The road can lead anywhere.
It is usually something that connects us as we travel from one place to another.
For some, the road can be intimidating.
The thought of the unknown makes people anxious.
On the contrary, for some the thought of the unknown is exhilarating.
With each turn, you are taking a different direction.
Not just literally, but also mentally.
You are opening yourself up to new experiences.
It wasn’t until I was 16 when I got my first inkling to truly travel.
I’m not talking about a trip to Disney World-
rather an inclination to hit the road and see
what else there was besides my small, rural, South Jersey town.
My English teacher turned me onto Jack Kerouac, and I was hooked.
As I read Dharma Bums, On the Road, and Big Sur,
I became enamored with the thought of packing up my belongings
and hitting the road as soon as the opportunity arose.
I didn’t need companions, just a pack on my back.
There was so much to see,
and I was ready to leave everything I knew to explore the unknown.
In college, I took two extended backpacking trips to Europe.
Paris, Rome, Venice, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam- all with 5 friends.
I wanted to see what life was like outside the states.
By backpacking, I learned what it was like to travel with the minimum.
However, both trips to Europe were vacation-esque.
I was a tourist, equipped with a large pack and a camera.
Not to mention my journal.
I was waiting for my break.
I wanted to spend an extended period of time immersing
Myself in a new environment where no one knew me.
That could be Oregon, Montana, Chicago, or California.
I didn’t care where I ended up, as long as I could explore.
I found my break as a 22 year old in the summer of 2012.
Armed with an English degree, I landed a job in-
Wait for it- Southern California.
It all happened so fast.
Within five days of contact from Villanova, my dream came true.
I got my “golden ticket.”
I was going out west to teach.
As I stand here now, four years into my journey,
I can say it has not always been easy.
But I’ve followed my dream.
I’ve been up and down the West Coast,
Driven across the country multiple times and
Hiked and camped in countless state and national parks.
On top of that, I’ve learned about the world around me.
I’ve learned to find peace within myself,
How to reach second language learners, who are also far from home,
And the art of communication.
I’m not sure where the road will take me.
My friends and family that I left east beckon me to come home,
And eventually I believe that’s where I will end up.
In the meantime, I will continue to explore,
Learn, and see as much as I can.
I know that I am a lifelong traveler and
The road is where I find my peace.