It’s my blogiversary! So Many Places is 1 today.
As far back as I can remember, I have dreamed of traveling. As a little girl I explored the forests and neighborhoods around my home in suburban Ohio. As a teenager I packed up my car and drove as far as I could in a weekend: Chicago, South Carolina, Florida. After college I moved west across the country, where the mountain peaks and jagged coastlines inspired a whole new level of wanderlust in me. I hadn’t known the world could be so beautiful.
As soon as I could I began to vacation internationally. I went to Costa Rica, then France, then Italy. I went to Mexico and Canada and Puerto Rico. Each time I saw a new place with my own eyes my realm of possibility grew until, at some point, seeing the world felt like more than just an impossible dream. But I knew that no two week vacation would ever allow me to experience the world in the way that I wanted to. I knew I would never be content until I traveled without a deadline of having to go home again.
By the time I started this blog I had been considering long-term travel for over two years. Two years just thinking about the possibility of it, worrying about it, rolling all of the scenarios around in my mind. Like all things that are big and terrifying the idea seemed, at first, to be utterly impossible. It was too dangerous, too irresponsible.
Paulo Coehlo wrote: You’ve been asleep a long time. It’s only natural that you’d wake up slowly. Over time I did wake up and began to find, sprinkled over the Internet, other people who had felt the way I felt and had gone for it anyway. They’d left it all behind and set out to explore the world. Many of them were still exploring the world, slowly and deliberately and without a timeline. And throughout their stories I saw a common thread: they did not regret living life that way.
A year ago this December I sent my first words out into the universe. By the time I hit publish on my first blog post I had decided without a doubt that I was going to travel as long as I could. I didn’t know how I was going to do it or what I would do with my current life, but I had committed myself to following my dream and knew I would get there somehow.
This blog changed my life. That sounds dramatic, but it did. Because through this blog I began to understand my own thoughts and fears. Through this blog I told my story. I wrote about what I desperately wanted to do and then, to my delighted surprise, some of you responded do it. Some of you said, I want to do it too. And others said, I’m doing it. It’s possible. This blog has connected me to your lives and through it I have come to have a greater understanding of the possibility of my own life.
When I started this blog the idea of giving up all of my material possessions and traveling the world seemed bat-shit crazy. Today it seems like something that everyone does. I laugh to write that, but it’s an example of my shift in perspective. Chris Guillebeau likens it to finding your own small army. My army has shown me what is possible.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed that today I write emails to people all over the world. I have drinks with big dreamers and dinner with world travelers. And I have built real friendships with people who read this blog and whose blogs I read. People from every state in my country and in 141 countries throughout the world read these pages, and in that way alone I feel more connected to the world than I ever have before.
My traveling won’t officially begin until June 1, 2012. But my journey began when I started writing here at So Many Places. I whispered out into the world, tentatively, I want to do this, but can I really do this? and all of you, sitting in your lofts and flats and huts and hostels and homes turned to me and said YES.
It has been such a pleasure sharing this road with you.