Hi! I’m Mariah. Here are a few things about me:
In 2013, I quit my job as a full-time nurse, moved out of my city apartment, gave away my car, stuffed 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 ten 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 pursue a simple life of love and adventure.
I share my journey of becoming, in all of its glory and defeat to inspire you to live your own most authentic life.
What exactly do I write about here? The people and places that have captured my imagination and my heart. The challenges of globe-trotting as a solo female traveler. I write about my passion for social justice and 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 transparent 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 realize most days I am dodging in and out of enthusiasm and love for life while also navigating the territory of grief and sadness for things that are named and unnameable. You might even discover I’m a former neurotic control-freak type who’s slowly learning that the best things in life are unplanned.
I’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.
So, what have I been up to since starting this adventure of mine? Here’s a quick recap:
I started this blog, took a leave of absence from my job and completed a two month public health internship in Ecuador.
I quit my job in March and spent the next several months traveling in the U.S. and visiting friends, including hiking part of the appalachian trail with my Pops.
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.
After leaving Ghana, I visited France one last time before flying home and completing 14 months of consecutive travel.
I moved to Nashville to spend time with my beautiful sisters and live in community.
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 mustard-colored backpack once more, and spent a month on the West Coast traveling with my boyfriend before flying to the other side of the country and working as a camp nurse in Maine.
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, I went back to Europe and spent the holidays in France with said boyfriend and reunited with some of my dearest friends whom I met through Workaway.
After a tough breakup, I spent a month living on my youngest sister’s couch in Idaho before I finally made it home home to Kansas City, back where it all started.
I spent several months dreaming and working on creating a sacred space called Love Circles (still a work in progress), an expression of the common threads of community I’ve been carrying in my heart.
I started contributing to the Workaway blog as an author and loved every minute!
I ran my first marathon in Chicago and started a part-time job working for an organization that brought me back to my passion for farmers, food, and volunteering.
I continued working for After the Harvest and transitioned to full-time position as a Volunteer Coordinator.
I became new Mama to a beautiful golden retriever/lab puppy named Maya and bought my first house!
I put a lot of time and energy working on my home and deepening my roots. The word contentment came up a lot.
In August, I went back to Europe to visit Iceland for the first time. It was an amazing trip you can read more about here.
I started writing more poetry, finished the first draft of my book and performed at my first open mic! I also did something crazy and took a Harlem Renaissance literature course just for fun.
I had my first near death encounter with some buffalo on the prairie, realized I wanted to go back to nursing (after an almost six year hiatus), navigated a lot of personal anxiety and stress (and put myself back in therapy), and really just survived.
Those survival skills have come in handy. The pandemic hit and by March we were in lockdown in the U.S.
Even through all the craziness I managed to change jobs in July and took my first full-time nursing gig in seven years working as a school nurse!
In December, my Dad passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. Grieving that loss and learning how to love through it have changed everything about my life.
Travel started to open back up and I retired my old yellow backpack for a new, pink one. I went on my first getaway in awhile to the beautiful Grand Teton National Park with my friend Lizzie.
Life really does work in mysterious ways. After taking a long break from social media and dating, I met my future husband in August.
I finished another draft on my book and even let a few beta readers take a peek!
My husband and I got married in May and welcomed baby Noah into the world at the end of June. He is the culmination of all things good and becoming a new mom is its own wild adventure!
As for what comes next, who knows?
I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it all, instead, with needle and thread sewing all of the patches and pieces together as they come.
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. 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.
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!
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! 🙂
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
Wow, sounds like some great times with fellow travelers! Thanks for the greetings and comment, Gordon!
Mariah recently posted…A Million Years
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!!!
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 🙂