After a high school trip to Europe, a college semester abroad in Paris, and several other memorable trips in and out of the states, I’ve developed a serious case of wanderlust. There is nothing like the thrill of getting on a plane, racking up those passport stamps, experiencing a new place, different cultures, and meeting new and fascinating people from all walks of life. After two years of working at a lifestyle PR agency and living it up in San Francisco, I decided to break out of the 9-5 routine and fulfill my travel itch like never before with no known end date, no solid itinerary, and no more deadlines.
I never thought I’d be the kind of person to fit everything into a backpack and take off, but the more I thought about this reality, the more I deeply yearned for it. With support from my family and friends, I left for a new journey in South America on February 21, 2014. I knew I was about to embark on something that I would never forget, and I was right. Everyday was different, every moment was unpredictable, and I’m eternally grateful that I took that leap of faith which led me to discover new things about myself and this gorgeous world that we live in!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
Six months and five countries later, I returned back home from the trip of a lifetime. It feels crazy to be back to familiarity after experiencing another way of life that was filled with bliss, love, adventures, discovery, inspiration, and so much more. I not only learned a lot about myself, but also about my relationship, about beautifully different cultures, and mostly through the friendships I created with people from all over the world.
Traveling makes me feel so alive, and South America will certainly not be my last adventure. My want to learn more about different cultures and the world around me has intensified by a million. I’m convinced that there is nothing more addictive than wanderlust. Whether it’s one week, one month, backpacking, whatever – just get out there. We are only on this planet for a short amount of time and there is SO much more than what’s in our own backyards. Even though there can be plenty of beauty there too if you look in the right places. I’m excited to continue writing about my future travel adventures as well – wherever that may be.
Life is an incredible journey, and I’m just getting started!
xo Natalie Cairo