Not All Who Wander Are Lost

In 2008, my then-boyfriend George and I took a year-long sabbatical. In the first month of that trip, we went to the Nomads Hostel in Auckland, New Zealand. The tagline of the hostel was “Nomads: Not all who wander are Lost!” I took a deep breath and thought, “maybe, I will survive this adventure.” Although I had traveled extensively prior to meeting George online, I had never done so with so little pre-planning. Years of traveling while working on a cruise ship meant I only ever unpacked once. I did not carry my things around and wonder where I would lay my head and, as George told me during our travels together, there would be no chocolate on my pillow!

I did adjust to wandering and wondering and not minding (well nearly not minding) on the two nights when we did not have a place to stay. Surviving one of my greatest fears (of having nowhere to stay) along with being ill in Indonesia at New Years made me realize I was handling all the sabbatical year could dish out.

Getting engaged underwater in Thailand on our two year anniversary was a highlight of our trip and one of the main reasons we returned to Los Angeles was to get married! While we were home, we also were selected to be the hosts for the 2011 Meet, Plan, Go! nationwide event, where we met so many wonderful travelers and new friends.

During our three years in Los Angeles, we always remembered the feeling of our first night back when we contemplated our return. I asked George that night, “how did we get here?” He replied, “we got on the wrong plane.”

In July 2012, we corrected our “mistake,” and got on a flight to Bali for the beginning of sabbatical year number two. I wish I could Skype with myself back in 2008 and share how life has changed. Before our first trip, I was unsure if our relationship would endure the trials of being on the road and together 24/7. Now I know that it thrives on all this time together. Recently, George and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in Fort Cochin, India on December 19, 2012. We had talked about going to India and Myanmar on our trip in 2009 but did not make it to either place then but both were priorities for year #2.

Having another career break has been great for our relationship and for our website! When we traveled in 2008-9, I sent a newsletter once a month. I had left behind many former students who wanted to know where we were and what was happening in which countries. I was surprised at the responses. People seemed genuinely interested in our voyage and what we were learning on the road.

In 2010, I started a blog on Blogger and wrote every Sunday. Several “helpful” people shared how writing only once a week, I would never get anywhere. I explained, “since I am nowhere now, it hardly makes a difference.” About a year later, we added a weekly website and in March 2012 made the leap to WordPress and publishing nearly every day.

During all of my travels and teaching, I have always written in a journal and written letters but now I also write articles that get published. 2012 has been the year of media for me with an appearance on National Television, a photo shoot for a National Magazine and a recent article in National Geographic! I loved it when my bio for National Geographic Intelligent Traveler called me a “Travel Writer.”

For our next project, we are hosting a travel writing contest on our site. This competition is free to enter and offers cash prizes and a raffle with travel literature from incredible published authors. Our theme is Inspiration: A Place You Love. We’re accepting submissions through February 14 – all the details are available here.

Lisa Niver Rajna is spending the year in Asia with her husband (both of whom are members of the Traveler’s Century Club and Huffington Post Bloggers). Follow their adventures at wesaidgotravel.com, on Twitter @wesaidgotravel and their Facebook page.

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