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When I booked a one-way ticket to Europe back in December 2013, I never knew this day would come. I didn’t think I’d still be here. In Europe. I had a 6-month visa for a 6-month gig in England and somehow turned that into an indefinite stay abroad through small gigs here and there teaching private English classes, playing semipro basketball, au pairing, freelance writing, photography gigs, hostel volunteering, and other random tasks that put food in my mouth and pennies in my pocket. Literally, pennies.
You might want my life, but you don’t want my wallet.
With the glamor of this lifestyle came sacrifices of luxuries I once thought of as necessities. In hindsight, I see a puzzle of pieces I strung together to make this journey work. Puzzles glued together with determination, stubbornness, and the will to do whatever it took to keep me afloat.
Despite what you know or might think, it hasn’t been easy and often times the puzzle pieces were water-damaged by my tears of confusion, frustration, and a lack of focus
stupid sangria, JK I LOVE YOU.
Just because my life looks like glitter balls of unicorn from the outside looking in (by the way, I’ll have 2 scoops of that if it ever becomes an ice-cream flavor,
HASHTAG ROYALTIES), it doesn’t mean it didn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Especially when it comes to social media, we’re experts in curating our lives. Myself included.
The cutest couple in the world could share every date and every “just because” gift they’ve given each other, but of course leave out the petty arguments and maybe even hidden affairs. Nobody broadcasts their dirty laundry on social media anymore… that’s what our high school days were for, after all.
We share the highlights of our lives because if we shared every struggle it can come off as a cheap invitation to a poorly-planned pity party. It’s also awkward for everyone because we can’t “like” your status, nor do we want 30 notifications of the same comments of forced condolences, and sometimes it makes us appear as if we’re not grateful for the blessings we already have.
Me complaining that I miss the taste of something as simple as peanut butter (GOD BLESS IT), a nonexistent and ancient artifact of Spain, might draw someone to comment that I should, “suck it up” or “be grateful for other options” etc. Because, The Internet.
So fast-forward back to December 2013, and as soon as I graduated college, I knew I wanted to get the hell out of America. Nothing personal, fellow Yanks, I’m just secretly running away from Sallie Mae. She can only partially ruin my life from abroad.
But literally, the day after Christmas I was ready to get back to a world that humbled, challenged, and excited me in ways no other place or experience did prior. Life abroad.
My 6-month gig happened to be at the same place I studied abroad as a student in the UK. Harlaxton College, the #1 Study Abroad Program in America. But after that ended, not many people knew that 5 days separated the day I decided to move to Barcelona and the day that I arrived. FIVE DAYS.
Now that it’s been a year and I’m ready to move on, I can say with confidence that Barcelona has been an unforgettable chapter and one that I can close the door on with no regrets. Okay, maybe the door won’t completely close since I’ve got a suitcase of winter clothes hanging at my former host family’s house, so I guess I’ll use that as a doorstop 🙂
I came here and did way more than I imagined. Playing basketball in a semi-pro league and averaging double-doubles, running my private English Academy, partnering with local businesses, learning a 2nd language, and flirting with a 3rd. This has been an incredible journey, but alas… it’s time to move on. Not that the grass is greener in other places, but maybe I just wanna play in the dirt a little.
So without further ado, I’d like to announce that you guys are looking at TINGGLY’S NEWEST BRAND AMBASSADOR!
I’ve always been a firm believer in investing in experiences rather than material things and Tinggly is a company that promotes exactly that!
So what is TINGGLY? The lost and deprived might ask, ha…
It’s a company that gives a series of travel experiences that you can buy as a gift for other people! Over 350 experiences to choose from in 80 countries around the world that can be used in a span of two years!
For birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, finding the perfect gift for someone can be hard when flowers, jewelry, and dinner at that overpriced restaurant gets mundane. So why not buy an experience? Something that won’t tarnish, get thrown away, or get old. The gift that keeps on giving through long-lasting memories, new friendships, and profile pictures for days!
So here’s the cool part; as an ambassador, I get to test out some of these experiences worldwide! And even getting to try out and suggest new ones on my travels if I feel it’d make a suitable listing!
Just so you get an idea of the variety, here are a few snapshots of just a handful of the 350 experiences you can choose to give!
BUT! There’s more! And if you secretly hate me,
I secretly hate you too but, here’s why you shouldn’t, at least not too much.
