Why did I decide to quit all to travel solo around the world for two years?


I have always loved to travel but I could only do it two weeks during a year.  As soon as I began to get a good feel for the place where I was, it would be time to return home.  And the problem was that I never wanted to go home.  I always wanted to stay longer, explore more, see more, feel more…  How could I not get enough?!  Others used to tell me how they couldn’t wait to go home just after a few days of being away… but that wasn’t me!  I always found every corner of the world fascinating, inspiring, beautiful, and challenging.  I never missed my home, my belongings, or my work routine.  I WANTED TO TRAVEL AGAIN AND AGAIN!

I can’t explain why I always felt this way.  It’s just how I was made… 

Ever since I began working as a professional I always saved money for travel.  Every year I made it a point to visit at least one new country and one new city/town in the US (my country of permanent residence).  But these two-week vacations were not cutting it!  For the past ten years I’d been dreaming about traveling long-term, and independently.  I wanted to go and explore everything that had always been on my list.  I wanted to do it all without much planning, and by myself.  I always knew that if I went alone, I would challenge myself to do things that perhaps I wouldn’t do if I had someone by my side.  I knew that going alone would incentivize me to talk more to strangers, to explore off-the-beaten-path places, and to try out new activities.   No one would be there to stop me or question my desires.  I wouldn’t have to compromise or come to an agreement about anything or any place.  I would just do whatever I wanted to do!

This may sound a bit selfish but I wanted to do this in my own terms.

So why did I wait ten years to do this trip if it was so important to me?! 

I was fortunate enough to always have jobs that allowed me to save enough money to travel.  The problem wasn’t money or leaving people or possessions behind.  I knew I would see my family and friends after the trip and they would be happy that I got to realize my dream.  It was actually about finding the right time.  Every time I thought I was ready to go something always came up, a promotion at work that I couldn’t pass up, being a new aunt, buying a place, being an aunt for the second time, another promotion, family stuff, etc.  Life just kept happening and I couldn’t commit to making my dream a reality.  I kept waiting for the right time to come.   Little did I know that changing my life by leaving everything behind to go see the world was not something that I would be able to time perfectly.  You can’t ever be fully ready for a change like that.  Sure you can plan a few things like how much money you will need, the places you will want to visit, the time spent in each place, etc. but you can never prepare for all of the enriching experiences and the amazing feelings that those experiences will bring.  Everything will invade your senses, your heart, and your soul.

If something is that important to you, then just go do it!

So what made me finally execute the plan?

It is funny how sometimes we need something bad to happen to us so that we feel brave enough to make a change in our lives.  What finally kicked it off for me was getting sick.  My immune system was slowly crashing and my body was attacked with a couple of viruses, one after another.  And all of this was happening because I was stressing.  I realized my stress was coming from my constant anxiety of always living in the future.  I was always worried about planning, reaching my future goals, what was coming next, how I could do things better, etc.  I was so concerned about the future that I was missing out on the best part of life… THE PRESENT MOMENT!

Lying in my bed for 17 days straight made me go into deep self-reflection.  I realized how precious my health and my time on earth were.   I remember asking myself this very important question:  If I were to die right now, what would be the biggest regret of my life?  The answer came to me quickly.  It would be not having done my trip around the world.   So that was it!  I decided that if I recovered, I would quit my job, rent my place, sell my car, and go on my trip.  A couple of months later I found a good tenant that would lease my apartment and I bought a one-way ticket to Bali.  Six months later I was on an airplane ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

I invite you to explore this site and check out my travel stories.  This blog is very important to me as it is my attempt to document my most memorable experiences as I go around the world.  I am so glad to finally be on this journey, and extremely happy that I can share it with you, my reader!

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Oh!  I almost forgot… why cataintheworld???  The first time I ever went abroad on my own was when I moved to Paris at the age of 21, right after college.  It was also the first time that I was creating my very own email account.  My name is Catalina and my friends have always called me “Cata” for short.  So I came up with the nickname
“catainparis” which made part of my email address.  I decided that with this trip I would be graduating from “catainparis” to “cataintheworld”.

Fast-forward two and a half years and I am back from my trip.  So what do I do now?!  I am more convinced than ever that TRAVEL, DISCOVERY, EXPLORATION are my life.  I will travel and document my experiences as I continue to see different places in the US and the rest of the world.  I hope my stories will inspire women to go traveling SOLO!  I also hope they will inspire all of you to live your dreams, whatever those are!  Remember… YOLO!!!

3 comments

  1. Amiga, que lindo que estés en Bali. Te felicito de nuevo por y detrás de tus sueños. Me encanta que vivas tu vida con mucho vigor. Te estar acompañando en tu blog.

    Abrazos fuertes y me alegro que te vi antes de irte.

    Angela Correa tu paisana

    Like

  2. Catalina. Exploring the site. Full of great shots!

    Like

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