I’ve been a babysitter, cashier, waitress, research assistant, volunteer, geologist, ex-girlfriend, backpacker, solo-female-bike traveller and faux wife, but I’m trying hard to drop the labels. Have you ever tried to introduce yourself to a group without using labels? I find it really hard.
One label that makes me uncomfortable is adventurer, or adventurous. This is often applied to me by others. It makes me uncomfortable because my ego froths at the mouth for it, and I’m like “down, girl!” That, and because what I do with my time makes for stories and photos that I’m proud to share and that would have surprised previous versions of myself, but these experiences are possible for me because of comfort, support and privilege.
Being adventurous is about making choices, not a location. Go travel far from home—if you can—to confront your worldview and broaden your perspective, but if adventure is solely what you’re after you can find that anywhere, and there are many reasons to search for it at home. May I suggest the thrill of lingering, consensual eye-contact at a metro station, or writing the thing you’re most scared to say?
Since 2014 I’ve been travelling full time, which means that I don’t have a brick-and-mortar home, an address or in-country healthcare privileges. What I need, I must carry. The few things I want and don’t need reside in two (small…okay, not that small) trunks in my parent’s garage.
For the last three years, the travel has been bicycle-based. If you’d like, you can read about how that started for me here, on Tom’s Bike Trip.
For the last while this has taken place in African countries with my partner Evan. If you’d like to read more about Evan, his now-defunct-but-great-for-nostalgia blog, On The Road To Somewhere is a good place to start. I picked him up on the road and think he is great, which helps us live together.
That said, you’ll find if you talk to me about what has coaxed my personality into its current version, parts assertive, reckless, patient and paranoid, I’ll still bring up the chunk of my life where I was on my own—living, backpacking, bike travelling. These were things I didn’t give up lightly, and it’s bittersweet for me that they’re now buried years in my past.
I can’t say I fund this mobile life of mine anymore. Evan doesn’t pay for it, but an inheritance does. If you think I’ve snuck that in too coyly, I agree—it’s a topic unto itself, and I’ll get to it one day.
This site has photo galleries and even a few videos, but the main course is my blog, which is simply about my life: the parts that seem suitable for public consumption, and when I’m feeling brave, the parts that seem best kept to myself.
Because my life takes place in countries that not so many years ago I wouldn’t have been able to place on a map, much of the writing you’ll find on this blog is about travel in Asian and African countries, at least indirectly. Bike travel sneaks into the stories too, but not as much as you might think (or wish for…).
I started writing here in 2014 under the brand “Continental Drift-er,” a hat-tip to the geology career I was pausing to drift around. I’m a recovering people pleaser, and this was the push to blog, as opposed to wanting to express myself through writing or photography.
Given that Continental Drift-er was borne of a sense of obligation in response to “if you’re going on a big trip, you have to share photos with us,” it has been shocking to me that this blog has become an important part of my life.
When the name Continental Drift-er no longer resonated, I changed it to my own. This is one of things you’re supposed to avoid in blogging. Add it to the list: inconsistent posting schedules, erratic social media strategies, years without an About Page (you’re reading the first version!), email list, or the faintest clue about image and SEO optimization. In blogging, you’re also supposed to have a niche and a consistent voice. You’ll find here that I’ve experimented in both of those, and still am.
And it’s okay, and this blog is still here—dare I say, better than ever. Like bike travel, blogging is something I started without foresight that has stuck. It has become a consistent source of focus, excitement and challenge in my life.
Blogging has taught me that it’s important to do things because I want to do them. Obvious, maybe; hard for me, definitely.
However, I also write in public because I want to connect with you. Through the blogs of others, I’ve been confronted, inspired, have seen things differently, have felt camaraderie and have gotten to know people. It’s an amazing feeling when that happens, and one of the reasons I’m grateful for an online space of my own. Maybe something I say here one day will make you feel, too.
Thanks so much for reading!