I’m Laura, the traveler and writer behind this site. Although it’s surprising to me, paperwork says I’m currently 47 years old. I love telling stories, so I’ll start with my own. It’s a story of ups and downs and there’s no ending yet.
There are lots of people like me, maybe you’re one of them — one of those people that’s intensely curious about many things but never found that one career that I wanted to pursue above all others. This means my life resembles a tattered cornucopia overflowing with random jobs, experiences, and odd skills, and since I left a career in nursing at the age of 27, not a lot of money.
In my thirties, I learned to draw and developed skills as a chalkboard artist. Later, I started to create chalk pastel art for fun which is now shown and represented by Pearl Gallery in Portland, Oregon. So if you ask me what I do, I’ll tell you I’m an artist but the truth is, I have no idea.
It took an existential crisis at age 38, to push me into pursuing my dream of travel. At that time, everything seemed hopeless. I worked at a grocery store as a chalkboard artist. I had health problems and never felt well. I’d failed at marriage and was stinging from divorce. I kept myself well-lubricated with alcohol to avoid the loneliness, and while hanging out in bars, developed a pretty serious gambling problem, which led to serious debt and depression. Or maybe the depression came first. Who knows? In any case, I was a mess. The silver lining of that time was that somehow I kept my $12/hour job.
One day, in a depressive stupor, I thought of how I wanted to escape the life I’d created. I’d always wanted to see the world. I quickly turned to the internet with a ludicrous search: “how to travel for free” and instantly discovered the world of travel hacking which is a legal and clever way to earn frequent flyer miles and fly for nearly free. A tiny spark of hope flashed inside me for the first time in a long time. I decided then and there, from a bed, that I was going to travel around the world. There would be many steps ahead in order get from that bed to the freedom I desired.
It took five years for me to overcome my messy situation. One step at a time.
I took a job on a cruise ship in Hawaii to force myself out of the drinking rut. I got counseling for gambling. I found a doctor who finally addressed my health issues and depression. I took a second job and cut every expense that wasn’t crucial to my physical survival to pay off my debt. And I spent loads of time learning about and implementing travel hacking techniques. When I was done paying off my debt, I continued to scrimp to save money to travel. Travel became my number one priority.
Eventually, my debt was paid off (sending that final check was one of the happiest days of my life), I’d saved money and I’d acquired 2,000,000 frequent flyer miles. Against all sage advice, I took 50% of my money from a retirement account that I’d started as a nurse in my early twenties. Incidentally, I don’t regret that and never will. We get no guarantee about getting old enough to retire and travel. Being old and financially poor by American standards pales with the soul-poverty and regret of not following your dreams.
This blog is as much a storytelling blog as it is a travel blog. I want to share the world with you. I want to challenge my stereotypes and yours too. I want to be an example, living proof, that women can travel solo safely and really enjoy it. I want to show you, especially the miserable misfits out there, that there are alternatives to the standard American dream, and yes, for most westerners extended travel is possible if that’s your sole/soul desire. And finally, I want to offer travel advice, inspiration, and some entertainment, if even to just a few.
Consider me a resource for travel information. I will do my best to help. You can contact me here or through the social media links below.
Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoy what you’re reading, please join me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest and be sure to subscribe to get new posts in your inbox using that nifty subscribe box to the right.
I look forward to connecting, and safe travels wherever you are.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” — Helen Keller
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