The Big 3-0
Life Stuff Thoughts Travel

The Big 3-0

The end of an era is quickly approaching.
I turn 30 tomorrow.

When I entered into the decade of my 20’s, I had imagined that by the time I turned 30 I would have my shit together.
I was going to have a steady school teaching job.
I was going to have a husband,
a house,
a dog,
and two children (a boy and a girl).
In fact, I was going to be done having children by the time I turned 30, so I could be a “cool” mom.

By 30, my life was supposed to be steady and comfortable.

My 29th Birthday
The only thing “steady” or “comfortable” about my life as I enter my 30s, is that my plans are forever changing and I am constantly living outside of what most consider “comfortable” (usually by my standards as well!)

Regardless…here I am. Do I regret the decisions that got me to this place?
Hell no.

Let’s look back on my 29th year…it WAS my golden year, after all! 28 was an emotional year of chaos and trying to re-build a life that was rocked all the way to my core. As I approached my 29th year, my chaotic emotions started to stabilize and I got past my ridiculously wild phase (think what the “norm” is for college kids and slap that label on my 28th year).

I had decided that 29 was going to be the year of ME.

I started having the crazy idea of moving away to pursue dreams I was still only starting to understand. The ‘bullsh*t layers’ that had been covering up the true ‘me’ within myself started falling away. I finally understood the following quote..

I was going to JUMP out of my comfort zone. I had to. I couldn’t bare to stay in it any longer.

The result?
An epic year that set me up to launch into my 30’s continuing to chase a dream that I wasn’t completely sure could become a reality!!!

My first order of business, and my birthday present to myself, was attending Wanderlust Snowshoe where I fully flourished and decided it was time to take my “crazy” thoughts to the next level.

I’ve lived in Nashville my entire life and never ventured out to CMA Fest. Since my 29th year was supposed to consist of trying new things, I decided to go to CMA Fest…well…at least 1 day, and it was the free part! haha.

I then went to my very first “camping” music festival, Firefly. Though we only made it for 2.5 days of the event, it was still a big learning experience. I also realized that I was capable of being in a car for many, MANY hours.

I flew out to PA to visit my family and even got to watch part of the World Cup at the famous Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA. It was here that I had my first real discussion with my cousin about the idea of leaving my job to get lost, travel around, and find myself.

I got to witness my sister get engaged, then her and her fiance came into Nashville and we all went out to celebrate! Ever been to a paint party? Neither had I…but it was fun!

I made a new work out friend and we tried kick boxing! ….I’ve still never been back though..haha!

Then there was Canada. Oh, Canada. I will forever be incredibly thankful to every single person, place and thing that made my time there what it was. I learned more about myself in my 3 weeks than I probably had in the past 28 years. I had a lot of time for self-reflection, learned what it meant to trust my gut, follow my heart, and let things fall together. It was the first place that I truly felt I could be myself, for an extended amount of time…and it felt INCREDIBLE. The beauty I saw there, combined with the people and the overall vibe in the British Columbia area was what still makes Canada one of my favorite places on earth to visit. In fact, my first order of business when I got on the plane to return home, was to figure out when I would be back…and had hopes of moving there.

As soon as I got back (like literally the next morning), I started back school. I was a roller coaster of feelings/ideas/emotions, but was happy to be back with my better half!

