My name is Ashley and I blog at Writing To Reach You. When I asked for opportunities to guest blog, Ashley was the first person to offer me some space, and I knew immediately what I wanted to write about. You see, before I had ever met her, Ashley was this girl I knew from the internet who quit her job and took off to travel alone. I didn’t understand it at the time. I was in a financial situation where I didn’t have the freedom to do anything, so it was beyond me how anyone could afford to travel. It also didn’t appeal to me as an idea. I didn’t identify with whatever it was in Ashley that decided to go on this adventure.
But obviously I was intrigued because I was certainly paying attention even though Ashley and I weren’t really friends at the time. I remember when she disappeared from the internet for a while and I wondered how things were going over there. It wasn’t when she returned, but some time later that I was suddenly hit with the overwhelming desire to travel and what Ashley had done finally made sense to me.
At the time, I was climbing my way out of debt, so even though I wanted to travel, I had to put it off. This was convenient. It gave me some time to think about it. Once I had paid off my debt, I started taking trips to different places around the United States. The first was to San Francisco where I spent New Year’s Eve with Ashley and five other blog friends.
A year ago, I decided that I wanted to go to Germany and last Fall I declared that I would make it happen in 2012. The details, I told myself, I would figure out later, but I knew that I wanted to go alone. The biggest problem was money, and as the months passed, I kept taking small trips that made it hard to stop and save. Again, this was convenient, because the truth was that I was scared to travel outside of the country, especially by myself.
I really do not like the way that sounds. I like being alone–more than most people I know. I live alone. I don’t have any problems taking care of myself. I think it’s just the total unknown of going to Europe that makes me nervous. I’ve never traveled outside of the United States and Canada. I am confident in my own life where I know what to expect, but this is something completely new. And I like new, but I don’t take to it immediately. I worry that it won’t be as awesome or magical as I want it to be, and I will blame myself for that, because it takes me too long to get comfortable in a place and meet people.
Those are my fears, and they aren’t enough to stop me, but they have made me hesitate. Now, though, my convenient money excuse no longer stands, and I know that it’s time to go. I realize that everything that makes me nervous is also what excites me. I have no idea what to expect. I could end up crying into my beer. But that’s also really exciting. And it wouldn’t be the first time I cried over beer.
I’m going to read all that I can find. I’m going to talk to as many people as possible. And then I’m going to take off for the unknown. At the very least, it will be something to write about. At the most, I could become best friends with a bear and move into a castle and never come back to California. Obviously, I have my expectations in check.