About Me

TheBarefootBeatHi! I’m Mariah. Here are a few things about me: Three years ago in 2013, I quit my job as a full-time nurse, moved out of my city apartment, gave away my car, packed a backpack full of a few belongings, and set off for a year of travel. I made this decision because I couldn’t shake the unsettling feeling that I was not pursuing a lifestyle I believed in. My values didn’t match up with the daily choices I had been making, so I decided some re-alignment was in order. 

The last three years have been the most challenging, rewarding, roller-coaster, magical, unpredictable, heart-opening, incredible years of my life. This space is my attempt to chronicle what it looks and feels like to chase after your creative dreams, to pursue authenticity, vulnerability, and connectedness.

It’s an attempt to share the journey of becoming, in all of its glory and defeat. 

So, what have I been up to since starting this adventure of mine? Well, I completed a public health internship in Ecuador. I spent a month in Mexico traveling with my sisters and standing on top of ancient pyramids. I spent the summer in France and Spain, couch surfing and volunteering with families. I visited Morocco for a few weeks and fell in love with the spices, colors, and culture. For five months, I taught English in a village school in Ghana, where my students stole away my heart permanently. 

TheBarefootBeatAfter leaving Ghana, I visited France one last time before flying home and completing 14 months of consecutive travel.

In the middle of 2014, I moved to Nashville to spend time with my beautiful sisters and live in community.
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While there, I worked for a street newspaper, an after school program, and volunteered as an ally for farmworkers in Florida. I watered a growing collection of houseplants, and nurtured my tired heart. I learned even more about love, play, and authentic connection.

In the summer of 2015, I said a tearful goodbye to my latest home, packed my backpack once more, and spent a month on the West Coast traveling with a friend before flying to the other side of the country and working as a camp nurse in Maine.
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I finished up 2015 by staying on the road, visiting Boston for the first time and traveling down the East Coast before returning to Chicago to spend some time writing my first novel. In December, went back to Europe and spent the holidays in France, reuniting with some of my dearest friends whom I met through Workaway.
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Now, I’m home in Kansas City, back where I started. I’m taking it easy, writing, growing more houseplants, and working for a non-profit through the end of the summer. After that, who knows? I’m still trying to make sense of it all.

Lately, I’ve been dreaming and working on creating a sacred space called Love Circles that can help connect some of the dots. I’m beginning to see the common threads of community I’ve been carrying in my heart and want to help others discover their own thread of connection.

But these are just some of the highlights. A lot of stuff has happened in between. The best part about this journey so far is that it’s mostly one of inner transformation. Travel is my catalyst for change, it’s what makes me feel alive, whole, complete. Each adventure or misadventure shapes and molds me into a version of myself I can recognize in the mirror. I don’t have to separate the life I’m supposed to live from the life I want to live anymore. I hope this for you, too.
Jackson Hole

So, what do I write about here, anyway? I write about people and places that have captured my imagination and my heart. I write about the challenges of globe-trotting as a solo female. I write about my passion for social justice, and my encounters with poverty. I write about discovering community, simplicity, and love on the road. I write about the pauses in-between knowing what the next step will be, and the challenge of transition.

Sometimes shitty things happen, and I write about those, too. I write about the questions I haven’t found any answers to, about the inner struggles for balance and clarity.

It’s my promise to remain honest and vulnerable in this space because I’m learning there’s no other way.

You won’t find a lot of “Top 5” or easily digestible travel anecdotes with hostel reviews and restaurant recommendations. You can check out Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet for those. What you WILL find are practical tips and advice for your own journey, wherever it may take you. I’ll tell you what you really need to pack for a year of travel, how to budget your money, and what it’s like to couch surf and do work exchange all over the world.

You’ll find real stories from a girl who loves being barefoot and eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon. You’ll realize I’m in love with a man named Joe Purdy who plays the sweetest tunes and has the best homeless man beard I ever did see. You might even discover I’m a former neurotic control-freak type who’s slowly learning that the best things in life are unplanned.

TheBarefootBeatI’m so happy you’ve decided to share this incredible journey with me.

I’d love to get to know you, too! Please don’t hesitate to send me an email, write a comment, or connect with me online through social media. I’d love to hear from you and share in your journey.

6 Comments

  • Reply Ian April 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Mariah,

    I discovered you on Twitter and I’ve read some of your blog posts here! I’m kind of just starting out on this wonderful travel adventure (despite being quite a bit older than you! Still, better late than never), having only previously done a few trips lasting no more than 2-3 weeks, whilst you’ve been doing it for so long now. There’s a few places you’ve been that I’m intending to go (Ghana being one of the main ones) so I’m trying to get a feel for these places from you before I get there.

    I’ll be travelling round the world solo too, which will be scary, but hopefully it’ll do wonders to my self-confidence.

    Anyway, just wanted to say “hi” 🙂
    Ian recently posted…Even my bank called to check!My Profile

    • Reply Mariah April 25, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Ian! Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to answer any specific questions you might have, especially if you’re interested in traveling to Ghana! I spent 5 months there and really loved it. Good luck on your travels, and keep in touch! 🙂

  • Reply Gordon October 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    GDay from Australia fellow traveller. My teen son and I would welcome you to couchsurf with us if you make it to the land of the kangaroo and emu…We’ve had couchsurfers from 8 or 9 countries and have surfed with people in the USA, Singapore and Malaysia so far ourselves. My wordpress blog, realestatecells.com is just a hobby! Cheers Gordon and little (well no so little) Sebastian

    • Reply Mariah July 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Wow, sounds like some great times with fellow travelers! Thanks for the greetings and comment, Gordon!
      Mariah recently posted…A Million YearsMy Profile

  • Reply Colleen October 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Hi! Just stumbled across you and living in the KC metro myself, I thought it was great to see a fellow midwesterner traveling! While I don’t plan on such extensive travels myself, my wanderlust is in high gear and I have some adventures planned for myself in 2014 (SE Asia). Happy travels!!!

    • Reply Mariah October 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Hey Colleen! I would love to go to SE Asia. How long will you be traveling for? Where are you living in KC? I could totally eat some BBQ right now! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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