Shortly after Canada, I met a guy. Miles. The very first thing he said to me after seeing one of my shirts that was left out in the living room was, “Wait?!? Did you go to Pemberton Music Festival???” Most people I knew had never even heard of the festival (including me, before it was brought to my attention), so we started bonding shortly after and realized we had quite a bit in common. By the end of the night (after I forced him to follow Glitter Glasses Journey on Facebook and entered my number into his phone myself) I knew that I was entering dangerous territory. I wasn’t looking for anything that might hold me back from pursuing the crazy ideas I had spent the previous 2 months developing. A relationship would DEFINITELY complicate that. Nonetheless…we kept finding reasons to text, he invited me and my roomies for an impromptu camping trip that he had planned to take by himself the following weekend, and by the following Wednesday he had driven into Nashville to come watch our friend sing. (CJ, the same friend that invited him into our house initially and who is somewhat responsible for all of this.) That night Miles caught my eye on the crowded outdoor patio at Tootsies and I told him that CJ had advised me to stay away from him (CJ knew my dating track record as well as my future plans and he didn’t want me to chase Miles off because CJ considered him a good friend). Miles looked at me, placed a hand on my waist and said something like, “I don’t know where any of this will go. I know you have your own life agenda, and I have mine. Both involve not staying here in Tennessee. The things you want to do I think are pretty incredible and I would never want to hold you back from them. All we have is now, so let’s just stay in the moment.” Well….from that moment he had my heart. Going against my “plan” I just couldn’t go a day without talking to him or seeing him.

From there…everything changed. I kept living my year of ME trying new things and learning about myself…it just so happens that I ended up doing a lot of that with someone else! I tried many things for the very first time, and the majority of those things were in huge part thanks to Miles…

….Like kayaking!

…An inaugural Tennessee Music Festival, The Pilgrimage!

…Whiskey Tasting…

…Camping (not just at a festival..we’ve gone with his family and ‘just because’)…

…and finally, Skiing!

The adventures didn’t stop. It was like the only thing that kept me sane was continuously doing things, being in nature, or anything really that made me feel like I wasn’t stuck back in my old routine…Even if it meant taking a mental health day to spend with one of my “life mentors” and let a bird land on my head!

October brought a fun girls getaway to Austin, TX with my BFF to meet up with another friend. We attended ACL Fest! It was a great adventure.

My first visit to Colorado wasn’t as awesome as I had expected because I spent over half of the trip sleeping in the hotel trying to get over altitude sickness! BUT, nonetheless, I enjoyed the time I did get to be in nature!

By November, I finally made the hard decision that it was time I took it to (yet) another level. I told my principal that I would be leaving in January to pursue my dreams. Though a large part of my heart was in that school, I bigger part of it had been caged up way too long and it was time to spread my wings and fly. Even if I might later fail and come crashing to the ground, I realized I had to at least try! The hardest part, by far, was going to be leaving this girl who had helped me get through SO MUCH in my life!

November also brought impromptu camping trips and fun photography, with Miles of course!

December brought a lot of tears as I wrapped up the end of my classes and realized I was actually leaving. I was going to miss my students and staff family, no doubt, but I had to go.

…Luckily I had a GREAT distraction, as I was headed to Mexico to spend time with my family at an all-inclusive resort.

As soon as we returned, we headed up to Illinois to spend time with Miles’ family and ended up getting a very relaxing weekend. All of us ‘kids’ spent a big chunk of our time coloring! It was perfect!

Miles and I brought in the New Year, by attending a Moon Taxi concert in Nashville, while simultaneously house sitting a beautiful house in town.

Once January got going and I actually said good bye to my job, I then proceeded to move out of the house I had been living in the last year and a half. My 2 roomies were my strength when I was the most weak. They encouraged me to find my happiness and because of their support, I felt strong enough to make my next move. I officially moved in with Miles by the end of January and started looking toward pursuing a life of travel. I struggled much more than I realized I would getting started. No one ever tells you about the “transition” when you make big decisions, but it was quite a painful process (and still is!) It’s so weird to feel SO excited about something and SO broken and sad at what you are sacrificing to pursue it.

My first BIG trip post leaving my job had to start in Canada. I had to stay true to myself! I was happy to return and even happier to find that not much had changed. I still loved it just as much as ever! Upon leaving, I still am counting the days until I get to return!

From Canada, I headed straight for Hawaii!! Ever since I was a kid, Hawaii has intrigued me, so, again, I knew I needed to go there when I left my job. Opportunity kept arising as a volunteer position with Wanderlust turned into a paying job! I met incredible people who I continued to travel on with, and my job turned into 3 more odd jobs this summer! I also managed to cross something off of my bucket list…surfing!! Shout out to Jen, who was my partner in crime in Hawaii!
I had initially planned to continuing travel, but for several reasons, I cut it early to return home to plan for future trips.

