Photo by Richy Ainsworth.
Here’s a little bit of background: I never set out to sell all my possessions and roam the world forever. For me, travel has been one individual experience at a time. It’s been slow, it’s involved working and living and setting up roots in the majority of the places I’ve been, and it’s neither my singular priority nor is it a temporary fling. It’s just the beautiful path that’s unfolded.
My intention when I first left for New Zealand in 2012 was to spend one year abroad. I wanted to make a foreign country my home rather than just passing through it. I left with the understanding that my real life was something I’d need to return to after a year’s hiatus. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there existed an entire population of wanderers who moved from country to country and job to job in a sustainable way. Four years later, I’m building The Out Roads as a platform for the idea that each of our lives are cultivated by a million different factors, and things get interesting when we begin to push the limits of what defines an ordinary existence. Whether you’ve seen a large portion of the world or you’ve never left home, so many people are already living by that nugget of truth. As it turns out, there was never a ‘real life’ path I needed to return to. I’ve been walking it all along.
Photo by Richy Ainsworth.
As the first post to my brand new blog, let me give you the lowdown on where I currently stand:
I’m writing this one week and one day before I board a plane in Philadelphia bound for Scotland. The fact that I can say those words out loud and realize their true is one GIANT relief. To sum up, my partner in adventuring, Richy, is Scottish, I’m American. We returned to our respective homes after a few years of traveling together in early 2015, and ever since have been on a hunt to find out what country will have us both. The UK was the only place that offered a legitimate visa option for our unique circumstances, and after two months of preparing our documents and a nerve racking four month wait, I was finally accepted two weeks ago.
The year has been a big lesson in patience. So many times I was frustrated by the fact that Richy and I were not able to move forward until the giant hurdle of finding a way to be together was crossed. Once we decided that Scotland would be our next adventure, we still spent the next six months searching for back up options in case I was denied a visa. Those other plans turned into a mountain of indecision and we changed our minds almost daily, questioning what the right step forward really was.
In the end, that time was worth it. So much has changed in the last year and what both of us want out of our next move has become clearer. Even though it was a messy waiting period, we were able to have some pretty great reunions in the US, Scotland, and Italy in the past year. I was able to spend a long chunk of time with my family and friends at home and also get to know his.
After several years of nonstop moving and putting every other priority on the back burner to travel, we were able to stop and think about what more we wanted. I’m definitely not done moving around, and we’ve got some pretty exciting ideas for the future, but it’s nice to know we’re now able to do so with a little more direction and stability. When our answer finally came, it felt like everything was actually unfolding in the best way it could have. It’s one more lesson travel (or waiting to travel) has taught me: you can’t and shouldn’t try to exact so much control over every step you take. In letting go, you free yourself enough to figure out what it is you really want.
Hiking Gunung Batur, Bali, Indonesia.
It’s been over four years since I left on that first trip. Since then I’ve worked my way through a huge chunk of New Zealand and Australia, have traveled through Southeast Asia, and spent a four month stint exploring Scotland. I’ll be playing catch up on this blog and plan to add in some past adventures with the new stuff as it fits. I have a lot of ideas for what I want this site to grow into, but for now, I’ll start with some of my stories. I hope you’ll follow along, and I look forward to connecting with you in this space.
See you all in BONNIE SCOTLAND!