This is a guest blog post from one of my travel soulmates, Emily Fielder, who writes enthusiastically about falling in love with Australia, unexpectedly returning home to trek across her native United States of America…and falling in love all over again.
People like me tend to apply famous quotes to explain their often misunderstood, meandering and location-independent lifestyles.
I will admit I have a few of my own favorite quotes too. One that best fits my situation is by Paul Theroux:
“Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life.”
After years of living, studying and working abroad, last year I found myself coming back home to the US. It was not by choice, but visas expire, things change and chances happen.
After a several-years-long love affair with Australia, I was back stateside beginning a job I had no real expectations for, but one that would unveil within in me the deep and rich passion I had for my own country.
I had spent years saying I would rather live anywhere else than in the US, but looking back even just one year later, I cannot believe how wrong I was. Now I would not trade this land, or the job that taught me to love America, for anything. My job is unbelievable.
I lead road trip tours all over the country for Trek America and Grand American Adventures.
My days involve watching sunrises at the Grand Canyon, driving thousands of miles across dozens of states, and falling asleep in everything from hotel beds to my cozy sleeping bag under a million stars.
I spend my time among incredible people from all around the world who are all in the US to experience the best we have to offer. I am a driver, a guide, an educator, a counselor, and, best of all, a friend.
I have hiked in Yosemite, bear-watched in Yellowstone, line-danced in Nashville, eaten BBQ in Texas, ridden roller coasters in Ohio, survived the drive across South Dakota, been to the World Famous Corn Palace, driven down Route 66, and enjoyed free ice water at Wall Drug.
People sometimes ask me when I am going to settle down or get a ‘normal’ job. I tend to smile at these questions. I am 25 and fully aware that I may be working the best job I will ever have at this (quite young) age.
That is a scary thought at times, because, in all honesty, I have no idea what I will do next that will ever beat the independence, thrill, challenge and immense satisfaction I get from this job.
Years ago on a plane over Argentina an older man told me that “to travel is to love something that is never ending”. The truth behind his words took some time to sink in.
Love between people ebbs and fades, but this is love, for travel and for America, I will have with me for the rest of my days.