Even though it seems like this happened over night, I've actually been inching closer towards a dream goal, even before I knew what it was. It was like this dream was in a glass box but the sides were all condensated, like your bathroom mirror after a shower, and I couldn't see exactly what was inside and slowly I was able to rub away parts of the foggy glass. Then the conditions became right and enough of the fogginess faded for me to realize this dream was a long term trip on the other side of the world. Several people who are already living their dreams have contributed to me taking this journey, whether they realize it or not. So, thanks y'all!
Jamie: My own little sister has quite the collection of stamps in her passport. Our first international trip was to the UK when we were just getting into high school. Then her later academic pursuits led her to a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark with side trips to other parts of Europe including Paris, Vienna, Bratislava, Berlin, London and Spain. While pursuing her Master's degree she had a particularly serendipitous trip to Toronto, Canada where she met a ginger Swiss guy named Stefan, and well, the rest is history. Now she lives in Switzerland as Mrs. Gloor (when she's not utilizing research grants at universities in Australia and Singapore, of course) so you never know what can happen when you travel!
Laura Lee: I met LL through a mutual friend in Miami years ago. But before that, she spent 6 months backpacking Africa and ended up meeting a former Mau Mau general about whom she felt compelled to write an autobiographical novel. This book has been a passion of hers since I've known her and I'm so excited it's being published now! Congratulations, Friend!
Sarah: I really admire Sarah's commitment and tenacity. She is so serious about maintaining a healthy, plant-strong diet that she can sit there unaffected while the rest of us in the office would order oily take-out food or binge on office birthday cake. Her amazing blog is the reason I started cooking so much more and so much healthier. Also, nothing can stop Sarah from traveling, not scooter accidents, not food poisoning or even fire coral. She's also been an incredible dancer since she was a teenager. I don't think I've ever been able to stick with anything that long besides activities crucial to general survival like you know, breathing, eating, sleeping.
Sean: We indirectly worked together a few years ago at an advertising agency in Miami. I left for a Regional Art Director position at Whole Foods Market and he left to travel the world and document it through amazing pictures. He's even been published in the New York Times and some nationally circulated magazines. I've casually stalked his travels on Facebook and always thought "I wish I could do that." And years later, I believe that I can; well the travel part at least, I'm not as good at photography.
Jessy: We started Miami Ad School together and couldn't have been more different. I was a somewhat naive, Southern, blonde sorority girl and she had just moved from the mean streets of NYC and had a bunch of tattoos and illustrated pornographic coloring books. I was a little intimidated but it turns out over the next two years we found out we had a lot in common like our work ethic and intrinsic motivation and general optimism. Now I'm one of her biggest fans and she's living the dream as an independent artist in Miami who has been commissioned for murals, had her own gallery during Art Basel and had three gallery shows throughout Europe last year in London, Vienna and Zurich. But I think my favorite piece she's done so far is her studio/house in Miami which I've been privileged enough to visit:
Jochen: I met a lot of kids (I use this term loosely to describe anyone between 18 and 30) during my last trip to the South Pacific, mostly from Europe, who were traveling for several weeks, months and perhaps even years at a time. I thought "Wow, if they can do it, I can do it." I met Jochen in Auckland, New Zealand and heard amazing stories about his current trip with his backpack and a surfboard pursuing the world's best waves. I find it very inspirational to just go wherever your passion takes you with barely any advanced planning.
Devin Graham: Also known as devinsupertramp on youtube. I don't actually know him but I've been following his videos for years since he was first getting started. I've said before I want to live life like a Devin Graham video, because they are so adventurous and so much fun and so well executed. He posted a video recently about how much work it actually takes to make those videos happen, but as long as you're passionate about it, you don't mind putting in long hours. Now he doesn't exactly have to rough it every time because he gets sponsors that fly him around the world and pay him to do what he loves.
Lindsey Stirling: Related to the previous post because she and Devin are friends and he filmed a lot of her early videos. Despite being incredibly talented and original, the judges on America's Got Talent told her she basically wouldn't ever be successful. But she proved them all wrong after amassing an eclectic collection of videos, original music and millions of followers on youtube. They actually invited her back recently as a guest performer on the show and she blew them all away and got a standing ovation. I actually got to see her last year in West Palm Beach during her last tour and it was incredible. Here's one on my favorites called Elements:
Also, here's my recent reading list that I've also found particularly inspirational:
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
and now, after planning my trip I'm working through:
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert