C’est Christine went live with this post four years ago today. Rereading the comments on that post brings me so much joy: so many of the same people who took the time to say they were excited for and proud of me then are still some of my most fervent supporters today.
It’s been four years and 20 new countries and 641 posts written. I’ve grown out my hair and chopped it off, grown bangs and grown them out: my journey can be tracked through haircuts and lack thereof. I was 21 years old when I decided to start a blog. I broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job, had a ticket to France and fantasies of a book deal (I’d be discovered via my blog, naturally). I wanted to dare to live the life I’d dreamed of: skydiving, buying a one-way ticket to a faraway land, road tripping across the United States.
In a lot of ways, I did just that. I’ve jumped out of planes and off mountains, lived in France and Australia, moved to New York City via Route 66. In some ways, too, my dream life has shifted. I’ve learned that I’m not cut out for full-time travel, that I’m overcome by fixed life envy when I’m living out of a backpack. I don’t want to be fleeting and flighting; I revel in being reliable and having roots. I thrive when travel is a treat, when I can balance routine with exploration.
This blog has been witness to big decisions, far-flung destinations, press trips and conferences and opportunities I never could have dreamed of. When I read back between the lines, I notice the nuances of emotions and subtle references to relationships. It’s been equal parts diary and travel guide and inspiration. I’ve never known exactly what I wanted this blog to be or to become, and for that I’m grateful: it has been this little slice of the internet where I could share a big variety of things. Sometimes it’s been just for me–to record, to remember, to simply write down the things I was feeling and struggling with–and other times, it’s been for my readers–to inspire, to lead, to guide.
I’ve allowed myself to grow and change, to travel and settle down, to fall in love with a place and leave it behind when it was time. I started this blog as an outgrowth of a break-up, and I’ve since settled into a relationship that is as easy as it is exciting. I’ve crafted a (sometimes very overbooked) life of the things that I’m passionate about: traveling and writing here, connecting and branding at ONA, stretching the muscles and calming the mind in yoga teacher training. I’ve learned to recognize what makes me happy, to be intentional in my choices to lead a life that I love.
The most important lessons I’ve learned: write consistently, but take a break when you need it. Book the ticket and the rest will fall into place. People will remember the way you make them feel. Turn off your phone when you go to bed. Read good books, burn good candles, wear clothes that make you feel confident. Comparison is the thief of joy. Leave when your work for the day is done. If you want to be happy, then be. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
When I moved to France, I never imagined that I’d one day live and love New York City. I was in search of sun and sand and the carefree beach-bum lifestyle that goes along with it. For a few years, I shucked responsibilities and chased pleasure. In many ways, I wasn’t sure what I was searching for: I was just determined to check the things off the list, to do the things that so many deemed impossible. In many ways, I’m still not sure what’s next, for me or this blog. Although I still love to travel, I love fashion and yoga and seeking out new experiences in one of the world’s most touristed cities.
Mark Twain said write what you know. I know that terrifying moment right before you click the buy button on a plane ticket that will change your life. I know what it’s like to be alone in a new country and feel overwhelmed and out of place, yet feel like it’s exactly where you need to be. I know how to pull together an outfit from a backpack that makes me feel like the best version of me, how to arrive in a new city and find a job and an apartment and a group of friends. If nothing else, I can promise that I’ll keep trying to write what I know, to write the things closest to my heart.
As always: THANK YOU. None of my success would be possible without my readers, and I am grateful every day that there are people who take the time to read about my adventures and (bonus!) find the time to comment on, “like” and share what they see. I appreciate it more than I can express here.
A look back: first blog-aversary, second blog-aversary and third blog-aversary. I also wrote my very first guest post on Twenty-Something Travel four years ago today about choosing to travel solo, and last week I contributed a piece on how to balance travel and full-time work: everything comes full circle.