The journey ahead

Old nail polish, change of seasons and leaving the place I call home

The first thing I remember was my co-worker playing his guitar while we climbed a mountain. I had my hands wedged to the straps of my backpack barely regulating my own breath. Trailing behind us was seven adolescent boys and another co-worker at the end making sure we are all getting to where we are going. Where exactly? The exact middle of the Utah back country. It was the infamous year of 2020 a few months before the pandemic struck and I was at ‘work’ backpacking for six days. I had advocated to go on this adventure to see what a day in the life of a wilderness therapy student looked like. I had been a family therapist for the company for about six months at that point. I was never able to see day to day student experience until this point. Over all during these six days I felt overwhelmed and seeking comfort from anything I could. Once we got to camp one night I got to take an hour break away from the group- I explored the land and sat and cried letting out emotion that I had held in while being a mentor to youth and trying to be a strong wilder women. This skin was something spectacularly different to try on from the ultimate comfort seeking side of me.

During the break my recent but distant past of being a traveler, living abroad and learning new things consistently felt oddly familiar to the journey I was on currently. I missed being pushed, stretched, surrounded by something so unfamiliar. What a privilege it is to seek discomfort. I felt a sense of urgency to make my next plan to go abroad for an extended period of time and have that sense of freedom that I longed for after going to grad school and now having a full time job. Have I ever witnessed another mid/ late twenty something quit their job to go travel? Not quite, and also why not? This is something that I know fills my cup for adventure and passion in life. So during that hour break out in the juniper trees and sage brush I made a undefined goal, a year from then January 2021 I would leave for a 3-4 month trip abroad, I would save over the coming year and make that shit happen. Plans came and went, as important wedding dates were booked for my best friend and attempting to get my full licensure in social work before I leave all played into why I was leaving Oct 2021 instead of January.

Now I’m here, the date has come, I quit my therapist job, the things are packed, I said goodbye the the place that felt the most like home, and the people who are family. I’m not going to lie, it does feel like a risk, I’m scared and this is not a reason to consider staying. I want to acknowledge the increased risk I’m putting myself in by traveling during a pandemic and I wouldn’t want to live my life in any other way.

Writing helps me connect deeper with this purpose, of why. So during these travels I want to stray away from my social media accounts, and write on here to share with you all of my adventure, struggles, and triumphs. In addition to this I have had a long and normalized addiction to television, movies and most recently tik tok. I’m going to pause using these outlets while on my trip as well to see how that changes my use of time, numbing and distancing from the world. This scares me a bit more than traveling, not being able to curl up in my bed in a hostel and forget about everything else. I’ve thought about doing this for a couple of years and have been unsuccessful in my attempts. My now old roommate from Durango has been doing it for a full year and is really my inspiration to try again as he has has success.

I will be starting in Guatemala city, meeting up with an old friend who studied abroad with me in Sydney 9 years ago. He grew up and still lives in the city so he will be showing me around for a few days before I start a language emersion program for a few weeks to learn spanish!

I have money equivalent for four months of backpacking/ hostel travel & I’ve never traveled alone this long so not setting specific time expectations for myself. Leaving the time frame open for now.

So, cheers to the adventures ahead. Cheer to intentionally making myself uncomfortable to learn and grown as a person. I am embarking on a solo journey abroad for no other reason than this is something that helps me feel free. Hoping to continue to live my life in hope instead of fear for our world.

Here are some clear intentions for my trip

  1. Become logistically proficient in Spanish
  2. Learn the basics of sailing
  3. Learn more about plant medicine being used in these regions
  4. Meditate for 5 min per day, 4 times per week
  5. Find other ways to cope instead of using TV, movies, tik tok 🙂


4 thoughts on “The journey ahead

  1. Ok, Ally. I’m trying to get this. You are filled with way more courage than I have ever known. I wish you safety, good emotional and physical health, and inner peace as you search for happiness and satisfaction in your new journey.
    We love you!


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