My heart has sung its nomadic song for as long as I can remember. The open road meant freedom and I took every opportunity to follow those roads wherever they took me. My work as a mobile horse trainer afforded me opportunities to see most of the Colorado Front Range, the Touched by a Horse program took me south to New Mexico and Arizona. I’ve road tripped through Utah to Nevada, Oregon, and California. The west sings the song of my soul, but I’ve also gone south, once by bus to Georgia, then road trips to Texas and Arkansas to see Gabe’s family. I’m at home behind the wheel and on the road.
International Travel never really crossed my mind, as counter intuitive as that may seem to my roaming spirit. Big time travel wasn’t in my plans until Gabe came along and opened that world up to me with our trip to Costa Rica in 2018. Plans to travel far and wide whispered in the background for several years, until they solidified into reality in December 2021 when, as you know, we took off to Italy and beyond.
We’ve now been to 10 different places in 5 different countries in 3 months. We’ve spent appreciable amounts of time in each place so we feel we’ve experienced an awful lot, and still we’ve only scratched the surface.
What is the expectation of travel? It’s a little different for everyone, I imagine.
For myself I don’t truly know what my expectation was. I don’t set a lot of big expectations. I feel it leaves more room to be accepting of things as they are. I don’t overly compare, and I’m often pleasantly surprised or even delighted by what we find. Not always, but more often than not.
I know for many people what we are doing would be a nightmare. This is not as relaxing as sitting on a beach sipping tropical cocktails and soaking up the sunshine. It’s not as exciting as the fast paced 2 week vacation where you go to all the tourist sites and see all the things and eat all the foods.
The fact that we cook all our own food at homebase and we walk everywhere when we aren’t on a train, would send some folks running for the nearest airport, but for us it has been illuminating and enjoyable.
We feel immersed in these places, and in many ways on the surface, our life is fundamentally the same as when we left the states. Except Gabe isn’t burnt out, we are both healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally, our love and appreciation for each other is stronger than ever. We know what is important to us and what is not, and slowly but surely a vision for our future is beginning to take form.
The very purpose and essence of our trip begins to present itself.
Gabe was looking for the next chapter in his life story, closing out the many many chapters that involved working in IT. His soul could no longer bear a job that offers nothing to the world at large, a j-o-b that paid the bills but was in no way meaningful or fulfilling. When we set out he didn’t know what he was seeking, but was hoping something would present itself on our journey.
As for myself, I had the intention of finding myself beyond the equine realm. What I found was a
bone-deep understanding that I cannot exist in a world without horses. They are as necessary to my wellbeing as the air in my lungs. (As you already know if you read this post) I did discover a keen love of cooking and reclaimed my zeal for writing. I stumbled on a newfound enthusiasm for crafting my business and helping women overcome codependency.
I have deepened into parts of myself that make up the core of who I am.
We have both done some deep healing work, turning our travels into a spiritual journey of sorts. This completely unexpected turn of events has guided us forward toward what we know to be of the utmost importance in our lives, and what we can unequivocally live without.
A word of caution: Travel is not the be all, end all.
Travel itself will not solve a single problem in your life and it’s very likely to add problems and inconveniences. It will absolutely put a spotlight on your weaknesses and flaws, your most tender and vulnerable places.
If you’ve been following our travels and reading my posts (thank you!) you might think to yourself, “I wish I could do that!” “How Perfect!” “They’re so lucky!”
To which I say
It is NOT perfect.
We ARE Lucky.
But please make no mistake, travel is not the secret sauce to happily ever after.
It is not the quick fix cure to all your troubles.
Let me tell you why:
No matter where you go, there YOU are.
The key to our success on this trip is not in the travel itself. The key has been leaning into our personal work. Digging deep into the uncomfortable, vulnerable, tender, shadowy parts of ourselves and putting what we find under the microscope. It is not fun. It’s hard. There has been so much crying. We have both had days of depression, disappointment, several days of grief, days of stress and tension, all mixed into days full of happiness and joy filled moments. As is the nature of life, it all ebbs and flows.
Are you surprised that we aren’t just overjoyed 100 percent of the time? That’s fantasy. Those kinds of unrealistic expectations will set you up for disappointment.
Our trip has afforded us the opportunity to get out of the rut of our daily lives, opened us up to new surroundings and new experiences. This probed into places previously left unexplored. Anyone can achieve a similar result by breaking out of the comfort zone. You don’t have to travel internationally for an undetermined amount of time to achieve personal growth. You just need to get comfortable being uncomfortable and be willing to take a look at what pops up in those spaces and places, and do the hard work.
It’s doing your personal work that leads you to happily ever after. I know this to be true and for the first time in my life my vision, my path to the future is clear, and I can see it with a clarity I’ve never experienced before.
I’d like to mention that Gabe and I have both invested in working with coaches and therapists over the years and I am a certified coach with tools and experience at my disposal, which has helped to guide our personal growth experiences. If you feel like you don’t know where to begin, I would be happy to assist you. I offer a free exploratory session and of course virtual coaching sessions, please contact me for more info!
Our travels are not over! Journey on with us to see where the road takes us and stay in the loop as our plans begin to unfold.
Stay WildCoach Amanda