I never went on many travels as a child. Texas for family, California for more family, and Florida for the convenience. Junior year of high school, a club I belonged to was going to a conference in New York City over Thanksgiving break. I didnʼt want to go, Iʼm ashamed to admit it. I was scared. But my mom
scrounged up money for the trip anyways and told me that I would have the time of my life. And I did.
It opened up my world just enough for me to know I wanted more. I ached for the distance. And thatʼs what I got when I was uprooted from Atlanta, Georgia, to live in Boise, Idaho, my senior year of high school. I fell in love with Boise, a city that has snow-capped mountains and sand dunes, fixed gear bikes, a burgeoning art scene, and of course, the best fries Iʼve ever tasted. But what struck me most was the mindset of the people. My Idaho classmates were always daydreaming and discussing where theyʼd gallivant off to once they became adults. They were hungry for adventure. It was around this time I caught the disease. Wanderlust. It got worse every year. I fantasized about traveling constantly. Every upcoming semester in college was spent secretly debating between continuing on with school or moving to New Zealand to become a hot air balloon pilot.
Finally when I was nineteen and approaching my junior year in college, I became determined in my resolve. I was going to study abroad. I took the required language classes, worked like mad, and in March of 2010, I went on my first international flight to take classes at Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan. I had always wanted to go Japan as it appealed to my shameless love of anime and arcade games. My mind was blown over those next five months. Japan was beyond anything I couldʼve fathomed. Soaking in a natural hot spring at a rural town as the night exploded with stars. Dancing at a six-story club in Shibuya until the sun was high in the sky. Waking up to the majestic Mt. Fuji filling up my hotel window. Walking past the blooming sakura trees and the languid Kanda river on my way to class every day.
At this time, my mom left Idaho for her own adventure in China. Without her there, I didnʼt know how I could go back home, but eventually it was time. I took up a job managing a hostel, dutifully completed my degree, vowing that as soon as I graduated, I would go and see the world. And one week after I graduated in May 2012, I took off by myself with a one-way ticket to Amsterdam and a vague idea
of what I was doing.
Four months later, I weaved my way around Europe and Asia– a whirlwind trip through eleven countries. I came out of it with countless new friends and my mind bursting with memories of what I saw, ate, and experienced. Walking through bustling cities and cozy towns, getting purposefully lost on winding roads, in hidden passageways, through undulating green hills and vast blue seas, cold rains and warm breezes. It all made me come alive.
Finally it was time to go home, but after a scant three days, it was off to Bangkok. I said goodbye to Boise and started a new life in Thailand with only the items in my backpack. A chance e-mail to well-known travel blogger Johnny Ward garnered me a job as a writer and admin for several of his sites. A meeting at a hotel bar turned into the opportunity to work with a private investigator. Life in Thailand was challenging for me, but finally it was beginning to feel like home.
Seven months after relocating there, everything unraveled and it was back to Boise. This was 2013. I had $20 in my bank account, a maxed out credit card, and only sundresses in my suitcase. Through the incredible help and generosity of my friends I was given money, a coat, and a place to stay. Over the next couple of months I scoured the Internet for work, and in what I can only describe as divine intervention, I stumbled upon the perfect job working as a graphic designer for a Fortune 100 tech company. And the best part of all? It was remote.
Over the next year, I worked my way up the company, becoming a project manager. I made my way to Japan and China over the New Year. When I returned, the longing to live abroad again grew stronger.
In May 2014, I was lying in a hammock at a party, lost in my thoughts. It was time for a change. Absentmindedly, I looked on Craigslist at vacation rentals abroad, something I occasionally did for daydreaming purposes. I saw a summer rental in Tokyo listed at the same price as my home in Idaho. Suddenly, an idea was born: what if I lived in a new city every month, traveling and working?
I had no idea how I'd make it happen, but I soon became obsessed with the notion. I spent sleepless nights earmarking flats on Airbnb. I gave myself a target date of March 2015.
Things started falling into place. A ticket to India in March was glitch priced unreasonably low. I began talking to my boss about working abroad for a longer stint. Fortuitously, an opportunity opened up for me to temporarily fill in as the lead project manager in the Asia Pacific region. I jumped on it and in less than a month, I was off.
The next four months were a dream come true. Playing in the color clouds during Holi on the hectic streets of New Delhi. Battling with police officers, armed with water guns, during Songkran in Bangkok. Spending the night in a castle in the English countryside with members of Nomadness Travel Tribe, looking and being treated like royalty. Being moved to tears by the spiritually infused architecture in Italy. Staring in complete awe at the Hong Kong skyline at Victoria Peak. Drinking soju and dancing alongside locals to popular K-Pop songs on the playground in Seoul.
When my temporary transfer was over and it was time to go back to the U.S., I took the terrifying step and submitted my resignation. After tasting the nomadic lifestyle, things could and would never be the same for me.
As sort of a symbolic kickoff, I took a road trip around Iceland, taking in the unparalleled natural beauty as we traversed volcanoes and glacial lagoons. Upon my return, I got to work out of my dad’s apartment in Atlanta, bringing Courting Adventure to life. In September, I left for China to stay with my mom, as I prepare to set up an official home base in Asia.
As of October 2015, this is where I’m at. And this is Courting Adventure— a place where I will candidly talk about traveling, sharing stories about where Iʼve been, where I will go, and how others can join me.
Ever since that first trip to New York City, my inspiration for travel has never ceased. Stories from people in passing, photos of places I never knew existed, and thoughts of Tokyo in Spring. They are the fuel that sustains my wanderlust, and now in part, my whole being.
Yeah, I could do this for the rest of my life.