“What made you decide to travel?”
I’m asked a variation of this question almost every day by a variety of people—old friends, new friends, twitter friends…even complete strangers.
Usually I start answering with a roundabout recap of my life, explaining that everything back home was *amazing*: I loved my job, my apartment, my friends, my family, New York City…but no matter how right everything was, something always felt wrong.
From there I usually go on to drop the word inertia, which is one of my all-time favorite nouns describing “the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force,” OR in non dictionary.com terms: The process of how fast life can just snowball—go to college, graduate college, find a job, get an apartment.
Then all of a sudden you wake up and you’re 28 and you’ve created a life that is, by everyone else’s standards and expectations, great, but for one reason or another you stopped having your own standards and expectations somewhere along the way.
I was blindly going down a path that ended somewhere that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be…at least not yet.
Existential crisis meet quarter life crisis.
So I decided to take some time off and step back from everything in the form of a one way ticket to Mumbai. At the very least it would be a vacation and some time to start writing a book, which I’ve always wanted to do.
It took a long time to save up enough money (more on this later) but was even harder to quit a job that I absolutely loved. (Would I ever find something as good? What was I going to do without structure every day? Who was I if not the Associate Beauty & Fashion Editor of a magazine?) Not to mention leaving my friends and family. (Not be able to call my mom every day or have sleepovers with my sister or meet my dad and brother for Sunday night dinners??)
But I was ready for an adventure, to be inspired, to meet interesting people and to see the world SO I finally did it. And I’ve never once looked back.
I have no source of income, I sleep in bunk beds in 12 person dorm room hostels and I have taken my fair share of 24 hour train and bus rides. I’m also still not exactly sure where I’m going both literally (as in where will I be next week?) and figuratively (as in what am I doing in life?) but I am happy. Every single day is exciting and life feels fulfilling.
It’s been almost seven months on the road and I’m starting to see it all as less of a vacation or trip and more of an alternative lifestyle, one that I’ll continue living for as long as I keep waking up happy.