I'm Elizabeth Bandy and for seven years I had one massive, unshakeable dream: to climb, trek, and volunteer on a solo, open trip around the world.
And on January 7, 2015, after a lot of saving, encouragement, and second-hand...well, everything, I finally boarded a plane to Bangkok on a one-way ticket.
There were times on my trip when I questioned that dream, like when I couldn't stop throwing up in Thailand, or when I was pinned under a kayak in a tunnel in Vietnam, or all the times I had bed bugs, rashes, infections, heat stroke, lice, giardia, altitude sickness, and climbing injuries.
But then I thought about the time when a kind Nepalese woman invited me into her home, her generosity moving me to tears, and I swore I would forever pay that forward. Or the time I missed my bus in Slovakia and this sweet couple noticed, and brought me a cup of tea while I waited. And all those nights spent on a boat in Vietnam, when we would jump off the boat and swim in the bioluminescent plankton, and I thought we had to be the luckiest people in the world. Each moment filling me back up, righting my perspective, and giving me a little more fuel to keep going.
I learned a lot that year, but after all of it, the one thing that still sticks with me is that this world is full of the kindest, most playful and generous people. For all the directions that turned into accompanying me to my bus stop, the email introductions that turned into dinner and a spare couch, the seemingly random conversations that turned into wild adventures and lifelong friendships - I'm so, so grateful.
Check some stories below or click here to read my entire blog.