Hello and welcome to AlwaysBwandering.com! My name is Brittany Swanson, B, for short.
In order to fully understand me and what this blog is all about I need you to go read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I recommend buying a copy so you can have it forever because it’s amazing, but if you’d rather borrow a copy from your local library I totally understand.
Did you finish The Alchemist already?! Wow, that was fast! Ok, awesome. As you now know, the boy Santiago has a dream about finding treasure near the pyramids of Egypt and the wise old man tells Santiago this is his Personal Legend, or reason for being. As I was reading this I asked myself, Ok, so what’s my Personal Legend? And, without hesitation I said writing. I was born to write. I even majored in Writing in undergrad, but I really only ever liked writing about myself. I had no interest in writing about things that other people wanted me to write about and writing on a deadline stressed me out, so I figured writing was probably not the professional route to take.
Instead, after graduation I pursued a career in my other major – Theatre. I moved to New York City and started freelancing as a lighting technician. About a year or so in I realized that I really didn’t want to be doing the same work in ten years. I wanted to travel. But I had student loans. A lot of student loans. So, I researched ways to pay off my student loans quickly. Enter Americorps and Teach for America. I applied to teach in the Mississippi Delta region, got accepted, and moved to Crossett, Arkansas and taught 5-6th grade Art for two years. I enjoyed my time in Crossett, but I didn’t feel like I had explored enough of the world to settle down, so I left. Originally, I planned to teach English in South Korea after leaving Crossett to save some money and use that money to fund my travels, but the thought of being stuck in a classroom again, and stuck in one place for another year of my twenties just wasn’t what I wanted, so I never applied to any jobs. I had a summer job lined up at a camp in upstate New York for kids with special needs, and I figured I’d figure out what to do after camp during the summer.
During the summer I thought about WWOOFing and going to South America somewhere so I could work on my Spanish, but then the place I fell in love with in Peru wasn’t taking volunteers at the time. Before I knew it, it was two weeks before the end of camp and I had no idea what I was doing when it was over. Then a day or two later some cliche about “seeing your own backyard” and a crazy idea about 50 States in 50 Weeks popped into my head. I realized pretty quickly how awesome a trip like that could be so I started thinking about how I could make it happen.
I could start a GoFundMe page to get started on the road and then freelance write or whatever really, to make money along the way and keep me going. I’d start a blog and write about my trip and somehow make some money through that and then hopefully at the end of the year I’d have a nice established base and be comfortable making money on the go and could start my travel abroad adventures.
Well, that was the plan anyway… Things never do go as planned. The overwhelming generosity and support of my family, friends, and acquaintances compelled me to start my trip and then just wing it. However, I quickly realized that if I had to spend time working on the road that would mean less time doing the things I wanted to do in all the places I was visiting. I had enough money saved to finish the trip without going completely broke, so I said what the heck?! Let’s do it! And I did.