The Gap Year, Part One

(Written November 3, 2015 – I didn’t have much internet/computer access during my trip after this, so it’s posted quite a bit late!  Sorry!)

To give you a little background of my life, I am an American, born and raised in a small town in Connecticut that I desperately wanted to escape by the time I graduated high school.  I ran away to college at the University of Kentucky in 2011, and I travelled to 18 different countries in the fall of 2014, 14 of them with the help of Semester at Sea, the amazing study abroad program where you live and take classes on a cruise ship as it sails to different ports.  I (reluctantly) came back after that, took to traveling within the U.S. in the meantime, graduated from my university in May 2015 with a degree in Creative Advertising, and most recently moved to Boulder, Colorado in August to begin working at a startup doing User Experience Design.

I’ve had a pretty comfortable, happy life so far.  Most people are happy with doing just what I did and then settling down: Get a degree in four years, maybe study abroad in college, move to a new city afterwards, start your career, and then go on about the rest of your life chasing the American dream.  I was extremely lucky to be able to have done all that I did in college and still graduate on time and land a job in a ridiculously cool city afterwards.  But for me, my wanderlust was just taking off and I was getting restless again already.

Growing up, I was never the bold and brave type.  Generally, I’m a very quiet person, though it has never bothered me to move or visit a completely new place where I don’t know anybody.  I guess I’ve always had the travel bug deep down, daydreaming here and there about taking a year to go around the world or do a mission trip to a third world country, but always thinking it would happen in the far future.  When the bug finally came out last year, it came out full force and has not let up one bit.

Fast forward to now (November 3, 2015): I’m in Sydney, Australia in the middle of a two-month solo backpacking trip.  I just came from Thailand and Malaysia last week and am leaving in a few days for New Zealand to backpack there for six weeks.  It’s been quite a long road to get to this trip, but that whole story will be in my next post and can hopefully shed some enlightenment on those that are in the same wanderlust-confused position that I was in this past year.  Stay tuned.