What a strange sensation. Writing when I’m not on the road? This is a first.
The itch to write about my travels never goes away, but when I get home from each adventure, despite the best of intentions to keep up the habit, daily life has always gotten the best of me.
However! Two recent events led me to finally commit, as they both capture the essence of this blog and my travel philosophy. Little did I know that they would both tie together in the most unexpected and delightful way.
First up: my new (and first!) tattoo. As I explain on the krama wheel website:
“Possibility of Visit,” a simple signpost I saw while exploring Angkor Wat, really stuck with me after my first visit to Cambodia. It was a poor translation in terms of pointing you in the right direction through the temple, but the literal translation could not have been more poignant…
As a lifelong world wanderer, it was a poetic reminder of all the possibilities travel has opened up for me. Clearly the phrase resonated with me enough to want it permanently inked on my body, but I sat on it for four years before finding the courage to take the plunge.
Finally, after months of researching tattoo artists, pinteresting calligraphers, and polling friends for their opinions on what getting a tattoo feels like, I realized that I had done as much preparing (read: procrastinating) as possible. I commissioned the calligrapher. I paid the tattoo deposit. I booked the date. There was no turning back.
After all was said and done, I realized that getting the tattoo was more fitting for this inaugural post than I originally intended. Yes, the words reflect my travel M.O., but so did the process. I had a vision that excited me, I did my legwork, I self-imposed a point of no return and I threw myself into the unknown. There were unexpected pinches of discomfort and the first time was frightening going in, but the long-term joy it brings far outweighs the initial fear.
Which brings me to event #2: World Domination Summit in Portland. I have been following Chris Guillebeau’s work for a few years now and have been itching to attend his epic annual gathering ever since I first learned about it. But I made plenty of excuses: You’ll never score a ticket! You can’t afford that! And most importantly: You won’t know anyone!
So I did what I knew I had to do. I pulled out my credit card and clicked the button. All of a sudden, I was going to World Domination Summit.
Fast-forward ten months to this past weekend and this introvert set out to Portland with a short list of goals:
– Learn from remarkable people
– Meet remarkable people
I was dreading the latter but vowed that whenever I had the urge to pull out my phone or find the closest corner, I would instead strike up a conversation with the person next to me. With that challenge in mind, I dove into a sea of 2,500 strangers not knowing how I would come out on the other end.
And you know what? It turned out to be pretty damn remarkable. I found myself surrounded by my people, and there is something about being among your people that makes you feel fearless and alive. Each conversation was imbued with the same energy of those I’ve had on my travels.
WDS was also a reminder that the universe does some pretty serendipitous things when you know you are exactly where you are meant to be.
Case in point, I found out a couple of days before the conference that the woman who designed my tattoo actually lives in Portland. Not only that, she was attending the conference! And so, we met.
High five, universe!
But it went a step further…
On Sunday I joined a small group of people to watch the World Cup final over lunch. I started talking to the woman next to me at the table. She was from London, loved to travel and was sharing her stories on a blog of her own. A kindred spirit! Let’s keep in touch! Hold each other accountable to write! We exchanged cards. I looked at hers and was speechless. Her blog was called Wander Well. My blog was called The Wander Well, a play on my email sign off. It had been designed yet dormant and unpublished since I bought my ticket to WDS nearly a year ago, and I was finally committed to launching it after the conference.
MIND. BLOWN. I didn’t know how to process this small world moment, but I knew it meant something. Something good and right. I just had to process it.
So I sat with it on my flight back to Austin and it finally clicked as I looked back at my original, unpublished post about my tattoo. Possibility of Visit. Yes. OF COURSE that’s my blog name.
And with that, a first post that was meant to either tell the story of a tattoo or a conference ended up weaving them both together in ways I never expected. And it was all due to putting myself out there in the world.
It takes a lot of courage to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, especially on your own, but the possibilities that each visit opens up are immeasurable. I look forward to sharing many more of my stories with you here.
Do you have any crazy small world travel stories? If so, share below and help inaugurate my comments section!