"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
It started off an unlikely and probably cliche dream: travel around the world with only a backpack. But I'm a stubborn idealist so I made a plan and started saving. And there were times on my trip when I felt like I was failing, times when I couldn't stop throwing up in Thailand, or when I almost drowned in a tunnel in Vietnam, or all the times I got bed bugs, lice, giardia, altitude sickness, or (I'm just gonna say it), I shit my pants in public again. But there were other times when I experienced generosity that moved me to tears and I swore I would pay it forward. Or when I was swimming in bioluminescence, or hiking in the Himalayas, or plugging gear in the Dolomites, I was overcome by how beautiful and special our planet is. And I would get a little more fuel to keep going.
And so that became my reality, using one-way tickets to climb, trek, and volunteer on a long, slow, open trip around the world.
This trip meant more than just an escape from my 9-5 in Minneapolis to see beautiful mountains and coastlines. Quitting my job, selling my stuff, and not knowing when I would return both excited and terrified me. But mostly it challenged me to grow into a more courageous person. By using one-way tickets and letting the trip write itself I was able to lean on the locals for everything from directions and advice, to couches and dinners, to travel partners and lifelong friendships. And that became the biggest lesson of my trip: traveling is nothing without community.
Check some stories below or click here to read my entire blog.