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Taking a break from my standard recipe posts for a bit of a more personal post today!
You may not know this about me, but aside from food (& drinks) my biggest passion in life is travel. I have always loved to travel and I knew that once I became an adult travel would play a huge role in my life.
Let’s back track back to 2012. After only 2 years of your standard boring office job in DC, I was ready for a major life change. This could not be all that my life would be about for the next 50 years. Being chronically exhausted, bored out of my mind 40 hours a week, and being able to only treat myself and enjoy my time two days a week, or three weeks out of the year? Does that sound like a good time?
Uh uh, not to me it doesn’t. I mean, nothing against office jobs – if you’ve found your calling, your passion and it happens to be in an office environment that is great, for me, that wasn’t happening.
I knew there had to be a different way. A way to break free, to restructure my life and take a big risk, doing something completely different.
A two year backpacking trip across Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand sounds like the perfect idea. Now this was a lifestyle I could get behind. A real adventure. A way to leave my comfort zone and start exploring.
Not going to lie, this required a whole lot of planning, and saving. Each month I set aside the maximum that I could (around $1000 a month), limiting all my weekend and extracurricular activities. No more fancy cocktails at rooftop posh bars.
Better to save up and have a glass of wine at home. No more runs to Starbucks every morning. Much better to make your own iced coffee at home with SToK™. And trust me you definitely need a lot of coffee when planning a 2 year backpacking trip that covers over 20 countries on different continents with vastly different geographies, sights, attractions, activities and prices.
Have you heard about the latest in coffee trends? It’s cold brew coffee. Exactly as it sounds; instead of using hot water the coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for a smoother and less acidic flavor. You can find SToK™ at your local Walmart in the refrigerated aisle close to the other milk and coffee beverages. Their motto is low and slow 10 hour brew, with a medley of different flavors offered, or my favorite the classic, unflavored.
I love the taste of it. So smooth, so bold, so refreshing and if you’re like me you don’t like to make a mess at home with coffee grounds, waiting for them to steep, them clogging the drain with them. No thanks. Let SToK™ take care of all that.
You just sit back with a tall glass of SToK™ cold brew iced coffee and start planning your next life adventure.
Although a 2 year long backpacking adventure (which in my current life has turned into a 4 year travel getaway) isn’t for everyone I do high recommend taking some time to really think about what it is that you are looking to get out of life. With a clear cut plan you can make your dreams happen. If it’s a matter of finances follow some of my tips to help save up:
- Limit long nights out, or skip the fancy cocktails for happy hour discounted options or domestic beer
- Limit going out to eat and make home cooked meals instead
- Pack your own lunch
- Instead of picking up coffee at a café daily, purchase a 48 ounce bottle of SToK™ at your local Walmart and make your own cold brew iced coffee at home (that 48 ounce bottle makes 6 cups of coffee for $4.54, versus paying $3 a coffee at Dunkin Donuts)
- Stop purchasing clothes, jewelery, homewares, etc
- Limit all shopping to the necessities
- Look for discounts (Groupon, magazines etc) when you are going to be buying things
- Shop in bulk
- Get a second part time job (become an Uber drive, sign up for DoggieVacay, etc)
These are all the tips and steps I took in order to save up the money that I needed over the course of 1-2 years in order to live the life of my dreams.
I knew I was not meant to sit in an office day in and out, and I worked out a way to get out of there as soon as possible. While my 2 year backpacking trip was just meant to be a hiatus from the traditional US working life, what it did was open my eyes to the fact that I couldn’t go back, and didn’t have to. By traveling I was able to take the time I needed for my own self inflection, to discover that I wanted to work for myself and make a business out of my blogs (this food blog, and a travel blog).
If you’re looking for a life of adventure or a new hobby (photography, rock climbing, etc) you have to start taking small steps to get there. And if you can’t just jet off to unwind, make sure you give yourself time in your every day life for a moment of reflection – to set goals, plan out what you want to accomplish for you (perfect time to make a cup of cold brewed ice coffee with SToK™ too).
For me travel as much as coffee awakens the senses and brings you to life, making you feel alive. In the same way that a cup of coffee is a refreshing and welcoming start to the day, travel is just the same. Both coffee and travel energize you and make you feel alive. And with a bit of a life adjustment and some thorough planning, you can take charge of your life and make sure that your dreams and aspirations are not discarded, but embraced.