Tag Archives: Traveling alone

The Mysterious “Round the World Ticket”

In 2008 I moved to Colorado. I will not admit that I moved for love. Some may say that I am kidding myself then. The truth is, when I graduated college I moved in with my mom in Chicago and it felt very anti-climatic. I was itching to travel or move and to do something interesting and spontaneous. Then in May of 2008, I met Byron on a

Colorado Living Westminster
When Jacqueline came to visit me in Colorado

graduation trip to Mexico, and he was from Longmont, Colorado. We were instantly drawn to each other. Always on the phone. Texting too. He visited me and I him. It felt like it was fate to see where that relationship might go, and I was still itching to find some new adventure. So I planned and saved and planned some more and moved to Colorado (about 25 miles from Longmont). My heart was broken a week later when we broke up and I was having an extremely rough time. He was my very first love and one of my best friends. It was a bad break up to say the least. I stayed in Colorado through 2011 with the help of his friends and family

First love
Byron and I with friends when he came to visit me in Chicago

(funny enough), and with the help of my mom who brought me home for a summer.

While living in Boulder in 2010, I was browsing around online travel sites to try and help in distracting from the sadness and a friend of mine from Chicago was talking to me on Facebook. He asked me if I had heard of gapyear.com. I hadn’t. This was where it all started. Gapyear.com was the starting point of my research. I went onto gapyear immediately and for the first time ever, I read about the famed “Round the World” Ticket. It was that moment, that I set my mind to go do it. I read all over gapyear.com. I went onto several other search engines. I browsed

Brisbane travel
Brisbane

around on airline sites for the “Multiple Cities” ticket. I finally checked STA Travel (which I was familiar with from studying abroad in Canterbury, England). I emailed and received a response from an extremely wonderful and helpful representative named Peter. He gave me advice and threw some rates at me. I used the information from Peter and compared other prices I found. I settled on what Peter had offered and I was able to purchase through them as I was on the “Youth Pass” (under 26).  I bought my ticket to San Diego/Sydney/Melbourne/Malaysia/Cairo/London in May of 2010 and left January 22, 2011.

Sydney Ferry Ride
Sydney, Australia Early in the morning on a Ferry

As for the “Round the World” ticket that people speak of with unlimited dates, times, and destinations, I have yet to fully find out all about it and any companies that sell them for a reasonable amount. Go ahead and type in “Round the World Ticket” into Google and see what comes up if you would like to start your

Malawi children
Teaching highfives to the Malawi kids

adventure. It does sound too good to be true, but I know it exists out there. As far as I know, gapyear.com, STA Travel, and some airlines have something similar to the idea of an “Round the World” Ticket. I will update you if I find out more of this golden magical ticket!

Rainy Afternoons in the Botanic Gardens

Do memories come back and hit you square in the face when you least expect it? It happens at the most inconvenient times for me. Here I am at my desk job, trying very hard to concentrate on accounting and invoices and such, and suddenly I am smiling in the memory of a day I had in Brisbane.

Botantic Garden Brisbane
Botanic Garden Brisbane

I think it may be quite clear at that this point that I enjoy traveling. Very much.  I love the adventure, the history, and the beauty behind the world. It is unfortunate that I do not have the time to travel for extended periods of time as much as I would like to. Long term traveling is a great way to allow yourself the adjustment period to relax and ease your mind away from your everyday way of thinking. Eventually you get to a point mentally and emotionally where you are just enjoying every minute without worrying about later. This is the place I was in while in Brisbane. I had a pretty stressful time in the town I was in prior

Iguana Pond in Gardens
Iguana Pond in Gardens

to Brisbane.  I was also disappointed because I had come all the way to Australia and wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef, and with my luck two massive cyclones hit the Northeast of Australia while I was there. So there I was unexpectedly in Brisbane, which is not a very large city. Australians would tell me it was the “countryman’s city.” Personally I really liked it. I started in Sydney (which reminded me a little of L.A.), then to Byron Bay (which was like getting stuck in a really beautiful college town), and finally was in Brisbane before going to Melbourne.

Some days I would just wander around the city without any place in mind. I would just head in one direction and see what I would find. On the particular day I am reminiscing in was the day I wandered by the Botanical Gardens. I am a sucker for gardens. Whenever I see a “Botanical Garden” I cannot help myself and enter. So there I was walking through just enjoying the day. I walked around as far as I could go. Strange enough, I was really

Bamboo Garden in Botanic Garden in Brisbane
Bamboo Garden in Botanic Garden in Brisbane

enjoying myself even though the garden was under a lot of construction, I was alone,  and it looked as if it were about to start storming. The peace and quiet and the idea that I had nowhere urgent to be or sightsee was calming. I was on my own time for my own sanity and was just…being there.

