All in Travel

Wild and Brave: What A Solo Hike Taught Me About Smallness

Despite the map’s ominous warning, for the first few hours I was connecting to the correct trails and trail posts easily. At each post, I paused dramatically in a power stance, looked around, and waited expectantly for the big moment to happen. It kept not happening and I was starting to get impatient, but then I got distracted by the fact that I could not see the next trail post.

I thought that was weird, but figured I’d come across it pretty quickly. I mean, I’d come across all the other trail posts pretty quickly, right? I also told myself I could always turn around at any point. I knew I wouldn’t though, because that would mean admitting failure, which I have always had an unhealthy fundamental issue with.

The Value of Boredom

When we devote our time to something, we are asking it to shape us. In the best case scenario, the time we spend in-between things on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, etc. isn’t wasting the time we allotted for work or gym or pleasure. But even if it’s taking up only the in-between-time, it’s still shaping us. And beyond shaping us, it’s making it more difficult to focus on the worthwhile when the worthwhile becomes boring.

And the worthwhile is more boring than sexy.

Falling Under The Millennial Stereotype

Two over-sized suitcases are packed full of my belongings, and I am ready to move across the world. This Texas girl is flying off to live in the suburbs of London. Indefinitely. I will be continuing my teaching career at a British school, teaching "maths." 

Three phrases I have spoken on repeat since accepting my new job are as follows:

"This is the craziest thing I have ever done." (Obviously.)

"I'll be back." (Not in a Schwarzenegger accent, but you get the idea.)

"I'm such a Millennial." (Just the truth.)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: How to Travel on a Post-Grad Budget, Part 1

It is 180,000% possible to travel on a post-grad budget, and I will defend this statement in a manner that is borderline aggressive.

The world wasn’t meant to be admired from a stock desktop wallpaper; it was meant to be experienced. This is another statement that I will defend in a manner that is borderline aggressive.

But traveling isn’t always easy on entry-level wages. Here’s how to see the world without breaking the bank.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: When You Want to Do Everything

In all seriousness, though, I felt like I had transported right back to where I was my senior year, caught in the in-between of trying to hold on so tightly to those last few months of my life as a student, and looking so forward to venturing out of it. But it brought back that old familiar, restless feeling—the same feeling I had when I got back from London, and when I first moved here—of wanting so many things and trying to figure out a way to make them all coexist.

This Is What 25 Feels Like

I told a table of friends the other night that I haven’t yet had a crisis about turning 25. I am an ambiguous dreamer, not a future goal setter, so I’ve never had a picture in my mind of what 25 would look like. I didn’t necessarily think I would be married or having babies (Lord have mercy) or hitting certain career milestones by the time I hit my mid-twenties, so I didn’t feel like I was coming up short when I blew out my candles this past December.


Coming from somebody who feels suffocated in a turtleneck, I was not about tying myself down to anything. I can’t even buy a pair of shoes without feeling like I’m signing a contract with myself. There was no reason not to take the job really, since I spent all of the past year buying Tostitos and wine and was in no position to pass it up. But I wasn’t ready to give up the dream of traveling/writing/starring in my own television show, with the “I don’t belong in khakis and I want to be free” mentality.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: On Making Decisions When You Are Afraid LITERALLY Always

I fear more than just speaking up in a coffee shop. I fear doing anything that may be slightly risky to my physical health, like white water rafting (trying to buy concert tickets when they go on sale is enough adrenaline for me, thank you very much). I fear disappointing the people around me – friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who has crossed my path ever, really (getting honked at is a truly sad occasion for me). I fear making decisions of any sort because WHAT IF I MAKE THE WRONG ONE?! (Cue the panic attack.)

Returning to the Desert: When Life Feels Dry and Despairing

I have friends who are in the desert right now. Life feels dry; hope feels impossible. Every day is the same, wandering through an endless stretch of sand and rocks without a clear sense of direction, the sun beating down without reprieve. As the infinitely-wise sociologist and author Brené Brown writes, “Despair is a spiritual condition. It’s the belief that tomorrow will be just like today.” The desert feels so much like a place of despair, a place of death.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2017

We owe everyone who has contributed their stories at least a year’s worth of lattes as a token of our gratitude, but alas, this simple “thank you” will have to carry the weight of our appreciation instead. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has written for, read, and supported That First Year this past year. We exist because of and for YOU and we can't wait for what 2018 will bring to this community. 

Here are the top 10 most-read posts of 2017. Enjoy these stories from some incredible writers.

Reclaiming the Wild

Wild. That is the name of the book I brought with me to Norway this past week. A memoir by Cheryl Strayed that was made famous by a movie starring Reese Witherspoon a couple of years back. A story about a woman whose answer to her spiraling, drug-induced, sex-addicted life was a one hundred day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. A hope for change and reconciliation with her own grief drove her deep into the wilderness of California and Oregon. The book is compelling because of Strayed’s boldness in baring even the darkest parts of her humanity, but I was drawn to it because she gracefully gave a voice to a part of my heart that I often feel the need to keep silent—the part of me that is disconnected and restless until I am reclaimed by my need to be wild.