Isle of Skye, Scotland
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"But I had only two months left on my lease and I thought to myself "is this TRULY where I want to be. Not just for another year on the lease, but in my life, am I doing something I love passionately enough to stay." And the answer was no"
Hi Shannon! Thank you for letting me chat with you about your travels today. : )
You’re most welcome! Looking forward to it :)
Reading over your blog, one of the posts that really jumped out at me was the post where you talk about why you started traveling when you were 24 in May of 2008 - can you tell me a bit about that moment?
Sure! I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and I had been there for nearly two years.
But I had only two months left on my lease and I thought to myself “is this TRULY where I want to be. Not just for another year on the lease, but in my life, am I doing something I love passionately enough to stay.”
And the answer was no - although I loved acting, I had always wanted to travel, I was miserable living with all of the traffic in LA.
I was in some debt from the expenses living in the city, and I already had an internet based job so I made a VERY snap decision after reading the Lost Girls blog to buy a one-way ticket and leave.
I bought the ticket the same week I had my breakdown/revelation.
What did your friends and family think?
My best friend out in LA egged me on, and then hugged me when I *freaked out* 20 minutes later that I had actually bought a one-way ticket!
My dad has always been very supportive, and although he had his reservations about my safety, and that sort of thing, he was on board the whole way.
I joke that he’s been my personal assistant as well, I am very fortunate that I am allowed to stay at home between travels, he collects my mail, and handles things when I do something stupid like lose my US debit card : )
lol - I’m sure the post ticket purchase freak out is very common. : )
Oh yes, I think especially if you do it spontaneously like that. A bit terrifying! I still had a whole apartment in LA, no plan, and hadn’t told a soul besides my friend about the plan when I booked it!
Very cool - your dad sounds really awesome.
He is wonderful. : )
Thinking back to the person you were in 2008 and who you are today, how has traveling changed you?
I have more time to listen to people. On the road I’ve learned everyone has a story, it’s unique to them, they have hardships, love, and losses. And that’s easy to say and easy to dismiss, but really think about that, and when I lived it on the road, meeting other people, it took me further out of my own bubble of self-obsession (which I think we all possess to an extent).
I was very busy with *my* career in LA, now even though I’m further away, in some ways I’m more connected with the people back home because I listen to them more.
Couple that with a LOT more patience and a complete belief in my ability to survive on my own wits, which I know because it’s been tested, and I am stronger and more confident now.
What advice would you give to folks who feel the same way as you did in 2008, who are saying “this is not my life”?
If you truly want change, you can live life however you choose. A hiker on the Appalachian trail is quoted as having said something along the lines of “All you need to know is it can be done.” He said this in reference to how he travels with nearly nothing, but it goes wider than that. I can’t tell you HOW to do it, but it can be done, I did, others have found a way to travel, or change their life in some meaningful way, and knowing it can be done is the battle. The fun part is figuring out how it’s going to work best for you!
Which place in the world could you see yourself living in for awhile?
Thailand. I was just living there this spring and I hope to head back there in the fall. Also, foreigners are allowed to buy land in Guatemala, and I’ve always thought that would be an amazingly lovely place to have a getaway house at some point!
Thailand comes up often as a place many travers would love to live. Why do you think that is?
The quality of life! You can live very well for a small sum of money, and yet you don’t have to trade any of the Western conveniences you enjoy. Thailand has US speed internet in many places, grocery stores, and a is *relatively* stable politically, so it’s a good bet. A lot of expats are my age, but also retirees head there too.
I did a Thailand Cost of Living breakdown that went viral a few months ago because people were amazed by the value and the lifestyle you can live there.
I’ve heard that folks in Thailand are incredibly welcoming and friendly.
Thailand bills itself as the “Land of a Thousand Smiles” and it really is true.
Favorite meal while traveling?
Favorite meals get a hat tip to India. I loved nearly every single meal I ate all seven weeks in the country. It was like an orgy of delicious foodiness and I salivate at the thought.
What kind of ingredients were in a typical meal you enjoyed in India?
curries with paneer are a win every time. I’m a sucker for palak paneer, which is finely ground spinach with paneer chunks served with deliciously warm garlic nann to scoop the goopy dish into your mouth.
Oh wow… : )
Sounds like it!
For my last question today…if you could tell the whole world one thing, what would you say?
Do what that you love, the thing that makes you smile to consider, your heart beat a little fast to think about. Do that and be happy.
It sounds like you’ve done exactly that. : )
Thank you so much for your time this morning!
Thank you too! Good luck with this new site, :) If there is ever anything I can do to help as well, let me know.