contact with throughout my life.  The job however, just wasn't for me.

Another emotion I naturally experienced was guilt.  I felt as if I let down certain people and the company.  The thing I had to keep reminding myself of though is by me remaining there unhappy I would have let down people regardless.  In a much worse manner by simply being unpassionate about what I was doing.

It's funny as I've known for quite some time now that what I was doing was certainly NOT going to be what I continued to do for an extended amount of time.  I wasn't excited nor passionate about going in to work everyday.  Simply put, it was a paycheck.  For the first 9ish months or so I was convincing myself day in and day out that it wasn't that bad.  However about the time the sun decided to warm the earth back up and the flowers decided to open their faces to the warmth (ie. springtime) I had finally stopped lying to myself and concluded that this just was not the job for me.  I had a conversation with myself saying, "Carrie, how silly are you?  You are only 22 years old and you're practically miserable.  You're content with a job that isn't that bad?"  At that point, reality smacked me across the face and said "Hey dummy, who says you have to settle????  You have all the capability in the world to pursue the best life possible, what are you doing?!"

From that point on things started to rapidly change inside for me.  I finally started acknowledging and stoking the fire that had been idling inside me for so long.  I went into action.  One of my lifelong goals has always been to backpack for an extended period of time overseas (preferably everywhere, but specifically Europe first).  I looked up tickets on a whim one day and discovered to my surprise how affordable it actually was.  I then dove headfirst into researching absolutely everything I could about traveling on a budget.  I read countless blogs and articles on different travel topics becoming more and more excited everyday.  I could do this.  This was possible.  I purchased a one way ticket to Europe scheduled to leave September 11, 2012 without a second thought.

I did my job throughout that time all whilst quietly and silently daydreaming of my backpacking days soon to come.  The time came for me to walk in and finally quit, my last day was Wednesday, August 22nd.  Today, I woke up with a new found sense of freedom that I really have never felt before.  I've come to quickly realize though there is a fine line to being free and being the lazy ass person who lays in bed/sits on their couch all day watching dumb tv reruns.  This is it.  My life is in my own hands now.  If I don't go out and make something happen.  It won't, simple as that.

The best part about all this besides the above?  I am happy.  Finally.  I can do whatever I want and steer my life however I want.  Funny thing is, is we all have that same power..some just refuse to find it. 

I have been looking forward to writing this blog since March.  Since that pivotal moment in mind when all things changed for me.  The main reason why I've been looking forward to it is because I want to tell you to please please don't let your life just pass you by.  Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from your passions and dreams.  I have never in all my days had this much uncertainty surrounding my life.  I'm not as nervous as some would think, in fact I'm relishing in it.  I thrive on change and sponaneity.  I am excited albeit slightly scared.

I hope to post a blog in the near future where I can speak from experience and knowledge on this idea of living my life outside the realm of normalcy.  For now, speculation will have to do.

And so, my adventure begins.