Ever since my first straight “A” report card in the 5th grade, I made a promise to myself that I would work as hard as I could to be the best at everything. From then on, I had straight “A’s”, managed to play multiple sports, graduate as valedictorian and get a tennis scholarship to go to NC State University. I won over 30 something awards throughout my high school career, including 1st place in the Science Fair and a state award for my academics and athletics. I had a love for chemistry and decided to pursue polymer and color chemistry with a concentration in medical science and a minor in forensic science so I could stand out later for med school. My dream was to become a Plastic Surgeon.
Long story short, once I got to Florida, I realized school wasn’t for me. A relationship with this guy wasn’t for me. None of it. I yet again gave into pressure. Pressure of being the best, of doing what I’m “suppose to be” doing. I ended it all. ALLLLLL that hard work, not even to finish college. To this day I have not finished college but you know what? It was the best decision of my life. See, as you may have guessed, I’m pretty fucking smart…but maybe too smart for my own good. After I ended all the shit in my life that wasn’t really for me, that’s when everything changed. So what does this have to do with travel? Well, I had to give some back story so you could see that no matter what path you have taken in life so far, it’s never too late to stray away. To walk a dirt road rather than a paved one to misery.
My parents? Livid! My friends?? Well, supportive in a way. BUT ME?? HAPPY, and I think people forget that you are born alone, you die alone. Happiness is like the magic potion of life. Drink that shit up.
So here I am, now 22 years old, living life, working in a restaurant as a shot girl, making boat loads of money and having a blast. I met a guy. WASTED a whole year with him, but he was the reason for my epiphany. See, in our relationship, I stooped down to someone I was not. I lost myself. Or maybe I still was never myself to begin with? He held me down, wouldn’t let me go places. Would belittle me and mentally, and physically abuse me. Then again, one day, I had the same feeling as in college. This time, it was overwhelming. I felt so lost and confused, like everyone in the world had their shit together but me. After the relationship ended, I drove head first into what I found a new passion for…travel. This was the turning point in my life that ultimately lead me to what I do today.
I would be swimming in St. Croix one week, hang gliding in Brazil, VIP clubbing in Vegas, site seeing in Arizona, pool parties in Miami I mean the traveling didn’t stop. I was addicted. The rush of booking a flight or showing up in a new city without any sense of direction…it was a feeling like no other. I stopped going to school and pretty much dropped out altogether. I worked my ass off just to turn around and spend it on a new vacation. My life was engulfed in the phrase “Live to travel!”
As a side note, however, I will say I got pretty damn lucky. At one point, I moved into a foreclosed house that was deeded to my uncle as collateral, so I had no rent for almost a year and a half. All I had to pay was the electric bill, which was pretty nonexistent considering I was never home. This contributed a lot to my traveling. When you have no responsibilities, you can focus more on yourself, your wants instead of your needs. Traveling allows me to build character, confidence, and a sense of humor. No amount of education can teach you that. You learn and understand the world around you by EXPLORING it, not by reading it in a textbook. I went on a 30-day backpacking trip throughout Europe, in winter, BY MYSELF. I opted out of an international plan so that I would HAVE to learn the train, plane and metro systems there. Was it hard? Yes. Was it lonely at times? Yes. But what I learned about myself in those 30 days alone was worth more to me than any school lesson. My advice to anyone looking to get out and see the world is STOP BEING A PUSSY. STOP MAKING EXCUSES. STOP TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE. If you hate your job, quit. If you hate school, drop out! If you hate your boyfriend/girlfriend, break up with them. STOP WAITING FOR TOMORROW, OR FOR THINGS TO “CHANGE.” You are the only person in charge of your happiness. YOU decide the fate of your life, don’t waste it.
In college, amongst all of the good grades and tennis matches…I still had a social life. I went and partied my ass off. I was lucky that I could juggle both. While living in Florida I saw a Facebook post that hit home, that really made me think. A friend of mine, head of his frat (although he didn’t drink), awesome student who made straight A’s, coach of a high school basketball team, and a perfect example of a life taken too soon. I remember leaving the library to go to a party, asking him to join, countless times. He would always decline, stating that he had to study. Guess what? He was accepted into Pharmacy School, all that hard work paid off. But then suddenly, on his way home from a frat party (again no alcohol) he was hit by a drunk driver and killed instantly. All of his hard work, gone. In an instant. All that time he could have been having a little fun or not worrying so much about his future, none of it mattered. That was a lesson to me as it should be to you, life is crazy. Chaotic, and could end at any second. Sure, I should be saving for retirement, but what if I don’t make it that far?? Why would I work my ass off for a future that isn’t even promised? So many people claim to be jealous of me. That’s funny…anyone can do what I do. It’s about priorities. I make traveling a priority and now I am trying to make it into a business.
Fast forward to the present. I am with a wonderful guy, we moved to Atlanta for his job, we own a beautiful house together and he allows me to travel the world. He supports me, inspires me and helps me be a better person every single day.
I currently work in a medical spa (Botox and shit) doing online marketing. I WORK IN CORPORATE. I have no degree and definitely no background in marketing, but guess what? Traveling taught me how to be a jack of all trades. How to put myself out there and conquer any situation, job, or obstacle that life threw at me. With this job it allows me to work, and have the necessary time off I need to still pursue my love of travel. No paid vacation, but flexibility. My goal as of now is to spread the word. I started a travel blog called www.bonvoyagebitches.com. The name represents me as a person…it shows my audience who I am before ever reading a word. I want to inspire people not to settle for a mediocre life. I love writing, or perhaps explaining my experiences, sharing the good, the bad and the super ugly with everyone. I love making people laugh, but most importantly, I love impacting people. I am blunt. I am real. I wanted to start something that people could relate to. Surprisingly, there is so much fluff in the blogging world. Post after post about Top 5 this and Top 10 that. If traveling is your passion and wanting to become a blogger about it is the icing on the cake? Well, you better find your voice. BE YOU. The internet is oversaturated with copy-cats. Be original.
What I know now that I wish I had known before, is that you don’t have to have a reason. You owe nothing to anyone about why you’d rather leave your miserable job, shady coworkers and boring routine for a life of adventure. Are you a parent? Some people take on the parent role early, I salute you for that but don’t let that stop you either. You owe it to your children to teach them school can’t. With everything going on in America right now, kids need more guidance and less manipulation. They look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps. Don’t let them see you aggravated and tired all the time from countless work hours. Show them the world.
If you take anything from this, let it be that life is not promised. Go on that trip, book that flight, jump out of that plane. I love the quote, “On the other side of fear lies freedom.” Face your fears, and you will achieve your goals. Never stop exploring, and definitely, don’t take this precious life for granted. You got this.