So because YOU guys are so amazing about sharing my articles, writing in lovely fan mail, and overall being the best supporters a gal could ask for, I want to reward a reader from anywhere in the world to join me on these experiences! These are each designed for 2 people and since I’m singler than a dolla bill,
George Washington is BAE doe, then why not invite you incredible people along with me?!
My next experience will take place in none other than IBIZA! Party Island of the world! But of course, I will be there for work — testing out a speedboat experience around the island. Taking one for the team here. Please keep me in your prayers.
I’ve got a lovely Polish gal to accompany me on this one and the next few weeks I’ll be on other assignments, passing through these other cities and countries and looking to give more blog readers the chance to do other experiences with me! Not only that, but I sift through dozens upon dozens of emails daily *moment of silence for my imploding inbox*, and quite frankly, there’s no type of communication quite like being face-to-face. So if you get chosen for an experience with me, then boom, there goes your email jetting past 800 others. So this will also be a great opportunity to ask me all your budding questions about budget travel, working abroad, and travel hacks!
So here’s my tentative itinerary for the next month:
10-12 July // Pamplona, Spain
13-14 July // Barcelona, Spain
14-16 July // Ibiza, Spain
17-19 July // Valencia, Spain
19-25 July // Barcelona, Spain
25-27 July // Paris, France
27-31 July // Amsterdam, Netherlands
1-3 August // Berlin, Germany
3-4 August // Prague, Czech Republic
4-6 August // Chesky Krumlow, Czech Republic
6-9 August // Vienna, Austria
9-11 August // Grunenau, Austria
11-13 August // Salzburg, Austria
13-? August // Munich, Germany
And be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already so your email address is locked in to stay updated on the next travel experience giveaway!
Very excited to be taking part in curating travel experiences as well as testing some out to offer others. And most importantly, meeting some of you lovely people while on the road!
Now as an even BIGGER announcement, I’m so happy, humbled, and excited to share that as of today, July 10th, and exactly a year and some days after my Barcelona 1-year anniversary, I will officially be a FULL-TIME TRAVEL BLOGGER AND FREELANCE WRITER! Yes, full-time! Which means I’ll be living on the road hopping countries for different travel assignments, which is just a fancy way to say I’ll be homeless and living out of a suitcase and pretending that doesn’t scare me to pieces. #Bum4Life
See? Homelessness actually
kinda REALLY looks good on me! 😉
Despite that, I’m looking forward to the freedom of not having a home base, and also the challenge of being self-managed. Being my own boss. Getting myself up every morning. Saying no to 5 beers and HELL YES to 4, because ENTREPRENEUR LIFE. But essentially, being the only thing getting in the way of my successes or the only one picking myself up from the failures. It’s so easy to let the glamour and glory of living your dream get to your head and then you get ‘laxed and plateau on your journey. But that is NOT to be expected from me.
Now more than ever, I’m so ready to take my writing and travel blogging to another level not only because it’s my only source of income
JK, MOM! I HAVE A SAVINGS ACCOUNT… KINDA, but because I want to prove to others that it’s possible.
Running the risk of going broke in a foreign country and perhaps not knowing where my next meal is going to come from isn’t something that I want to concern myself with, but I’m not too prideful to think I won’t ever face that reality. That’s part of the freelance life. And that’s why this lifestyle isn’t cut out for everyone.
Your life is a product of your thoughts and actions. If I consume my head with ‘what ifs’ of worst case scenarios, those will slowly start manifesting themselves in my life.
Instead, I choose to think of all the great people I will meet. All the opportunities that will continue to present themselves. All the stories I’ll get to share with “strangers”. And all the lives I can potentially change just by stepping outside of my increasingly-expanding comfort zone, jumping into an ocean of uncertainty, but filled with fishes of possibility. THAT is my focus.
I’m so grateful for my sponsors who are taking a chance with me and believe in my brand and work ethic to deliver on the content they want. I’m even more grateful for people like you, my lovely readers, who’ve helped build this platform.
Despite the naysayers, the haters, and the hug-deprived, you guys keep me going, and I seriously hope that I continue to provide content that helps you guys discover this beautiful world in the most efficient and cheapest way possible.
When it comes down to it, everybody wants to travel. And everybody absolutely deserves to. This world that we all share is just for this temporary life we’re given and the best thing you can give to yourself is the endless gift of travel.