2022: Lost on Purpose

A normal person when they are planning for a trip has a strategy. They research their destination, look up transportation, the currency conversion, find some fun neighborhoods to explore and some points of interest to see. Obviously they have booked the place to sleep. 2022 was not like this for me.

Regularly I found myself not knowing where I would sleep that night or the next day. With this came a rush of opportunities. I could change city or country at any moment. I felt like a day trader with the amount of friends I was communicating with to schedule trips. Since everyone knew I was a woman with a backpack I received invites from my generous friends and family all over the world. I felt the love for real.

There is such a difference visiting a city and staying with someone from there. In Florida, I would follow my parents around like a teenager again. In New Jersey, I’d stay with my sister and go kayaking on the Hudson River. In Denver, I went to Red Rock shows and hosted homemade pizza nights. In North Carolina, I wore a wig and danced with my American friends I met in Australia. All of us not ready to forget our time in that beautiful place. In Pennsylvania, I went on bar crawls, went to work out classes, and discovered street art. Also there I helped paint my brother’s apartment, celebrated my birthday, and moved him to Virginia. In Virginia, I would stay in Reston, play with my friend’s babies and eat at the hibachi restaurants I went to before prom back in high school. In New York, I’d go to yoga in downtown Brooklyn, eat at Ethiopia restaurants, and couch surf. The travel in and around America was crazier because I normally had a friend somewhere who had an open bed. I’d travel there for a week before scheduling the next destination. This is the benefit of couch surfing when you are in your 30s, not 20s. There’s normally a bed and a room waiting for you somewhere, unless its NYC.

Why would you live like this? Only one bag? Only 4 pairs of shoes? I know these are all valid. I wanted the flexibility to leave at any moment. Minimalism is key for when you are taking subways in New York or Berlin. Lugging a suitcase up the stairs while running for a train or walking down a quiet street isn’t it. It is easier to catch the train in Denmark with a backpack on your back and front. There is a reason the 18 year old Europeans travel this way. Its faster and easier to get around.

Coming back from Australia in September 2021 I was not ready to loose the adventurous explorer spirit I had cultivated for 3 years. When the end of year approached I told myself, you had to leave Australia but that doesn’t mean you have to stop exploring. I promised in 2022 I’d spend 6 months of the year outside of the US. As I have said before, goals need to be quantitative and time sensitive.

I ended up in Mexico in January for NYE 2022 kicking off this goal. Separate story with its own chaos here. One month there then to New York for work. In March I returned to Mexico moving from the jungles of the Yucatan to the concrete jungles of CDMX. Quit trip back to New York for work, this will be a common theme, before I left for Aruba on a bachelorette trip. I hopped from there to Panama for a couple weeks before returning to Florida before more plane hopping between there and Dallas for my first live event since 2019. Naturally I was back in New York for a week before kicking off a 2 month European adventure. I finally became the backpacker I was trying to be all these past years.

First I went to England and visited my first ever roommate in Australia, Alessandra. Before I even recovered from jet lag I was off to Denmark to meet some of my American Aussie mates. We traveled together to Latvia and Lithuania for my friend Austeja’s wedding. May became June and I was back in England but without my bags. The summer revenge travel raged through Europe and 4 days later only because of the intensity of my friend Heather, was my bag even retrieved from Heathrow. I crashed the UK office offsite as the only American. This global company was going to take me abroad if I had to force them to. Me putting myself in this meeting was step one.

From there to Spain, for 2 weeks before taking a train up to France. I landed in Paris for the summer fete de la musica. The weekend of the summer solstice where live music took over every corner of the city and people danced in the street until sunrise. My couch surfing continued to Germany where another Australian met friend Lais, hosted me for a week. July kicked off in Italy where I spent most of the month traveling down the west side of the country by train. The whole trip ended in Portugal before I returned to New York.

In August and September I flew myself around the country from east to west staying with friends and family. In October I returned to Mexico because at this point I was obsessed. Out of the 15 countries I visited Mexico wins the country of the year award. Visit immediately. I was in and out of American in 2 weeks for work in Miami and a wedding in New York before I said goodbye to the cold 40 degree weather and hello to South America. November became December and 6 weeks flew in Chile. I flew over to Brazil to end the year and celebrate the holidays. It is from here in the sunny beach state of Bahia that I write this.

2022 reminded me that a friend is always a phone call away, that I should appreciate the health and strength of my body more, and that the world is easier to access than you think. Take this as a reminder not to get stuck in that routine everyone loves so much. Break the pattern and get lost on purpose.

TLDR

15 countries toured, 45 flights taken, 10 American states visited

  1. Mexico
  2. Aruba
  3. Panama
  4. England
  5. Denmark
  6. Latvia
  7. Lithuania
  8. Spain
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Italy
  12. Portugal
  13. Chile
  14. Brazil
  15. USA

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