As I am sitting here at the Munich airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Croatia, I have time to reflect on my last days in NYC. I am filled with a whirlwind of emotions that weren’t expected. My friends and family have shown undying love and support. Even though the weather was not in my favor on my last day in NYC (wet and dreary), I had the best send-off surrounded by friends from all walks of life ranging from girls I’ve known since 3rd grade to random strangers – turned friends – I met on the street. Yesterday there were lots of laughs, some dance moves, shots, sprinting through the rain, and ended in uncontrollable tears.
I did not realize how hard it would be to say goodbye. I’ve been excited for this trip for so long, but the reality just hit that when I gave hugs goodbye, I would not see these people in a year. One year. Whoa. I’m leaving friends and family I care deeply about and won’t see for …. one year. I cried myself to sleep, I cried the whole uber ride to the airport (which was slightly awkward since it was an uberPool), I cried walking through airport security, and I even cried when I first sat down on the plane. But literally, once the plane finally took off, the tears stopped and I could only smile. Hearing the plane engine race down the track and finally lifting into the air signified the official beginning of my trip and reminds me that I am getting ready to go on an adventure I’ve been dreaming about. I’m ready!
P.S – For those curious, here is everything I packed in my bag! The first picture is all my items laid out, and the second picture consolidates all the items into organized bags. (Yes, that is a hat with a beer bottle opener)
“Life isn’t just about having fun Kesi, there are more important things”
“That is so amazing! I’m envious, I wish I could join you”
“But what will you do when you come back? A year is a long time”
“Where will you be staying? Traveling around and sleeping on different couches sounds like a nightmare.”
These quotes are just a sample of responses when I tell my friends and family that I’m taking a year off to travel. So why am I leaving…
…a city I love (NYC is amazing!)
…my corporate job that I enjoy
…friends and family
to travel solo-around the world for a year? My answer is simple: Regret. If I don’t do this now, more than likely there would never be another opportunity. This is the perfect time to pick up and travel before I can think of excuses that hold me back. I am single, have no kids, and free to make my own decisions.
Wharton planted the travel bug
Ever since college, I’ve had this strong desire to explore and see the world. I never had the chance to take a semester abroad since I was a college athlete ( Track – I was speedy back in the day). I did participate in two 10 to 14 day excursions through a Wharton program, where I traveled with other students and visited businesses in Botswana, South Africa, and Brazil. One highlight was in Brazil when my Wharton colleagues and I went to the countryside to help build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Although I did not know any Portuguese, it was amazing how easy it was to connect with the local women, who did not know English, for whom we were building houses. The women and us shared many laughs and enjoyed each other’s company, while we worked away, even though we could not understand one another’s language. The moment we shared was special, and I yearned to travel more to again I connect and interact with different cultures. In the summer of 2012, after I graduated from college I traveled across SE Asia for 5 weeks with two of my good friends. When I came back home I still had a month before my job started in NYC, so I decided to book an impromptu solo trip to Europe and traveled for 3 weeks. At the end of the summer I had a new addiction.
Corporate Life – Only 2 weeks vacation?!
After my summer of travel, I started my finance job in NYC. For the next 2.5 years I was super happy living and working in the City. One of my biggest issues was figuring out how to spend my vacation time. I knew I wanted to travel somewhere abroad, but there are only so many places you can visit in two weeks. I could visit a new country once a year, but would this really fulfill my travel appetite? No,I need more time to see the world. Hence, I had only one decision to make. I needed to leave my job and take enough time off to explore.
Watch out world, here I come
So now the time has come. I leave in less than a week. I don’t have a complete game plan, but I do have several goals and highlights for my upcoming trip.
- Learn Spanish
- Volunteer on a farm in Australia
- Go skydiving in New Zealand
- Volunteer at a hospital in Ecuador
- Find random odd jobs – so far I will work at a hostel in Madrid, and work as a hostess for The Yacht Week in Croatia
- Participate in the largest water festival – Songkran – in Thailand.
- Most importantly – explore and meet new people
I’ll be updating my blog so you know what I’m up to 🙂 Cheers to the upcoming adventures!