Since my teen years I’ve been an avid traveler. From road trips to the Gulf and New Years Eve in Times Square, to cruises through the Caribbean and trips to Cancun. But when my brother called me up one afternoon and asked if I wanted to accompany him on a backpacking trip to Spain (an easy “yes!” from me), little did I know that the life I had been living was about to change forever.
I turned 23 in a little Spanish pub in Barcelona on St. Patty’s day weekend, surrounded by a language I had given up learning years before and immersed in a culture completely foreign to me. A drunken Spaniard clumsily placed a tall green hat upon my head, bought me a shot of absinthe and then disappeared into the crowded backdrop. I distinctly remember feeling very alive in that moment, amidst the music and broken English, as if something in me was waking up for the very first time.
Sure, it could have just been the absinthe, but there was no denying that the embers in me that had been smoldering for years were suddenly stoked into a flame I couldn’t ignore.
The Mediterranean Sea seemed so exotic to me and I was humbled by the beauty of the eastern mountain range that ran along it’s coastline. I peered, speechless, out of the window on a sleek steel train that carried me on a southern route cut between the two.
My heart was broken in a bull ring in Valencia as men smoked their cigars and children cheered.
My soul was soothed as I strolled through the courtyards of Seville, with it’s fragrant lemon and orange groves fermenting the air.
I breathed deep as I made my way through the maze of outdoor markets, street cafes and Flamenco dancers.
I knew then that traveling abroad was a part of who I was supposed to be.
I returned home somehow bigger than I once was, different and changed. Fitting back into my old life seemed impossible. It was very clear to me that I couldn’t go on living in the comfortable box I had known. I needed so much more.
Since then I’ve traveled to over 30 countries and I’m no where near stopping!
I’m here to tell you what’s great to have on hand for an unplanned rainy night on a park bench in Positano, to what unnecessary items you’re bound to leave on a mountain top while trekking El Camino de Santiago.
I’ll share with you how I managed a 6 month SE Asia backpacking trip with only 2600 dollars and had the absolute time of my life.
And if you stick around, I’ll do my best to cover everything in between! So get ready for some handy tips I’ve found to be trusted and true, and begin gearing up for your own next big adventure!
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May the thrill always be worth the risk!