I found myself returning to Colorado for a ski trip with Miles and his friends. It was my first trip to SteamBoat, which is all I’ve heard Miles talk about since we started dating. It definitely was awesome and it even snowed the first day!

The following week, I got sick with the flu! That was no fun, so I basically slept a week before heading all the way to Costa Rica! Costa Rica was another learning experience for me as I went with a fairly new friend and another human I had never met. We had no plan or direction and ended up camping on the beach for half of our time there.

I then visited Iowa for the last time for a while to watch one of my besties play and spend time with his friends and family. I still got a bit of

there thanks to his awesome farmer friends and even attended my first country music concert as well as visited the Gothic House!

Next was Coachella…another first! I got to experience this one with HUGE thanks to my friend, Lyndsey, and thanks to camping help from a friend I met through a friend (crazy, right?). What made this festival even better? Getting to experience it with my sister and Miles.

The end of April consisted of my 2nd annual “Library Conference” with my life-assistant, Robin! It was exactly what I needed in all of the craziness and I am so thankful we had that time together (can’t wait for next year’s!)

Early May consisted of a short trip to Beaufort, SC where my friend Outdoor Yogini and I put on a pre-wanderlust event. It was called, Be Love, and was an absolute blast!

That same week I watched my sister get her doctorate! I couldn’t have been more proud of her! She worked so very hard for this amazing accomplishment.

Last weekend, Miles and I explored Chicago and attended one of his best college friend’s wedding. It was a blast!

So what’s next?

I leave to work my first Wanderlust Summer Festival Monday morning. The following two weeks will consist of lots of packing. Miles and I will be putting our stuff into storage (aka his gracious sister’s basement) while simultaneously packing his truck for the next 3ish months.

You read that right!
That guy I spoke of earlier is leaving his job so we can chase this crazy adventure together!

Since deciding to do this together, we have already faced many challenges… And we haven’t even started yet! I take that back, this adventure started the moment I fell in love with Miles!

Initially we had decided to buy small RV for his truck to pull, and even went through with buying it. It wasn’t until driving it home from Illinois that we realized it was going to cost us so much more money and time for the luxury of comfort. We sold it to a sweet retired couple that plan to use it around the southeast.
We’ve booked hotels and campsites, that we’ve already cancelled.
Needless to say, the plan is ever changing, so while I’d like to give you our game plan, I’m not sure how well we will actually stick to it.

Here is what I DO know:
* We will be moving around and in a sense “homeless” until early March (most likely).
* We are camping 80% of the time.
* We are buying a real map.
* June-early August are somewhat set, location-wise (see below).
* I have a good camera to capture everything (thanks to my mom and dad for an awesome early 30th birthday gift!)
* We are about to get REALLY close! Haha.

So here’s the ‘plan’:
We are starting in Charleston, SC where Miles is in a wedding, traveling to New Orleans to visit my sister and her wife, up through Texas and landing in Aspen, CO for a week (so I can work Wanderlust). From there we will be traveling up to beautiful British Columbia to attend my second Pemby fest. Flying down to Colorado for a concert at Red Rocks, then I’m flying over to Chicago to meet up with my sis for my big 30th birthday gift….COLDPLAY! And not just Coldplay…but Coldplay from the 9th row!!!! Then back up to Canada to work a week at Wanderlust Whistler…spend some extra time there because, why not? Then flying back to Nashville to attend 2 concerts and hitch a ride to Maryland with my parents for my cousin’s wedding.

Still with me?
The rest is up in the air, but if anyone reading this would like some visitors and you live anywhere near the places I mentioned or along our route, hit me up! I’ll find food to cook and I’ll feed you!

#GlitterGlassesJourney #ByeBye20s #Hello30s

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