As I reflect on what has brought me to this point in my life where I would be willing to change my whole path by embarking on this 6 month sabbatical and travel the world, I realize that it was never just one moment, one person or one phrase that got me here but rather a combination of it all.
I can think of many examples but I wanted to share the most important ones for me.
My Parents: I’m sure they probably kick themselves in the butt now but even if they knew back then that their actions would result in the free spirit that I am today, I highly doubt they would change anything. Our family doesn’t come from money so I’m not here to tell you that I have a trust fund from mami and papi for this trip. What my parents did give me was far more priceless and it was learning to use the money that I have on those things that are important to me. For my parents, this came in the form of travel and education. With regards to travel, every year my parents made it a point to take my sisters and I on vacation. Whether it as a road trip, camping or flying to spend time with family, we knew we would have at least one big vacation. What my sisters and I didn’t know was that each year my dad would empty out his savings and 401K just to ensure we went on vacation. My parents knew that creating memories was far more valuable then any monetary amount in a bank and they were willing to make this sacrifice for it. It’s no surprise now why I’m willing to tap into my savings and have a travel pot for trips.
Teco Teco: May 2017 marks 7 years since I lost my Grandmother from cancer and coincidentally marks the beginning of my travel story. Blessed, cannot begin to describe how I felt to be able to book a last minute flight to Guatemala to spend some of her final days with her. My Teco Teco read to me from her latest book selection, shared meals and old pictures but what still brings tears were her words. My own Grama, an unofficial feminist was preaching girl power. She couldn’t stress enough during those days that just like her, I too needed to be a reflection of what being independent meant. There was a big world out there and just like her, I needed to see it for myself without a man. Grama unconsciously hit very close to home. At the time, I was in a controlling relationship, which had me settling into a life that made my partner happy but caged me. I won’t get into the details of what I had to deal with from my then boyfriend, who was back state side during the days that I was with my grandmother. What I can say is that when I landed in Chicago and as he drove me home with tears in my eyes because I knew that was the last time I would ever see my Teco Teco, I ended the relationship. 2 weeks later, I found myself in Miami, the following month, I made my way to NYC and 29 countries later, here I am. To this day, I know my Teco Teco has been working in my favor from above and was the one who set me free.
Soul Cycle: How does a spin class motivate you to leave on a 6 month world trip one asks? If you haven’t experienced Soul Cycl,e then you may not think it’s possible. I started attending classes in 2016 and maybe the timing was right, maybe the music gave me new life, maybe the dark studio brought out an inner fire in me, but what I do know, is that one of the instructors always ended their class by saying, “Don’t be too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” That simple phrase spoke to me as a reminder that I was falling into this trap. As I looked at my “life”, what did I have to show? Only my “living.” Even today, after I made this journey, this instructor’s class reassures me that if I can make it through a 45 minute workout leaving sweaty, out of breath but with a fighting spirit, I can “make a life”.
Whether it’s travel, work, family etc. consider what is helping you pull this trigger and use it to get you where you SHOULD be.