For the Love of Travel

by Queen Bee on 12/22/2012

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Years ago before workaholism hijacked my life, I used to love to travel. In my early twenties, I didn’t travel much and I didn’t travel very far, but I always had dreams of traveling more. I used to love the thrill of planning a trip for months, the excitement of reading all about a place that I would be visiting and intricately planning a daily itinerary. Oh, how I loved to travel! And then the workaholic bug bit me and my adventures in travel came to an end.

I first started as a shy and insecure traveler who was afraid to travel alone. On my first trip out of the country, I went to Costa Rica with a friend to study in a Spanish school for a month, and I let her plan everything and she made all of the decisions for us. I was afraid to leave the small town where I was staying and never went anywhere alone. In fact, I was even afraid to walk the mile to school alone every morning. As a young female traveler, I never traveled alone.

A few years later I returned to Costa Rica with the same friend and also a renewed sense of confidence. I ventured out of town alone. I used public transportation on my own. I felt confident and capable to travel alone as a woman. During my second trip to Costa Rica, I planned a solo trip to Nicaragua and it was there that I learned that it was empowering to travel alone as a woman.

Years passed and I traveled alone to Mexico repeatedly, an independent woman on a mission. I zipped around on the subway in Mexico City. I climbed up pyramids in Oaxaca and Michoacan. I traveled to remote villages to buy masks and artwork from well-known Mexican artists. I rode in the back of trucks and buses with animals to find and explore archeological sites that were off the beaten path. All along the way, my confidence grew and I learned how to depend on myself and my instincts. And I learned to love being alone with my own thoughts and feelings. I met and fell in love with myself while traveling.

Unfortunately I woke up one day with different priorities and decided to put work first. For years I worked without taking vacations or any time off. I worked my ass off until I finally burned myself out so much that I couldn’t even think straight enough to want to travel. Even the thought of travel, of packing, of picking a location, seemed completely overwhelming. And then suddenly I hit 35 and became scared again to travel alone.

It’s been over a year that I have been battling burnout. Six months ago, I declared a year of fun from June 2012 to June 2013 so that I could try to focus on fun and fulfilling activities that would take my mind off of work and burnout. In August I traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but I traveled with my boyfriend and friends and we rarely ventured from the resort. I came back feeling unfulfilled and wanting more. My old off-the-beaten-path self would never have visited a resort!

Last week I woke up with an itch to try solo travel once again and I have decided to go on an adventure to Chiapas, Mexico. For five days straight I have been plotting and planning my adventures on Mexican buses, through Mexican rainforest and all around Mayan ruins. I have hardly even thought about work, or holiday stress, or anything else for that matter. I am excited and fulfilled.

Of course the first thing that comes out of everyone’s mouth about Chiapas is: Is is safe? Surely we all hear all the horror stories about Mexico and the Zapatista uprising there that happened almost 20 years ago. But I’ve heard all of the horror stories about Mexico City as well and I’ve managed to travel there and back on multiple occasions without a problem. Hell, I probably have more of a chance of getting robbed and killed in Los Angeles. So I am tucking my fear and paranoia into the back of my head and focusing on all the adventure and amazing experiences that I know I am going to have on my trip in a month.

I can’t even remember the last time that I had a real trip to Mexico outside of the resort that I visited in Cabo San Lucas. This week I have started to feel alive again and am feeling the remnants of my old self, that self that used to be independent and fearless. I can’t wait to reconnect with ME!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

holly December 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm

how exciting…..i wish i had the guts to go with you….i will probably go back and study at baden powell again some day ….or maybe go to the places you go by getting a guide or something….

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