Meet Dana, a Lost Girl

Wanderlust still active, II decided to invest in a new e-Book for my plane ride home from France. The Lost Girls is an autobiography of three women in their twenties who decide to take a gap year/ career break and travel around the world. Their destinations include hiking in Peru, site-seeing and partying in Brazil, volunteering in Kenya, practicing yoga in India, backpacking through Southeast Asia, and road tripping while working freelance in New Zealand and Australia. Their journey around the world as well as their individual journeys are incredibly powerful. I can say that I was ready to book tickets to Rio and Bangkok almost immediately after finishing the last page (well before my plane touched down in Chicago.) Ever since I decided I wanted a life of travel, many travel blogs I have come across included ordinary people who saved their money, sold their belongings, and traveled the world for a year before returning to their lives back in the western world. To me, a year of travel sounds awesome…. more than awesome, in fact. But, the more I travel and live abroad, the more I realize that a non-stop, around-the-world tour may not actually be the right choice for me (even though The Lost Girls make it sound epically awesome!) I like to work. I like to have structure and routine. I also like to take a few vacation days to myself. I do not like sleeping in hostel dorms and living out of a backpack for months on end. My time in France and Japan have been great because I have gotten to live abroad, immerse myself in culture, develop a life, establish myself, and discover a great country while also having ample vacation time to discover other close destinations and countries! This way, I am traveling slowly, yet each new day is also an adventure– I get the best of both worlds! 20140608-170416-61456142.jpg When I’m done conquering Europe and parts of the Middle East, I’ve told myself that my next destination would be Southeast Asia (once Thailand decides to calm down a bit.) I want to ride a motorbike in Vietnam, get my scuba certification in Thailand, bike around Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and lounge in the beaches in Bali. But I also want to backpack South America, climb to the top of Machu Picchu, and  experience the colors of Buenos Ares in Argentina. At the same time I could see myself living down under and indulging in the laid-back culture of Australia and adventure sports in New Zealand. And boy, do I ever want to go on an African Safari! Even better, I would like to go to Antarctica and cruise through Alaska and explore the Caribbean Islands. I want to take a U.S. and Canadian road trip, go skiing in Dubai / Abu Dhabi see the Great Pyramids, practice yoga in India, and relax on Greek Islands. But I also would like to return to Iceland and Spain and Morocco and Turkey and New Orleans and New York City. I’ve also never been to San Francisco. Regardless, I’m trying hard to focus on the now. I made my dream come true with having another opportunity to work in France; the world’s doors are open, and I want to continue to walk through them. I want to continue seeing, experiencing, doing, and learning.

Originally as a teacher, I always envisioned myself teaching abroad in other countries, making enough to live on, and using the rest to travel and see the world during my vacations (If I end up working stateside, I also could easily see myself taking my summers to travel.) I also foresee myself running a successful travel blog on the side and inspiring others to travel through my writings.

20140608-171032-61832152.jpg But, being home, I must admit, seeing my family, realizing that life goes on without you, watching my friends buying houses, building savings, and establishing themselves in their careers, I am beginning to realize that a life back home may not be so bad either. And while I’m definitely not ready to quit my expat life or to get married and have kids, or heck, even to be in a long-term relationship, I have recently found myself daydreaming about having my own queen bed, an espresso machine and matching dishes, my own car, and art work hung up on the walls of my own apartment.

Overall, just like these women, I guess I’m lost too. I have no idea where my life will head after I’m finished with France– will I “settle down”? Will I keep moving? Will I continue my expatriate lifestyle? Will someone else come into my life? Your guess is as good as mine.

Bisous,

Dana

10 thoughts on “Meet Dana, a Lost Girl

  1. I was like you – a lost girl in my 20s. Actually, I’m still lost somewhat and I’m in my 30s now.

    My plan was to travel the world working for a few years like you. I had my sights set on Australia, Europe and Asia. I seriously thought about settling in Australia.

    I never made it out to Australia or Asia. I arrived in Europe as a naive 19-year-old and never left. Do I regret it? Yes, sometimes I do. I wish that I had made it out to Australia and had the whole bush/beach working holiday experience. Now it’s ‘too late’ for me.

    On the other hand, you could spend a lifetime in Europe alone learning languages and living in different cultures. That’s what I’ve been doing so the fact that I never made it out doesn’t really bother me. I have had experiences here that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Not to mention the fact that I met my husband here 5 years after arriving.

    We had the chance to live in China for a few months next year but because we are moving to Denmark we can’t go. I guess it was just never meant to be…

    I’m glad with how my life has turned out, but I always wonder about what life in Asia or ‘down under’ would be like. So my advice? Go! You are not tied to anything or anybody and are young and healthy. Make the best of this chance and blog about it here so I can live through you!

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      I’m excited to spend a few more years in Europe, but I wonder what will come after– will I be ready to teach at home or will australia and SE Asia call my name? Only time will tell 🙂

      Denmark will be an exciting new adventure!!! So different from France and perhaps better for women 🙂 I loved Copenhagen when I was there!

      I also had a job opportunity in China that I turned down to stay in France. For me it wasn’t the right fit.

      Bisous!

  2. I get it, this struggle you face, I totally get it. You explain so eloquently what I am trying to express. I don’t know if I am a lost girl so much struggling to accept the fact that I don’t crave a typical life. I want adventure with stability. I want routine with a little unexpected thrown in. Great post!

    1. Yes, this is exactly it! I know if I work at home I won’t be able to satisfy that craving, at least for awhile. So for the meantime I am trying work abroad so I get the bets of both worlds, and the absence of my parents’ nagging as to how I’m spending my money.

  3. I feel this way every time I see my friends with babies and husbands and apartments and pets! I long for the consistency but still crave the exploration. But I know that I’m not ready to stop looking yet…I don’t think of it so much as being lost but as feeding my curiosity 😉

  4. Dana – There are so many “lost girls”. Lost in their 20’s searching for what major to declare in college. Lost in their 30’s searching for career or starting a family. Lost in their 40’s searching if this family or this career is all there is ever going to be…. I think as a woman we always have a little big of “lost” in us. It is when you come to a moment or two of contentment when you feel true happiness. I feel content most days of my life – but lost on others! Thanks for writing. Best wishes…. enjoy the nice bed and coffee in the morning.

    1. Hi Sara! Thanks for commenting and for helping me again realize that I am not alone everyone is searching for their path or journey. But I agree, the moments where I find happiness are in the moments where I least expect it– on a long walk in my neighborhood or surrounded by a group of friends in a coffee shop.

      To our journeys-

      Dana

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