Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be back in Phoenix right now, and never would I have thought I would be so happy to be back! Words can’t describe how awesome it was to see my mom at the airport, as I had missed her immensely during my adventure because she is my best friend. After having been to twelve countries in six months, it definitely felt amazing to come home to Phoenix.
Truly, my perspective on everything has shifted dramatically. Never again will I complain about a low salary as a teacher, as I have learned how to live off of almost nothing, and to see twelve countries while doing so. Never again will I complain about how hot it is here in the summer, because we at least have central air conditioning. Never again will I complain about not being able to get what I want or need, because here in Arizona, I am so grateful to say that I am able to have anything that I want or need, plus more!
Not only is everything that I desire at my fingertips here, I am also FREE! Free to be me, free to dress as I please, free to look at whomever I please, free to smile, free to make eye contact, free to talk, yell, and act as I want, which are all things that I had never imagined could be such an issue in another place. Yet this experience has given me a new appreciation for being free to live my life as I see fit.
Here is the wonderful US of A, no one will tell me that it is my fault because of what I wore, said, or did. Here, people view me as an equal member of society, and I have just as many rights as men. Here I am free to voice any and all of my opinions and to speak my mind, live my life, and do it all however I wish.
With these realizations, I have come to many conclusions and have found many answers to what had seemed to be missing prior to having had this experience. After two disasters in international employment, including a scam in Spain and three weeks of working without getting paid in Turkey, and a super low paying job in Buenos Aires, I am grateful that I can come back and work for the rest of the school year because my principal from last year encouraged me to take a leave of absence instead of just quitting. After living out of two suitcases and a backpack, my needs have shifted in a way I never could have anticipated. Among many things, this journey has taught me how to live to travel, which is my true passion. Even more fortunate is the fact that I can almost immediately begin working and saving for my next trip!