A Year of Travel in 2021: 7 Things I Learned
Anyone feel like you blinked and it is 2022? I have always loved travel. I started off my life traveling in my mother's womb. It hasn't stopped with 30+ countries. In 2010, I wrote down travel to 7 Continents and a minimum year of travel. I never imagined doing it on the heels of a global pandemic, or that traveling the world may surprise you and there are ways to travel saving you money.
I knew traveling full-time for a year across Central America to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras would transform me. How could staying at 25+ Airbnbs not change me? It's impossible to experience all these countries and cultures, while living out of a suitcase and not be different.
While some of the ways I changed were no surprise, others floored me especially at the end of the year.
Maybe you are thinking about traveling full-time, being a digital nomad, or a lifestyle entrepreneur?
Whatever your vision is for your life, it is possible! i am living proof! I once would read blogs like mine from travelers and entrepreneurs like Oneika Raymond, My Life as a Travel Movie, and Aggie.
Now, I am walking in what I once prayed for.
Let's talk about A Year of Full-Time Travel in 2021: 7 Things I Learned That Surprised Me.
A Year of Travel
Each and every country and culture I experienced blew me away. My spirit and soul walked through the Pura Vida of Costa Rica, Holy Week in Antigua and the unreal Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, three magical months in Tulum, Mexico in Yucatan Peninsula, feeling in awe of Bacalar Lagoon, experiencing one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, wildlife wonder in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, surprise of El Salvador, freediving in Roatan in West End, and countless memories and moments.
What an adventure!
7 Things I Learned
Many of us dream of traveling the world to dream destinations and/or traveling full-time. With online business, digital marketing, influencer marketing, and platforms like Airbnb, traveling for less is a reality. If your vision involves traveling full-time, it is easier than ever.
Some travelers love hotels, others Airbnb, or both. Other people love fast travel, while others find their sweet spot with slow travel. I consider slow travel staying at a spot for a month at least. At the same time, slow travel is a mindset and may be done at a slower pace even if for a few days.
When I left with the freedom to travel for 2+ years, I thought for sure I would want to keep traveling full-time for 2+ years or indefinitely. My original vision involved 7 months to a year of full-time travel.
I've grown in many ways while traveling through Central America in 2021. At the same time, I learned many things about my heart and soul that surprised me too!
7 Things I Learned included increasing leaps of faith, how to travel light, being flexible, traveling for less, choosing experiences over things, wanting a home base in Atlanta sooner, craving love and community in real life.
1. Increasing Leaps of Faith
The muscle I felt got exercised a lot in 2021 is increasing leaps of faith. How could it not with donating over 75% of my things, packing up the rest in a small storage, and living out of one suitcase?
It became my normal to keep my 2021 vision in mind, while being uncomfortable with the unknown. I started off deciding on Costa Rica for my first stop during my travels. Originally, I thought my second country would be Nicaragua. I ended up changing to Guatemala. That is one of many changes that happened along the way.
While I took increasing leaps of faith in travel, this spilled over into every area of life. My monthly Digital Nomad Recaps give you a closer look.
At the same time, I honored myself. After staying in 7 Airbnbs by March, I started wanting more stability. I ended up staying in a Mayan Cabana Jungle Airbnb in Tulum, Mexico for three months.
2. Learning to Travel Light
The longest I left the country before 2021 included traveling to Poland for 3+ months as a child, and for over a month traveling overseas. Each time, I left behind a home or an apartment. Before 2021, I never chose to consolidate my life by donating over 75% of material items and leaving the rest behind in a storage.
Originally, I thought there would be no way I could leave with less than two suitcases. When I envisioned myself going through airports, cars and buses with two suitcases and a backpack, I quickly changed my mind.
I ended up packing in one large American Tourister suitcase and my backpack. With every destination, I kept my habit of donating 1-3 items along the way. This helped lighten my load. Any time I considered buying anything whether for myself or souvenirs, I knew I needed to let go of 1-3 items too.
The more I traveled, the more I realized I needed less than what I thought. Learning how to travel light has shifted my mindset in countless ways.
At every place I stayed at, I would nest and organize my things. I started adopting the mindset and habit of Home is Where I Am.
Home is Where I Am
3. Embracing Flexibility
Years ago, I needed to feel in control and see stability. If anything shifted, I would become unsettled out of fear. If 2020 taught us all something, it is that we are never in control. I started to embrace flexibility, adapting, and the unknown in every way. I applied 1 John 4:18 Perfect Love Drives Out All Fear more than ever.
I saw this in not only my travel, but in creating a life and business I love. I felt and saw the limitless wonder every day.
I live with no box
4. Traveling for Less
Some common misconceptions are travel must be separate from work, you must have lots of money to travel, and/or. you must wait until you retire, My life this year is a living example that none of those things are true unless you accept them as truth for your own life.
For example, I traveled all year and worked over 80% of the time, I saved over half of my living expenses when compared to 2020, and I definitely am not retired yet (nor do I plan to retire from living or purpose ever!)
My average place in 2021 was $700, and I even worked, traveled for free, and got paid to travel! With many Airbnbs if you book for a week or a month, they offer discounted rates. I suggest you always ask too! If you do consulting, marketing, and/or media, definitely mention it and what you are willing to offer!
Did I mention all the adventures I had AND that my living expenses were less than half in 2021?
5. Choosing Experiences Over Things
2021 taught and showed me more than ever what choosing experiences over things does for our spirit, soul, mind and body. I couldn't have imagined a more present and adventurous year. In 2021, I experienced more adventure than I ever imagined.
2021 brought me more waterfalls than I may count, canyoning, hiking, snorkeling, freediving, walking tours, horseback riding, surfing, rainforests, wildlife.
Dive into life.
6. Desiring Home Base in Atlanta Sooner
Now I know I said I found myself feeling and saying Home is Where I Am all year. At the same time, I knew Atlanta is home base and would be again physically. I didn't even think I would desire having Atlanta as my home base sooner than the end of 2022.
It's funny how things may change, right? I started feeling a desire to be "home" in November especially when things happened with my computer. The most logical move included going to Houston first to spend time with my friend Angela and her girls and get the computer fixed. I found myself visiting Transformation Church in Oklahoma next, and then traveling to Atlanta next.
I didn't expect the deep desire of being in Atlanta as my home base again to enter my heart.
When I left, I didn't feel sad or nostalgic. I knew I would be back.
The feeling of wanting to have my home base again in Atlanta and travel part-time surprised me.
As of December 27, I am headed to Colombia on January 8th, and then Panama the end of the month. At the same time, I am figuring out timing with practically putting things in action to have Atlanta as my base again, manage expenses, exploring options with marketing projects, and viewing condos and apartments for January, March or May.
7. Craving Love and Community in Real Life
Of course while I traveled, I met people all along the way. At the same time, i felt myself increasingly start to desire love. There is nothing that says love can't happen while you travel the world - it happened to my parents after all!
At the same time, home/Atlanta is where the heart is.
I have been involved in communities in Atlanta like Mount Paran, Passion City, Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta Entrepreneurs, and more. I have close friends in Atlanta as well that I am very grateful for.
I found myself desiring to have closer like-minded community that has a chance to go deeper too.
Year of Travel in 2021
Travel helps you transform in ways that you never imagine inside and out. It helps you immerse yourself in countries and culture. You discover things about your heart and soul that surprise you.
What surprised you about my year of travel? Is traveling full-time part of your vision?
Would you love being a digital nomad?
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