Probing The Proverbial Oyster

A Scripted Freelance Writer Writing Sample

My never-satiated travel itch all started when I had a bit of a freak out about turning 30. Ah yes, 30… that third-life crisis. Otherwise known as "the dirty 30″…or, the BIG 3-0. It was looming, and it was looming fast. I was dreading hitting that milestone… I was not on the same page as all of my friends who were all off getting married, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had never really traveled much outside of North America. Growing up, my Dad took us on a lot of road trips… which are some of my most treasured memories. We drove to Florida, we drove to California, we went to Vegas, we drove to South Carolina and camped on the beach. We even drove across the San Diego border and had a blast in Tijuana. Some great times! But now, I was ready for something a little more life-changing. I needed to see other parts of the world and have one of those "find myself" experiences. I'd been dreaming of Europe for as long as I can remember. One night, while researching places to go, I had a bit of a meltdown. That "Oh my God, I'm turning 30 and what have I done with my life?" meltdown. After an evening of self-pity and self-drowning in a few glasses of wine… I stumbled upon an organized tours travel company, found a tour I thought appealing, and didn't think twice before clicking "BOOK NOW." Could I get the time off work? I didn't care… I'd worry about that tomorrow. (Thankfully, my co-worker who agreed to take all my shifts, was more excited about my spur-of-the-moment trip than I was.) All that mattered was that I knew the time was now. Nothing holding me back. I only hoped that when I woke up a bit more clear-minded in the morning I'd still think so. And I did. I probably wouldn't have had the courage to do it otherwise…so thank you bottle of wine, for encouraging me to make the best decision of my life. See the world. Forget all about that "at this age you should be…" Forget it, none of that mattered. I was doing this. I never felt more nerves and excitement than I did the night before my trip. While I couldn't relate to the marriages/weddings going on in my friends' lives… I COULD relate to the feelings of the night before the big day. I felt unsure… but… SURE. If that makes sense. I didn't know what I was in for but I was excited for it. I remember feeling pretty emotional… sitting on my balcony enjoying one more glass of wine on a humid summer night, imagining that the next time I'd be doing that I'd be somewhere on a cobble-stoned side street in Italy. I shed some tears. Not because I was scared, but because I couldn't believe that I was finally going to do this. And that I did. I embarked on a solo, turning 30, third-life-crisis-inspired journey across the pond. I did a whirlwind tour of 8 countries in 15 days… and it was honestly the best thing I ever could have done. The jokes of "going to find yourself" actually became a reality. I wouldn't say I found myself… still working on that.. haha… but I did discover a lot of things on that trip that I never would have otherwise. I hold that time precious. I met lifelong friends, experienced things I never knew existed, saw things others can unfortunately only dream of. I saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace in London, visited Anne Frank's old home in Amsterdam, had an eye-opening tour of a concentration camp in Germany and partied at the beer halls. I drove through the beautiful mountains of Austria and Switzerland, took a gondola ride down the canal in Venice and got emotional in the Colosseum in Rome. I saw the Mona Lisa, rode a bike around Paris on the most perfect day, and had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower at sunset. It truly was an amazing trip. A nomad was born. I will forever have that desire to just GO. And I do go. I've made it an annual tradition to visit a couple new countries every summer. I've been back to Europe a few times to visit Scotland, Greece, Croatia. I've ventured to Thailand to see the temples and white sand beaches, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and held a koala in Australia. I've seen more things than I ever imagined I could and have never felt more inspired and care-free than I do when I am traveling. Something just changes in me the second I am somewhere other than home. To me, there is no better feeling than being a stranger in a foreign place. My most recent "find myself" journey took me to Africa last August. I could never put into proper words what that trip did for my soul. It's true what they say, Africa changes you. I have tried not to visit any place twice, but Africa is the exception. I long to return. I want to drive dune buggies across the sands of Namibia, visit and do everything I can for orphaned children in Ethiopia, and sit in peace and absolute awe with gorillas in the mountains of Uganda. If travel didn't cost a thing, I'd never come home. To me, there is no greater peace. "To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world." –Freya Stark

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