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My Own “Eat, Pray, Love.”

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.” – Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat, Pray, Love.

NO, I am not having a relationship crisis, or any real crisis for that matter.
I just need to go.
Three months ago, I left my job for the cautionary freelancing world. So far, it’s been feast, not famine. I’m paying bills, going on trips whenever I want, and still juggling numerous accounts and learning to organize and manage my life in a professional way.
However, with this freedom to go anywhere, I find myself wondering why I’m staying put more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, I love Colorado, and am so excited to spend another summer here, but after that, I need to be on the move.

Photo: Laurie Tewksbury // at Mt. Evans

I feel like I have waited my whole life to do this, and I have finally created a situation for myself where I am able.
Let me pause for a moment, by the way, and speak on the topic of how lucky I am to do what I do: 
Lately, I hear, “you’re so lucky!” from people when I tell them what I do for a living. Luck has nothing to do with where my life is right now. There is nothing lucky about how I’ve figured out how to break away from the 9-5, learned new skills to create a career for myself, and pushed myself into burning midnight oil & waking up early instead of sleeping in to make things happen. I knew that I wanted this, and knew it would mean having to create a, “no turning back,” attitude for myself.
Which meant waking up early and not sleeping in until 10am anymore (yeah, sleeping in is 10am for me now).
When you wait for things to happen to you, you have no choice but to settle for whatever comes your way.
If you want the dream life, don’t think dreaming about it will get you there. That is definitely step one, but you’re going to have to work incredibly hard — harder than you probably ever have in your whole life. I’m putting in longer hours, having to really think outside the box, and am challenged everyday in my job now.
But I love it. Every second.
I also have many seconds where I wonder what I have gotten myself into…but those pass quickly!
Ok, back to my Eat, Pray, Love situation: 
My solution to ease the feelings of needing to move around I have is simple:
Pack up.
In August, I will be throwing all my things into storage (or selling them), finding someone to sublet my place in Golden, and then head to Louisiana to take my cats, Wizard & Howl, to stay with my sister. After dropping the cats, I’ll head to Texas to be with my parents and boyfriend for a couple of weeks until I depart to…
This will be my second trip to Iceland and I am stoked.
From there I will go to Bergen, Norway >> Stockholm, Sweden, >> Helsinki, Finland.
I’m using Traveller’s Point to make a visual map of my plans, as well as CreateTrips to create a list of things to do so I can manage my time well while I’m visiting new countries.
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Those are the flights I have booked so far. I’m building this trip little-by-little. I’m using Skyscanner to find the best deals and being flexible with my dates, which really makes a different. (No airline credit card points here – I am rebuilding my credit and don’t qualify for the good ones yet).
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My intention is to romp around Europe for the month of September, if not longer. I’m going to be writing, working and blogging while I am there, which is the whole reason I have chosen this life of freelancery (I just made that word up – and it’s oh, so perfect).
Because I work in the industry of online digital marketing, you bet I already have a #hashtag for this thing created: #Europiphany.
I’m pretty scared, but I know if I don’t do this, I will always want to. So here we go!
Where should I go? Should I avoid anywhere specific as a solo female? Should I take a rolling carry-on or a 40L backpack? What tips do you have for me? I’m new to long-term travel! Comment below!
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  • Reply tim-z

    Backpack for sure – it allows you to be more flexible, which is really the only tip one ever really needs to follow! Long-term travel is best served by going slow and traveling light, and of course keeping your wits about you. Be present, avoid the pull to wifi as much as you can, keep a journal, listen to people's stories, choose the advice of locals over guidebooks, and don't be disheartened if you don't get to see/do everything in a place – you can always go back!

    May 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    GREAT tips. I keep hearing, “don't take a suitcase; take a backpack.” Since I'll be working while over there, that's when the wifi will be around. Otherwise, I'll be too busy taking things in and writing, for sure. 🙂

    May 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Savannah Wishart

    Hi Tiffiny! It sounds like you're about to take off for an awesome adventure!

    1. If you need to sublet your place still, my boyfriend and I might be interested! Is a couple allowed? A dog? 🙂

    2. As many times I've been to Europe, I haven't been to Scandinavia… so jelly! I've vowed that next time I return, that's where I'm headed. I've just caved into the talk of how expensive it is, but hey, who cares!

    3. Have you compared SkyScanner to STATravel? I use statravel, so I am curious. 🙂

    4. DON'T TAKE A SUITCASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Omg, I can't stress this enough. The first time I was backpacking around Europe, I had a big big backpacker-backpack. I could pick it up, I didn't need to avoid stairs (and hey, AWESOME butt workout for backpacking up stairs). Then when I lived in Europe for a while, of course I took suitcases because “I was never coming back.” This worked ok because I was somewhere for a couple months at a time. And when I decided to travel somewhere else for a month and didn't need to bring stuff, I was lucky to have made some friends to leave everything with. THEN, most recently, I decided I was moving to Europe again.. and went to Amsterdam, Portugal and Morocco November-February. In deciding my bag choices, I thought of the time I was in a crowded water bus in Venice with my giant backpack and with no room to shuffle to put it on my back, awkwardly dragging it out and being an inconvenience. I thought about how my professional photography equipment would be a hassle in a backpack mixed with clothes, and how would it even fit? So I brought a carry on and a large suitcase and my camera backpack (so much stuff because I was thinking I'd be there for several months and through multiple seasons). I immediately regretted it.
    I mean, first of all… if you're thinking you'll be somewhere for multiple seasons, just bring the season you KNOW you'll be in! Plans change and you can always buy something cheap if you really need to. I was trying not to spend unnecessary money, so for some reason hauling around things I didn't need for a while seemed like a good idea.
    Dragging a suitcase along cobblestoned streets is a pain in the butt. And a pain in the arm!
    A lot of places don't have elevators. So you get to carry a giant suitcase or two all the way up. And that means you have to leave one unattended at the bottom, and the at the top when you go down to get the other one. My little apartment in Amsterdam had no elevator but a tiny steep set of stairs… Morocco sure has heck had no elevators or escalators. Portugal had no elevators. Poor planning on my part. 🙂 Morocco especially… one because there is nothing but stairs. Anywhere. And secondly because you want everything strapped to your body at all times.
    Ok, I think that's all I have to say about backpacks. 😛

    5. As for places to go or not to go, everywhere I've been in Europe has felt super safe. When I went at 19 and was alone, I wouldn't stay out at night in the cities. I have BIG problems attracting unwanted men when I travel. :/ Whatever you do, don't go to Morocco on your own. And if you do, don't take any invitations from men into their seemingly tourist-friendly shops. Because they'll try to rape you. From what I hear, all of Scandinavia is super safe. I have a friend in Stockholm if you want a connection. 🙂

    6. I agree with getting tips from locals. You can meet people from Spotted By Locals, which is fun. Couchsurfing has some meet-ups (I met a bunch of awesome ladies at an Eiffel Tower picnic). Personally I hated my experience of couchsurfing when it comes to accommodation.

    Sorry for the novel. Maybe I need to write a blog post about this, haha. It sounds like an awesome trip! This is my 5th month being in one place in CO and I'm ready to get moving again. Maybe I'll follow you. 😉

    June 19, 2015 at 8:52 pm
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