What is the purpose of this blog? Well, everyone else had one and I wanted to do what all the cool kids were doing.
Really? Totally. But mainly, it’s a means for me to stay connected. For me to share a piece of my journey. I first got the travel bug when I did a semester abroad and a summer internship in London while I was studying. When I graduated, I decided to push my wanderlust further. I didn’t want to just be a tourist, I wanted to leave everything behind and see what it was like to live in another country. I initially planned to move to New Zealand for a year, but that turned into four years independently traveling and working my way around the world. There is so much that I have seen and experienced along the way, and so many reasons that I believe those experiences should be shared. I mean, if nothing else, I have some stories to tell. Hell, I have done door-to-door energy sales in the middle of the Australian summer. I have taken African dance classes. I have hiked to remote hilltop villages previously unexposed to outside civilization. I have been robbed more times than I can remember. Each and every one of those experiences pushed me in different ways, and opened my eyes just a little bit wider.
I write with the hopes that after recounting all the funny stories and “close calls”, that someone, even just one person, might find something meaningful to take away with them. I write because this; the writing and sharing, in and of itself is a challenge. I make my life more difficult than it has to be because easy has never made me happy. I like challenges, because while they can bring your lows even lower, they can also lead you to incredible heights. Maybe you agree with me.
Why? Ah, good question. Because I can. Because there’s a big world out there. Because I don’t think any of us really know what the hell we are doing here, so why not explore? Why not try? Why not do it for all the people who can’t.
Who are you? My name is Shannon. Lovely to make your acquaintance.
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Puerto Rico
- Republic of Singapore
- South Korea
- St. Lucia
- St. Maarten
- St. Thomas
- USA (What? It counts.)
How do you get work visas? See my “How to…Get Work Visas” page for more info
How did you fund these trips? I worked! Before I initially set off for New Zealand after graduating from college in 2008, I stayed at home for about 5 months working and saving. I believe I set off with around 5 or 6 grand. You could easily go with less as long as you are happy to get started with a job straight away. I lived off whatever I was making. Sometimes that meant I was living well below the poverty line, sometimes I was working multiple jobs, and sometimes I was making really good money in which case I started putting it in savings to get me to the next place. I want to be clear; I do not have a trust fund, I did not live off my parents credit card, and I do not have any debt. Living and working abroad is financially feasible for anyone, you just have to be flexible with your lifestyle. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come, go make one for yourself.
What about your family? Well, I have to tell you, I really hit the parent jackpot. There is no way I would have been able to do the traveling I have done without their support. When I first started telling friends I was moving to New Zealand, graduation was looming and everyone was freaking out about what they would do with their lives. I cannot tell you how many people said things like
“Oh, I wish I could do that, but my parents would kill me!”
I guess it’s that whole “I paid for your college tuition now I own you” sort of guilt that some parents tout over their children (whom I might add, are NOT children anymore!). While they worry like all parents do, they believe in me fully and trust that I will make good decisions and am capable of sorting out all the sticky situations that can come about. I am the youngest and only girl, and I think, especially at the beginning, a big part of this journey has been to prove myself. I’m not sure who I was trying to prove my own competence to more; myself or everyone else; but the process was made so much easier knowing that I wasn’t fighting against them, but instead fighting towards myself, or rather the most amazing version of myself that only loving parent goggles can see.
So you’re back in the States, what now? Well, I have decided to put the “vagabond” hat on the shelf and settle down (well, comparatively speaking of course) in Denver. The Shannon: Professional Vagabond chapter has been written, and now it’s time for Shannon: The Professional, and Shannon: Professional Dabbler. I better get to work!
What else would you like to know?