About 5 years ago, when I started planning for my big, round-the-world trip, I never imagined the final outcome would be moving permanent homes from Peoria, Illinois to Sydney, Australia. But, here I am, sitting in my new home, working as a travel blogger/writer for several outlets, and planning still more travels. All of these points have actualized because of my one decision to pursue long-term travel.
I often talk about the power of long-term travel. Not only do I feel it frees people to experience a different side of life, but it also opens doors like you wouldn’t believe. Never in a million years would I have expected my life to be as it is today, right now, as I’m getting ready to celebrate my 3rd Christmas in the land Down Under. But it is simply because I took the leap and then let the path lead me.
I’m a lover of slow travel, especially where I get to dig my hands deep into a culture by language study or working for a while. I’ve done everything from studying Spanish in Guatemala to Russian in Kyrgyzstan. I’ve taught English in both Ukraine and Australia, and I’ve done the whole work and holiday adventure Down Under. My travels have been strange and exotic in every way, even including a stint working on an archaeological dig in Spain, and only about half of them are things I had actually thought about in advance.
The Original Plan vs. Reality
When you leave for an adventure that is as massive as a few months to a year out exploring the world, there is really no assurance that what you plan will indeed happen. If that was my case, I would have returned to the Midwest of the USA to go to grad school, which to me now seems like a very unexciting way to end the story.
Instead, I listened to the opportunities. I saw the doors opening. I had ideas, and I went out there to see, touch and taste them. I met a charming Aussie guy in a hostel in Latvia and then proceeded to head Down Under but a few months later. That was back in 2009, and I still call Sydney home, actually to the point where I have acquired the partner visa and am on my way to permanent residency in the not-too-distant future.
During these travels, I blogged regularly, and this knowledge of blogging and social media helped me land roles with a couple of companies in Sydney doing the same, but for pay. That experience eventually led me to getting signed on to other writing/blogging gigs, which is now the focus of my livelihood! Travel has given me a new love, found me a new home, and provided a new career path. All of these experiences have been for the better, but chances are I would have never known if I hadn’t set off on long-term travel, and more so if I hadn’t let myself pursue the opportunities that popped up along the way.
-Brooke Schoenman (Guest Contributor)
Brooke Schoenman is the blogger behind Brooke vs. the World, the site where she blogs about all things travel, especially thrifty travel. In addition, Brooke contributes to a couple other personal ventures — Her Packing List and the Female Travel Underground Newsletter — as well as regular pieces to OneTravel and BBC travel. Follow along on both Twitter and Facebook.