“Travel is like knowledge, the more you see, the more you know you haven’t seen” ~ Mark Hertsgaad
How I became a Professional Vagabond: Plan B
Once upon a time, I had a condo in Atlanta, GA. I had a secure cubical job, a car, a 401(k) and a pension. I worked for the State of Georgia and battled traffic into midtown each day. I had everything I needed, a mortgage that tied me to my job, and more stuff than I could keep track of. I also had a side business that I loved, Atlanta Culinary Tours, touring neighborhood restaurants and organizing culinary adventures. These things kept me busy and padded my savings account. The American Dream? Maybe. But at some point, it simply wasn’t enough. Or maybe it was too much. My life was busy, clean, organized and safe. It was also mind-numbingly boring. Every day was the same. There was no adventure, no passion, nothing new. And life should be an adventure or it’s just a bunch of Thursdays run together. I wanted to follow my dream of real travel, not just short vacations. I didn’t want to be a tourist anymore. I wanted to see the world and live in countries long enough to get to know the history, cuisine, language and–most importantly–the people.
So I did it.
To many people, it looked like a hasty, impetuous decision. Not true. I had a plan. The US economy took a nose dive in 2008 and I was stuck with an underwater mortgage on a condo three times larger than I needed, filled to the brim with furniture, nick-nacks and stuff I’d bought to make myself feel better about my boring life. I felt trapped, so I made an escape plan. I waited and worked my plan for 5 years while the economy improved. I saved money, downsized, learned to get along with less and refined my escape. By late 2013, the housing market was coming back and it was time to stop waiting. By the end of that year, I’d sold Atlanta Culinary Tours, sold my condo and given away or donated most of my belongings. In February 2014, I quit my job and began living Plan B: Life as a Professional Vagabond.
Starting March 1, 2014, I put on my walking shoes, filled a backpack and began hiking the Appalachian Trail under the trail name of Plan B. I had hoped to hike the entire length of the AT, but a foot injury forced me off the trail after only 1,405 miles and 4 1/2 months. I’m sorry that I couldn’t make my goal, but I’m not sorry I tried.
Then, I Taught English , first in Bien Hoa, Vietnam for five months. In 2015, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey for a year. I volunteered in Valencia, Spain before hiking the Camino de Santiago. That summer, I taught in Russia, then Mexico for a year where I started learning Spanish. In July 2017, I move to Peru for three months. then did some hiking in Nepal. Next, I’ll be teaching fourth grade in Bolivia. After that, who knows?
I fund my life by Teaching English, writing (I’ve published two books!), and living frugally. I only own enough stuff to fill a couple of suitcases. I’m open to new adventures, too. Expect to see me House Sitting, couch surfing, camping, WWOOFing and volunteering in exchange for room and board between teaching gigs. Someday, I may organize tours of the cities I love most, sharing my love of travel with you. That’s a good reason to sign up for my mailing list on the left side of the screen.
Crazy? Probably. But sanity is over-rated, anyway.
My life isn’t always easy, but at least I’m not bored anymore.
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