And So It Begins…

Who knew that one person could accumulate so much stuff in one studio apartment !  And I’m the complete opposite of a hoarder-I love purging old things, and stuff I don’t use often.  I’m one of the cleanest, most organized people you’ll ever meet-just ask my friends.  But somehow whenever I pack up my apartment and move, I still can’t believe how much stuff I have. But I do have some brightness and pretty colors to look at since I’ve been looking at brown boxes and bare walls for too long.  I have a sweet spot for flowers.

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Well, the word is finally out, and just posting it on social media and making it public at work as well with friends and family, just makes it that much more real.  And scary!!  I did a great job of starting early as far as preparation, even though I annoyed the heck out of my friends.  But there is so much that goes into traveling abroad for a long period of time, as well as moving out of an apartment.  And I HATE moving-so that in and of itself is enough to make me go crazy.  Between learning about vaccines and travel clinics, visas, travel and medical insurance, flights, bus tickets, backpacks, sleep sacks, hostels, and bug spray, it’s enough to make someone like me rethink my decision for such an extreme trip, especially when I can’t make a decision on what to wear in the morning.  Yes-getting the right back pack is a big deal-the right size, the right price, all the compartments, front loading, side pockets on the belt strap..this is a real thing!  I went with the Mountaintop 65 Liter in Purple…and I’m very happy with my decision so far (hopefully it will live up to my expectations). Amazon became my best friend for all my trip needs-a little too good to me, if you know what I mean.

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However, I couldn’t let these decisions, stress, fear or doubt influence my decision.  I kept convincing myself it was worth it, made a ton of lists, and tried to tackle one thing at a time.  Doing it all while also packing up my apartment, scheduling the movers and storage, and did I mention-doing every last bit of it on my own.  I didn’t want help from anyone this time around.   This is the first time I’ve ever moved by myself or even planned a trip by myself (quite a big one too I might add), but I wanted to prove something to myself- that I was capable of doing this, and anything else I put my mind to.  In the past, I’ve been a settler.  I get comfortable and I settle.  I want things in my life to change, and this is the only way it’s going to happen.  Step by Step, I will do this …all on my own.  Even thought I just know my friends are DYING for me to throw a packing party 😉

I really do believe things happen in life at certain times for a reason.  I say it over and over, but this all came about as chance, and when I look back- it all happened at the right time.  Or maybe I just believe that.  Anyway…After saving enough money, and ready for a change, my cousin returned from a year and half abroad, (with a short stint back in the US), and has been a huge inspiration.

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Even though it was hard for my family to understand, I longed to do something as courageous as he did.  Let me tell you, telling my parents was hard enough, but I am still dreading the phone call I have to make to my grandparents explaining my decision.  When he returned to Ocean City, MD-his home for the summer, we spent a lot of time chatting, happy hours -you can’t beat 2 for one drinks at the beach front bar, Coconuts- filled with note taking and questions.  Seriously, we did this…pen, paper, vodka soda with 3 limes for me, and some random special concoction for him and his friend-that’s usually how he rolls.

img_6492He is a wealth of information and spares me no details or advice.  I was sick and tired of telling him I would do a trip, and then back out of it.  I also enjoyed getting to know his friend Nicole, who has been traveling for the last 2 years and gave me some much needed solo female traveling advice.  So thank you, Tyler (&Nicole)…and hopefully I’ll see you in Cambodia!  img_7667

img_7817So many friends along the way who have done a trip like this have helped me so much to guide me, push me, and give me the best advice on things I wouldn’t even think of. (Thank you KATIE!!!)

I’m so much enjoying my new role at work outside of sales, and have already started to feel like myself again.  I’ve been more social with my friends and meeting a lot of new people in random situations.  I hope I stay this positive and happy when I get there.  As Oct 31 is getting closer and closer each day I am getting a little more terrified.  But like I have been doing for the past 2 months-I keep looking forward and can’t even think about looking back.

I got back on Facebook, after being off for about 3+ years, for this trip, and was so surprised at how much support and positive feedback I received from announcing this next step in my life.  I have a love/hate relationship with social media, as I am sure most people do, but it is times like this where I am so surprised about how many people actually care.

It’s been a wild ride..but one step at a time.  Now if I could just figure out technology and this blogging thing, I would be set! 🙂

~Lauren

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