If you read through my old Facebook posts, most of my statuses were about my urge to travel, which I developed early on. One of the saddest ones I found from teenage Megan reads “I really want to travel. I have the money and time, but no one to go with.” Other posts were basically pleas for someone to leave the country with me, they all went unanswered, however, because as I learned the hard way, that sense of wanderlust is not very common in high school students. Finally, when I was 20, I stumbled across several Groupon travel deals, and showed my best friend at the time (who also shared the same desire to see the world), and she showed her dad who excitedly agreed to take us. We decided on a two week trip to the island of cliffs; Ireland. We stayed in 3 different castles around the country and had a rental car to use at our own accord. With that little car, we drove around the entirety of the island, and successfully completing a list of 100 things to do in Ireland. While staying in castles was a spectacular part of the trip, the best aspects came out of the random roadside adventures.
One of the first days, she and I drove from Dublin to Athlone to Galway, and then from Galway to Connemara National park and met the most friendly wild horse that upon spotting us, came trotting over our way. I remember this exact moment, and how it was the first time I ever burst into tears from being consumed by happiness. After petting the horse for god knows how long, she and I kept on driving north, until we saw something I never thought I’d stumble upon in my life: a castle nestled on a mountain side; a castle we could walk up to. We immediately parked the car and ran around the lake so we could get a better view of the castle and explore the castle grounds. I felt like Link after he made it to Hyrule, in all honesty. Ireland was a dream come true; it was a fairy tale. Even though we were only there for 14 days, we did so much. From going to pubs to going to national parks. Museums to the Aran Islands. From a house party, to blowing out our tire (driving on the opposite side of the road that are narrow as all hell is hard okay?) The sheer amount of abandoned castles was by far what captivated me the most. We walked into ruins from 1100AD. Those stone walls truly stood the test of time (queue the Temple of Time and the Song of Time being played in the background), but it was leaving Ireland that really elevated my desire, no, my NEED to see the world. I needed to experience different cultures.
You see, going to Ireland confirmed what I had been thinking all along. Leaving the USA and really being immersed in another culture solidified my plan on moving out of America and starting my life as a new person in a land where no one knows my name. When I was little, I always said I wanted to move to another country. But I had no idea how to do that. So when I started college, I decided I was going to try to move to Auckland to work at the Auckland Zoo. Turns out, its not that easy, especially with their recent attempts to shrink their city population! Nothing is permanent though, so I focused my attention on other ways to go abroad. I never would have guessed I would have gone the teaching route!
Shortly after I arrived back home from Ireland I began obsessively searching for more travel deals for winter break. I had no real destination because I wanted to just go. My facebook posts evolved from hoping someone would go with me to wishing I wasn’t afraid to go alone. That all changed just a year later, when I backpacked Europe solo, and then immediately went to Korea after that.
So my international travel timeline looks like this:
May 2014; Cruise to Jamaica> Cozumel, Mexico> Cayman Islands
June 2014, Ireland
October 1, 2014; Rocky Point, Mexico
October 13, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
May 2015; Europe: Netherlands>Germany>Austria>Italy>Switzerland>France>England
July 2015; Korea, N. & S.
December 2015; Thailand
March 2016; Costa Rica
April 2016; Hong Kong
May 2016; Prague, CZ
Next stop: Moving to Korea in August.
All of my travels in 2015 and 2016 were solo, and the freedom to just go is the best feeling of all. It is the knowledge that at any point of time I can simply book a flight and just go.
Traveling is an expensive hobby, but it takes a special type of person to be able to just throw all caution to the wind and leave. During my extensive traveling in the past two years, I have learned that time is a man made concept and it does not exist. When I had no time constraints or time limits, I felt more free than I’ve ever felt in my
life. I will write about those revelations when I write about Hong Kong; the most important trip I ever could have taken. But truthfully, going solo puts you in your place and makes you realize how small you are to the world, and how unimportant your ‘problems’ are. We are all just individuals going about these 28,000 days of life in our own way. My main point of this blog is to say that whether you have a travel bug, or an itch to do something against societal norms, JUST DO IT. Yes, traveling is expensive, yes going alone is scary, yes you do have to learn to let go of your safe rituals and enjoy your own company, yes you will get lonely, but yes you’ll experience so much more than you ever will staying in one place. I was not meant to sit at an office for 9 hours a day everyday for years. No no no. I cant and I wont. Which is why I am incredibly happy I decided to just travel alone. If I had to wait for anyone to come with me, I would never leave. I’m so happy I realized this before it was too late and I was already stuck in a routine.
I want to end this with a quote I found all too fitting for my lifestyle.
“For the born traveler, traveling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding time, money, energy, and the sacrifice of comfort.”
I have the most relentless travel bug, but I couldn’t be happier.