By: Cristina Martinez Chavez
This story is not about writing an itinerary in great detail, but about the daring behind the dream of traveling.
I was one of those people who dreamed of traveling since I was a teenager, but being realistic, I turned to see my economic situation and I better start doing something else because it was practically impossible…
Life sometimes puts us some obstacles where we have to test the faith we have in ourselves.
I do not forget the stage in the university where many of my classmates went on an exchange. Longing for those same opportunities was my daily bread, meanwhile between my parents’ tight budget, and illnesses like cancer circling in my family nucleus, it was not possible for me to fulfill that dream of going to study in another country.
I remember my adolescence until adulthood watching movies that inspired me to travel, from Lizzy McGuire in Rome and The Twins with the London scenes, to Into the Wild, Eat, Pray and Love, Wild Soul among others, and of course videos Alan’s around the world with his great tips for traveling as cheaply as possible just invited me to give it a try.
Many things happened in my early 20’s, I lost my mother to a terminal illness, something that hurt a lot but was a turning point for me at that time, I remember when I told her how much I wanted to travel and she told me how much she wanted to see me fulfill my dreams, in turn It made me understand that we do not come to this life just to work to live, but to enjoy our time here and that we should not waste it. For this reason, at the age of 23, I began to act so as not to be left with the phrase “what would have happened if…”. (Because you know she… she was fed up with my routine, going to my job where she answered calls all day, earning money to pay bills) until I said Enough is enough! It’s time to meet my goals.
I didn’t plan to stay with the doubt for the rest of my life, so without a plan, I started raising money. Of course, that implied making sacrifices such as not going out to parties, not buying clothes, or all those ant expenses that day to day implies.
Basically, I only went out of my pocket for the essentials such as food and utility payments, I sold empanadas, clothes, sweets, etc.
So I saved for two years and just enough to book my flights, some stays and food like tuna and energy bars.
When I told people close to me that I was planning to go on a trip alone, I faced ridicule from friends and even family who told me that I would not make it to Europe, that I would not survive even 3 days, that it would be better if I went for a weekend to Cancun and now, but despite that, my father, brothers and some close people did not stop supporting me morally.
I tried, I took the courage to quit my job. She was terrified because she knew that being unemployed she was not going to have a fairy godmother to support me or someone to help me financially until she finds another job, she was scared to death but I did.
In 2017, at the age of 25, I made my first low-budget trip to Europe, I spent almost a month traveling and visited London, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and one of the most famous festivals in the world and of my biggest dreams “Tomorrowland ”.
However, I did not expect to find another perspective on life and that it would change me for the better. I found many people who told me about their experiences traveling, super friendly people who offered you their support, food, and their friendship; not so good people, days with canceled trains, delayed flights, days where you got lost in a new city and had to find the solution, days where you had to learn how to use public transport in a new country, days with bad weather, days that you face yourself where you had time to reflect on your life, what you want and what you don’t. Love, heartbreak, joys and sorrows.
I came back with a different mindset and guess what? I repeated history in the summer of 2019, quit my office job and left for a month and a half. I traveled through 9 countries and returned home, to start from 0 without a single peso but with the satisfaction and happiness of having done what I wanted most. I would have liked to have taken the opportunity to become an Au pair when I was younger but fear told me that it was impossible. Sometimes life has plans for us that were nothing like the ones we had drawn up, but don’t be scared, they may even be better.
We arrived at the time of the pandemic where COVID made us give up what we had already scheduled, I had a flight to London, however it had to be canceled in 2020, once again everything happens for a reason, that same year I lost my job and they gave me my electronic voucher for said canceled flight, was the way in which life told me that I can also discover new experiences, adventures and dreamlike landscapes in my Mexico and I had the opportunity to make different trips throughout 2021, discovering new places.
I am 30 years old and my story is still being written. I have visited 10 countries (Spain, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Germany) and I am going for more.
It is very clear to me that once you start traveling you cannot stop, each trip is different, it changes you and you do not come back the same person. You get used to seeing different sunsets, learning something new, eating different dishes, getting to know new cultures, but above all, living life as you pleases.
I understood that far from getting angry because our plans change due to some situation, we must trust and flow with them because life is going to take us where we should be at the time we should.
Having risked resigning in 2017, it led me to a series of events where, either due to work or some divine miracle, I have had the opportunity to continue traveling from time to time; I myself learned that in this life we have to take risks if we want to achieve something, that opportunities will not knock on our door if we are sitting on the couch, and that no matter how difficult it seems, EVERYTHING CAN BE ACHIEVED, DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO MAKE IT HAPPENS.
I hope my experience is that last push you needed to dare to make that long-awaited trip.
With love Cris Chavez 🙂
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