2 week countdown until I travel around the world indefinitely
Two weeks ago I set my intention of traveling around the world like a hedonistic minimalist, on this post here. Two weeks later and the sheer excitement has naturally been replaced with utter mental chaos, a bit of anxiety, nervousness, and a hell of allot of adventure adrenaline. Why? Well, because if you haven't already gotten the memo, I'm not your average style blogger and I don't lead a double life. I literally woke up one day and said, "I've had enough! Something's gotta change..." and the rest is history. Ahh, not history yet obviously. But it will be. This is all to say that, NO, I did not win a NY lottery or get a marriage proposal from a Frenchman (though they're more than welcome!) nor did I get invited to fashion week from some big wig advertiser.
My decision to leave behind absolutely everything I know here in America to travel the world had absolutely nothing to do with my blog, so much as it had to do with my blog's readers. Between the thoughtful comments, messages, tweets, and private emails, I know there are still dozens upon dozens of you yearning for a more fulfilling life. And for whatever reason, we tend to choose comfort over adventure, Zara purchases over cultural experiences; bookmarking blog posts over living our own life. So as much as this is for me, it's also for you too, because I had an epiphany last week, and that little enlightenment was that my blog is going to be an inspirational tome for the rest of us. You know, the non-trust fund babies, the fashionable brown-skinned girls (as if we don't travel too!), the alternative minimalists, the rebels and the dreamers. Don't ask me why on Earth I waited this long to switch gears away from envying others to just doing the damn thing already. And that thing is called life. So with two weeks to go until a new chapter, here is how I am making it all happen, literally overnight:
I would be lying if I said I resoundingly woke up ready to travel the world. Like anything else worth changing in life, I ofcourse had a yearning growing inside of me to just CHANGE. Something. Anything. And the change came to me in the form of travel since I lack a true social life or connection to anyone here in America. As soon as I realized this, say, about a month or two ago, I started pacing my apartment, taking stock of how much crap I had accumulated in my lifetime here in NY. The truth shocked me. Since my last breakup, and since my last move, I did a pretty darn good job of avoiding conspicuous consumption (where I failed was not knowing how to dress though!) and the real obstacle course was two suitcases full of books and vintage clothes in the basement. The chore of prepping my mind to even consider venturing overseas started with bringing two heaping mounds of donations and sellable items upstairs to sort through. When the end goal is a chance to see the world, trust me, it's not such a chore after all.
- If you live in a metro or urban dwelling like I do, this is a much more enjoyable task. If, however, you are in a rural area or have afforded yourself a big old house, then I suggest taking cues from the likes of these blogs on how they downsized a full on adult life: Minima/Maxima, Becoming Minimalist, and The Minmalists as well as this insanely handy de-cluttering guide
- For a studio up to two bedroom apartment, start off simply like I did and just survey each room over the course of a several weekends. Since my ex owned most the items in our kitchen, I paid absolutely no attention to that room and went straight to the bathrooms and closets. I'm not a makeup junkie, just a skincare fanatic, so I chose ONE cosmetic bag and loaded it with my must-haves, keeping in mind the security check line at airports (nothing over 3 ounces ladies!) while tossing unopened goodies in a donation bag, and stocking almost finished items in the mirror cabinet to be emptied out by months' end. The closets were a bit tougher, and required that I try on everything to truly get myself to part with items I never wore, no longer fit, or just weren't my style but rather someone else's I so desperately tried to be. Once I found the pieces that would pack easily, hold up well, and looked chic enough for minimalist travel, the rest went into donation bags while the vintage and designer pieces went up on eBay.
- Ahhh the books. I still have two piles on my dresser and they are barely selling. For me books are harder to part with than clothes, but remain the most difficult things to travel with. I have one more week to see if there are any bidders, and if not, half will go to my grandmother and the other half donated. Such a shame, as they are all brand spankin new and were intended for a fantasy library I created for the future me.
