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At age 14, it was clear to me that I wanted to take a Gap Year to go travel and see the world a little and be free from all those expectations that I was faced with on a day to day bases. When senior year came and all my classmates were hanging up their college signs on their lockers and mine was still blank and everyone asked me if I was going to go to college after, all I could think was “Why are you people rushing this?” I was the only person in my grade that decided to not go to college but that had this need to travel before anything else.
In October of that year, I flew to my first destination: Sydney, Australia. There I was; 18 years old, all by myself, traveling to the other side of the world with no idea what I would find. Australia was where I lost myself. I spend 5 months in Australia. I met my best friend in the first month, traveled the east coast with her, got stuck in the magical Byron Bay, worked there for a bit and met an Australian who I called my boyfriend until I left for Thailand.
You might think I was living the dream, but I had never felt more lost in my life. I felt trapped in this feeling of uncertainty of what to do with my life. That was lesson #1. Uncertainty is freedom. Being uncertain shouldn't scare you but should inspire you because the possibilities are endless. Self-discovery isn't always about the most convenient ways. Sometimes you'll have to burn and learn the unknown. You don't have to have your life figured out. I just needed to add good things to it.
Thailand was a place where I had found that spark in myself that I had lost somewhere in Australia. I spent 1 and a half months here. There was a point where I almost gave up on myself and decided to take the first plane back home, but instead I recreated myself. Loosing your way is one of the cruelest things that will happen to you. But loosing your reason for why you even began is worse, and this year was there to find myself and be free. I had to get lost in order to be found. I had two choices. I could find that person I used to be and go back home or I could decide to loose it completely, step outside that person, and remember the person I was always meant to be and longed for my entire life. And that is exactly what I did.
My last stop was Bali. Bali was where I learned that all I needed was myself. You can search the world for that missing puzzle piece that you think will complete you and that you think you can call home, to realize that if you just had dug a little deeper you would've found it right there within you. That's when you'll feel at peace and feel found. I spent 3 weeks here with my best friend that I had met in Australia. This place was full of magic. It felt freeing to ride on the back of a scooter with the warm air blowing through my hair, knowing that I was lucky enough to have experienced the past 7 months, when all my friends were stuck at school, envious of what I had experienced. That is when I knew college was not meant for me.
I knew now that what I had to do was live for myself. You have to live for the thing your heart beats for and your soul dances to and forget the expectations of others. There is no right or wrong way of how to live. As long as you live a life where you feel full of light, that's the only right way. You can’t give those golden moments up for comfort. You have to keep that fire burning within you and don't let it die.
And that is exactly why I am moving to Hawaii in October and spending my life barefoot at the beach, no makeup, no expectations, just a life with a sandy bed, sun kissed skin and the feeling of freedom. For every step I have recently taken I ask the question, “Does it expand me?” If a situation, a person, or a place doesn't expand me but keeps me small and hides that fire within me, then I let go of it. What's for you will always bring out the best in you. That is how you will know you are living right.