I am SO EXCITED to introduce you to Lauren, my first Travel Ninja on a trip around the world! I know you’ll be inspired by seeing how one woman with determination and a plan made travel a priority and is now seeing the world!
1. You are currently on a RTW trip, what made you decide to do that?
I have always wanted to travel and see the world. I just never seem satisfied staying in the same place for so long. Learning new things, experiencing new cultures, trying different foods, meeting people from all walks of life, and embarking on adventures has always brought me so much joy. I decided once I had saved up enough money, I would follow my passion to finally experience the world!!
2. What did you family say when you told them your plans?
My family has been very supportive with my travel plans. They all saw the dedication I had in the past year and were very excited that I am getting to live out my dream! I must say, I got a lot of… “don’t go there! It’s unsafe!” and “do you know what’s going on in the world?!” or “those people are crazy!” I appreciate their concern for my safety and well-being; however, I am not going to give up my dream and live in fear.
3. When did you decide to move and how soon after you decided did you get on your first flight?
I had been wanting to make the leap of faith for years, but I always seemed to make excuses of why I couldn’t travel…I have no money. I can’t leave my job. I have bills to pay. I have no one to go with me. The list goes on and on. It wasn’t until September of 2014 that I knew I had to make this happen.
My friend was heading to the Dominican Republic for vacation and extended an invite my way. I wanted to go more than anything, but again made excuses…I can’t get that time off work. I can’t afford that, I have bills to pay. After much consideration, I made it to the last stage of purchasing airfare online. I paced around my kitchen on the phone for 20 minutes as she reminded me, “this will be the best decision you ever make! You will have the time of your life!” After I heard those words, I knew she was right! I pressed confirm and would be in the Dominican Republic in just a few short weeks!
When we returned home after our 8 days of pure bliss, we couldn’t stop talking about where we would go next. After going back and forth over so many destinations, we decided on backpacking through Southeast Asia for 2 months. I decided that I would save up as much as I could so I had the freedom of staying after 2 months, or flying off to Europe, South America, Africa, or where ever my heart desired. At the first of the year (Jan 2015) I had set a goal, wrote it down, and had until November (11 months – Our flight date) to achieve it!!
4. How detailed are your plans or are you playing it by ear?
For our 2 months in Southeast Asia together, we created a rough outline of the route we would be taking. We booked a few things around festival dates (Lantern Festival & Full Moon Party), but mostly have been playing it by ear, adjusting when needed. After our 2 months together is over, I will be continuing solo. I have absolutely no plan. The world is literally my oyster! Spend time in the Philippines? Get a job at a hostel, farm, elephant sanctuary? Teach English? (I am TEFL Certified) Fly to another continent? Become an Au-pair?
5. If you don’t mind, how much money did you need to save up before moving? Are you working as you go or are you living off savings?
My goal was to save $1,000 a month, totaling $11,000 before I left. I ended up crushing my goals and saved almost $40,000!!! For now, I have been living off the savings I earned last year. I would love to work as I go! I kind of enjoy working (to some extent…) I enjoy meeting new people and feeling as though I have achieved something.
6. What country did you visit first and how long have you been traveling so far?
The first country I visited when I began this adventure was Thailand. I have been traveling for 2 months now. Still a newbie, but learning so much!!
7. How long are you planning on staying in each country?
When I continue on solo (in 2 weeks! AH) I have no idea how long I will be in any given country. I don’t even know what country I’ll be in! Haha I guess it all depends on if I get a job somewhere.
8. Now that you are into your journey are there things you wish you had known before you started?
I did a lot of research before I left, so I feel like I had a pretty good grip of things; however, you read things like “pack half of what you think you need” and think… yeah yeah whatever. I know I know. But you don’t REALLY know until you are in that moment lugging WAY to much crap from place to place… thinking back to that blog post like “they were right. I should’ve listened! I don’t need half this stuff”.
9. What has surprised you the most about your trip so far?
I am surprised that I haven’t met many Americans. We often find ourselves to be the only Americans on our buses and at our hostels.
10. What would you say to someone that wants to do this but they think it’s impossible?
I never thought in a million years that I would actually be where I am today. It was all about prioritizing! If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen! Question everything!… Is what I am doing/buying today getting me closer towards achieving my goal of travel?? And seriously…. If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!