Traveling the world is something I grew up dreaming about. I was fortunate enough to go on family vacations to Disney or Cape Cod every now and then, but I always wanted to go further; see things no one I knew had seen before. The thought of standing beneath the eiffel tower humbled me, the idea of hiking up to an enormous waterfall in the rainforest seemed like something you only saw in movies. I wanted to see it all but I wanted to do so with purpose; give back in some way to these beautiful places that would give me so much.
My plan had always been to join the Peace Corps for a couple years after college. I wanted to make an impact; I wanted to leave places better than I found them and touch the lives of others around the world. When I finished school I realized it wasn’t feasible with the student debt I had, and that damn near broke my heart. Not only was I unable to join the Peace Corps and make the difference I had wanted to, but it felt like my dream of travelling was just getting further and further out of reach. I had only left the country once in my life for a two week dive class in Bonaire, and while it was an amazing experience it took a scholarship and a year of saving to be able to go. With only that under my belt, I thought it was impossible to go anywhere until my loans were done.
The first year after college was the most stuck I had ever felt in my entire life. My plan was ruined and my dream was crushed; I was confused about what to do next or how to fix it; honestly I didn’t do much besides feel sorry for myself. I focused on my career but often felt bitter about it; I wanted to bring so much more to the table in this life, I wanted to make an impact.
It took longer than I’d like to admit, but once I started making minor changes in my life and feeling better, I decided to not let my financial prison be the reason I couldn’t live a great life in my 20’s and do the things I was determined to do. After moving back up to Boston and getting a new job, I felt empowered by what I could accomplish and started doing research.
Since 2016, I have visited six countries and have plans to visit four more before the end of this year. I have stood under the eiffel tower, I have hiked a waterfall in the rainforest, and that is just the tip of the iceberg (travel pun intended). The best part? I was able to afford these trips AND make my loan payments, all while giving back to some the beautiful places I visited. While I still get sad about the Peace Corps from time to time, I’ve found a great alternative that allows me to accomplish my goals and make my passions a priority too – not just my career.
In the coming weeks I will begin posting Destinations on a Dime: highlights of the places I’ve been and tips for visiting and keeping it affordable. Follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss any of these posts!