While sitting at my desk now, I remember lying on a wooden bench under a giant tree. I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors Philippa Gregory (which is funny because I seem to only be a reader while traveling) and enjoying the warm weather with a cool breeze. As I was reading, a droplet suddenly hit my page in my book and I as I looked up I saw that it was mildly raining. Not storming but raining. I hadn’t noticed it even starting until now because the giant tree had been protecting my perfect moment with my book. I laid there for a while just looking out into the park and at the rain coming down and smelled the heightening earthy garden smell in the humidity. There was no rush. I was not upset that I was stuck there without an umbrella. I was only concerned with the question of whether or not to get my book wet and keep reading. The only thing that drove me away from the Botanic Gardens that afternoon was my stomach as I was famished!

If there is any bit of travel knowledge I could bring to anyone, it would be that you should

Botanic Gardens Brisbane
Botanic Gardens Brisbane

always cherish the moments to yourself. Love every minute. I am a huge advocate of embracing tourism when appropriate, but remember to set aside a moment for you. My moments always seem to happen in a garden. We are all running around somewhere, to someone, from someone, or trying to take in as much as we can, but sometimes just lying in the rain watching the drops come down is exactly what is needed to embrace the moment.

Loving and Loving Alone

There is something really beautiful about being alone. Being perfectly content being on your own. No one to take care of or to take care of you. There are no feelings of worry or London aloneguilt or complexity. Nothing gets in the way between your thoughts and your (cliché warning) heart. You know exactly who you are and where you would like to be. There is no unknown of your fate. You need to have your hand in the things that happen in your life or else you are not running the show. Someone else is running your life. It’s very difficult to explain this to most people.

When I went on my Around the World trip, many people questioned my desire to travel alone. I have to admit one of my favorite books is “Eat. Pray. Love” and let me tell you why! Elizabeth Gilbert hits an extremely important idea. This idea of setting aside desires or even giving in to them,  really explores who you are. Can you do without sex? Without fattening, delicious, sinful foods? Without speaking? How far can you go with giving up the things that you think define you as a person? All of this can be explored while traveling because traveling forces you to find another way to get the things that you want most. Those things that “define” the person you are. While I am on my own and traveling I can find those elements in my life that really drive me as a person. I know what I like. I make my own decisions. There is no one there 046to worry about or guide. I am free to do as I please.

Somehow this is indescribably therapeutic for me. I think a lot about others. I care very deeply for my loved ones and for my close friends. So I am rarely making decisions based on my own wants or needs. When traveling alone, this is all I do. People are a very important part of my life. People who enter my life in a meaningful way know that I love them. I say it to them. I may say “I love you” a little too loosely, but I mean it whole heartedly. And it doesn’t mean I am “in love” with them. But even strangers that I have met on my travels will share a life altering event with me and even though I have only known them for a few short weeks, I feel compelled to tell them how much they mean to me. Old boyfriends (who I had been in love with) never fully exit my life, because there is always the civil and unspoken understanding that once upon a time “you meant the world to me.” Being able to breathe and take a step back from the intensity I feel towards all these people and to just be alone helps me to understand where I am, where I want to be, and what I want for myself.

While in Malaysia, I met this really amazing chick named Rebecca. When we met, it felt like we had known one another for way longer than a day. She was fun and adventurous and personable and really kind. The exact type of person that you would want with you on a trip to a strange land. Because of her I let myself splurge on my travel budget, and we got Chinese massages while in KL. I had a blast. Never thought that that was exactly what I needed but apparently it was. We hung out in Malaysia for 2 days total. The day I before I left for Singapore was the day that she left to see her brother play competitive hockey in RebeccaJapan. I went with her to the station and gave her a tight hug goodbye. It was March 10, 2011. The very next day was tsunami that hit all of Japan and tearing the Oceanside to bits. I immediately started to call and text and email and Facebook her. I didn’t know if she had landed or where she was. My heart sunk. I could not believe that this amazing person that I had just met and spent all this time with could suddenly be in disaster.  I didn’t hear from her for a couple days. She was fine, as well as her whole family. To this day I consider her a close friend. I wouldn’t have had the same experience that I did while in Malaysia and I would not have gained the same adventurous traits that I had.

I guess what I am trying to say in this backwards blog is that: Being alone is the best way for me to know myself, but being with others helps me to grow as a person and make the most of my experiences. I just need to find the balance.