I did not wake up one day to feel that I caught the travel bug. It has always been within me. I did my first travel abroad with airplane when I was nine months old, and I had already been to the neighbour countries by car then. My parents classified as DINC’s (double income no kids) throughout the 80’s, until I was born in 1989. They used to travel abroad two to four times a year and they continued to travel with me and then also my brother who arrived almost five years after me.
Both my parents grew up on islands, my dad on the Swedish west coast and my mom on the Norwegian west coast, and they both felt the urge to discover more of the world at an early stage. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I did catch the travel bug one day after all, maybe I was just to young to remember. What I’m sure about is that I got it from my parents.
Traveling sure is a privilege and I am well aware that the majority of the world’s population are not able to travel. It is important to keep in mind, but you should at the same time also enjoy the fact that you are able to. See it as an opportunity to grow, to learn, explore and get to know other people and cultures in different places.
I have as we speak lived, studied and worked in eight different countries outside my home country, Sweden. My first longer period abroad was as a high school exchange student in the U.S, back in 2007. Returning to Sweden after those 10 months didn’t feel right. So right after graduation I left on a working holiday to New Zealand and became an Au Pair. Later on, I worked within the tourism industry in Venezuela, Ecuador, Greece, Spain and England. After almost six gap years I decided that I wanted to study again and did so for two years in Sweden. Due to the travel addiction I have I welcomed the chance with open arms to do my last year in Ireland.
In my mid-twenties, I came up with the idea to set up a travel goal for myself and decided that I was going to reach 50 visited countries before I turn 30. Here I am, turning 29 in about two months and I am up in 49. Next country on my current backpack trip is Ecuador, which I have already been to. So, Peru will be my 50th, which I am super excited about because it has been on my top five dream destinations since I was around 15 years old.
Making this goal come true haven’t meant that I have been chasing new countries just to tick them of though. The thought of this goal became clear to me when I realized that I enjoy visiting unknown places that I have never been to before. Even though, there are still both countries and cities I have visited several times since. Take the U.K or Ireland for example, which I have visited 10+ times during my twenties.
While I was studying in Ireland I stumbled over an opportunity to start working part time as a freelancer beside my studies. The best part was that it was within tourism, which is the field I studied both in high school and university. Therefore, I continued with this when I moved back to Sweden and after about a year I realized that I would be able to travel around while working remotely.
My dream of backpacking through Latin America did therefore not seem as long gone as it had before. With my savings in my “travel account” (yes, I have different saving accounts) and my freelancing I decided to book a one-way ticket to the American continent and started off with visiting the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) before moving on to South America. Right now, I’m in Colombia and have just started my so called “who knows how long of a trip” and it feels great. I will be traveling solo for about six weeks before I meet up with another Swedish girl (who I have never met before) and travel with her for nine weeks before continuing solo again.
I have enjoyed it all, all through my different travels, but I’m not going to lie. There have been moments where I have asked myself why I keep doing this, why do I continue to leave my comfort zone at home for the unknown and sacrifice things that others my age have. I know I do it because I love it and because I can’t picture myself living without the experiences I now have. I do wish that I someday find the exact right balance for me though. I do also want a family one day, but not if it means that I won’t be able to continue to travel. I am however willing to adjust my traveling accordingly, but I will never give up on it. Travelling is the love of my life, a love that will be by my side forever.