• Mariel Lettier

When does a trip actually start?

I dreamt about traveling for several years before it even got close to a reality and when I finally saved up enough money and was in a position to make it happen, I discovered my trip started way before December 28th, 2012.

You could say my trip began in August 2011, when I took up a job in a law firm as an in-house translator soon after graduation from university. The job was interesting and exciting at first, but it eventually became tedious and repetitive. It, however, allowed me to save enough money (together with previous job savings and my after-hours freelancing) to plan a six-month trip through Europe. (I know you are expecting to read “backpacking” somewhere around here, but I started having back problems a few months before graduating so it was a huge-ass suitcase that strolled along with me.)

flying, sky, clouds
A plane with a view

I started daydreaming and planning in early to mid-2012 and had my plane ticket by the end of August. Ana was leaving for France in September and we would meet to spend New Year’s together in Edinburgh, Scotland.

From the moment I determined what I was going to do, it became my refuge. If I had a bad day at the office or at home, all I needed to think about was the trip ahead and I was golden. Every festival, plane, train, and concert ticket I booked brought a feeling of absolute joy. Every acceptance from a CouchSurfer and every added destination felt like I had one foot out the door already. An exchange of probably about 100 emails went on between me and Ana over a period of six months until I finally got on that plane in December.

At least 53 of the emails are still saved.

And I know what you’re thinking, “That feeling probably wore off”, “It was just because it was your first trip”. But no. Traveling is the top priority for Ana and me. Our lives revolve around it and the moment the plane lands back in Montevideo, we’re thinking about the next destination (sometimes even before that). And we’ve had good and bad travel experiences, we’ve even had people messing up with our planning extravaganza, but it has never worn off. In addition to enjoying every second of it, from the moment we pick the next destination to getting back “home”, it helps us cope with the ups and downs of life. Breakups, jobs we hate, nasty co-workers, family feuds and many other things. It probably sounds like we travel to avoid our lives, but what if we become our most authentic selves on the road? We only try to find the happiness the world has to offer and there’s nothing wrong with allowing that to permeate and make the bad days (or months) more bearable.

planning, sheets, new york
Sneak peek at our planning

Next week, we’ll give you some practical tips to plan your trip. From lodging and transportation to budget and an actual spreadsheet to help you out. Stay tuned!

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