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Gypsy Girl

I caught the bug in college. I'd never been out of the country until I was 19. Athens, Greece was my first stop. I went to model the summer between my sophomore and junior year at the University of Georgia. I cried for a week, begging my mom to tell me that it would be okay for me to come home. She didn't. She reminded me how lucky I was to have such an opportunity, and how so many others would love to be given it. She told me to try staying one more week. I stayed six. I was hooked. I lived in model apartments with other young, free-spirited people who shared the same affection for adventure. We traveled to the islands on weekends, enjoyed family dinners outside under starry skies, and we danced our faces off. It was the most alive I had ever felt and I never wanted it to end. And so, it didn't for the next five years. Oh, believe me, I tried to go back to school. I remember sitting in a French classroom thinking, "how silly is this?!" I withdrew myself, me, the girl who made only A's and just one B in her academic career, and it was unsurprisingly in Home Economics in middle school. I just couldn't do it - my addiction was too strong. I became a nomad traveling from Athens, to Milan, to Paris, to London, with stop overs in Morocco (where I met my best friend to this day), Miami, Chicago, and back again before ending my tour in Singapore (where I would meet my other, to this day, best friend).

I decided I would spend one year in New York City, because it had been my dream for as long as I could remember. It would turn into ten, with a brief go at Los Angeles somewhere in there. While in the city my travels took me to Israel, India (twice), Central America, and Indonesia. Curiously, I never felt drawn back to Europe. Maybe it was because New York felt like enough. Last July, I made Portland, Maine my home, and well now I could use a little Europe. In two weeks, I will embark upon a month long journey to Portugal, back to Morocco, Spain, and France, which is why this space needed to be birthed. I will document just as I have always done, except this time with more intention.

There are stacks of journals in my parents' house from all of my travels. So many stories. I live for this. I love stepping on a plane not knowing what is in store once I step off.

It is not by choice, but I've taken myself on most of my journeys. As a massive romantic, it would be so lovely to explore these new places with an equally as enthusiastic travel companion. Alas, it has not been my lot, but I could never let that stop me from going. This life is short. An ex of mine once told me, "We aren't here for a long time, we're here for a good time." Being alone does not deprive a foreign place of its beauty. As a Capricorn, I am more than okay with it - I quite enjoy being anonymous Coco. When you're alone, you invite more of the experience in. Also not by choice, I've never had a tremendous amount of funds - I travel cheap. For me, it doesn't need to be luxurious. I want it to be real. I want to feel a place's soul. I am very skilled at keeping cost low, but experience rich.

So as a solo voyager on a budget (for now), I will continue to share my stories, tips and tricks, here, so that others might gain the confidence to adventure no matter where they are in life, or whom they are with -

or without.

I say, GO.

Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.

You mustn't live so lightly,

Spin your stories, tell your tales,

Let them dance across the oceans

And set the wind upon your sails.

For every truth found on your travels

And in the pits of your despair,

Is a shout into forever

Of "I existed, and I cared."

~ Erin Hanson

Los Angeles, CA

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