- Don't even ask me about shoes. But yes, the Jeffrey Campbell's are up for sale. Any takers?
TIP: Stop making excuses for your subconscious! Seriously, the only one standing in your way is yourself. If one of your lame reasonings goes something along the lines of "how am I going to get rid of all this crap" then do exactly what I did which was call a volunteer pickup. See there, I've done the work for you and have selected Volunteers of America as the most reliable and stupidly easy donation pickups in the country. Pack the bags, call the number, and just do it!
This has been a tough one. As of August 2013 the devices in my possession included a Canon 20D full kit with lens, an iPod touch, a Macbook, an Android, a 3-in-1 printer, an Apple hard drive, and accessories like cords and earplugs. I wanted to reduce all that down to just two devices and almost no accessories. But as you can see, clearly I am an Apple fanatic and digital snob, so the best of the best is always top of mind for me.
I did a week's worth of research on cameras based on the decision that it was delusional to think I needed a dslr while traveling, and that surely point and shoot cameras were kicking butt these days. After reading this round up of best point and shoot cameras article and cross-referencing it like a maniac against reviews and other bloggers, I decided to spy on the waterproof Nikon Coolpix and most recently (as of today thanks to Wanderlust Project) the Canon Powershot. Will let you know how it goes!
As for the rest of it, well, like a true statistic of a person I settled on the iPad mini. I sold my 2006 laptop for $200 and used that to bid on a 4th generation brand new mini on eBay which I won for just $320. Pretty sweet deal. I had no expectations of my old bum laptop selling for that much, but everyone has a budget these days, and I can almost promise that whatever you have lying around collecting dust can find a home. With my ipad in tow, I'll have a way to do computing, chat with friends, and make phone calls or watch tv. That's good enough for me.
Hmmm, you're probably wondering two things right about now. Where does an impromptu traveler go and how do you even afford it? Well, I saved the best for last of course. While I do plan on making a whole post on how anyone can travel for just $100 a month, I will share my major little secret now: it's called work exchange people! Yes, just work in exchange for your room and board. Nothing new. Gap year students have done it for decades, volunteers have made it popular, and now sites like HelpX and Workaway are where you can find me on any given day just trolling for gigs. I let the work determine the destination, it's that simple! So for example, when I first got this wanderlust project underway, I shelled out a few bucks for an account and bookmarked all the places that sounded magical and too good to be true. Then I did research for visas and vaccinations and realized I couldn't afford to hit up Bali for some Eat, Pray, Love action just yet, but I could do Europe like a Grecian goddess. I got an offer in Greece but that fell through, and now I have a route planned through March of 2014 that includes Turkey, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Belgium, and of course Paris! All I wanted was to know that I had a place to sleep for 6 months out. Now that they are all confirmed, I booked my ticket for Portugal yesterday! No turning back now, and I could not be any more excited. Seriously, this was all it took. From quitting the job to making the decision, life plans are not that difficult unless you make it so...
Speaking of quitting jobs, I know now that most people fear instability and that is why you'll find a sea of dreams unfulfilled. Well, I tried the fancy glam life of a fashion editor and it aint all that it's cracked up to be. Too many fake personalities, as well as bodies, and I just don't want that life for myself anymore. I quit the fashion world long ago mentally, but now I officially checked out physically too. I also said see ya later to all my part-time jobs, and joined a freelancing site the last week of July. In just two weeks, with a killer resume edit and procrastination-driven portfolio, I have made in one month what I use to make on a Manhattan corporate salary. These freelancing sites even offer benefits. So what's the catch? There is none! I already told you, I am one of the most skeptical and pragmatic people and thought it would be a story of fairy tales to actually feel secure enough freelancing, blogging, and selling on eBay to just pick up and travel the world. Its not. Its real and its happening to me. If you want it to happen to you to, please take my word for it, just do it. Do one thing. I promise it will be okay.
Do you have wanderlust that you ignore because of fear, excuses, and planning? Tell me in the comments!