It seems I have a new favorite place and time to announce my latest travel news – at the Los Angeles International Airport and in the evening, just before I’m about to board a plane.
What is it about airplanes that make me want to reflect? Admittedly, reflection is my default mode, but there’s more to it than that. For me, boarding an airplane is a moment in time that forms a bridge between the journey it took for me to get to a travel opportunity and the journey that awaits me in a new destination.
Tonight I’m back at LAX waiting to board one of two flights that will take me to what may just be my wildest adventure yet – Papua New Guinea.
I’m flooded with giddy glee. Surely I must be the luckiest person in the world? I feel the same way I did over three years ago when I left the United States for Europe to teach English in Madrid. After spending so many years dreaming about travel and listening to other people’s travel stories I can’t believe that now it’s me boarding a plane for adventures of my own.
That I’m living my dream gets me every time I travel. I woke up yesterday morning and thought, “tomorrow I’m going to Papua New Guinea.” Then the tears of joy started flowing. Life has unfolded with beauty and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.
Papua New Guinea is a country in the South Pacific, located just north of Australia. I’ll be exploring the country for a little more than two weeks on a business trip. I’ll be there through October meaning I’ll be celebrating my 28th birthday abroad.
Situated on the Eastern half of the world’s second largest island, Papua New Guinea is often touted as an “untouched paradise.” With more than 850 languages spoken, it’s one of the most culturally diverse nations on Earth and tribal living is still the way of life for many in the country. It’s also home to a large number of distinctive bird species and, according to the experts, some of the best scuba diving found on the planet.
I first heard of Papua New Guinea during my Junior year at the University of Maryland while reading the book Guns, Germs & Steel for a sociology class. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of the country before then and I hadn’t thought about it much sense then until six months ago when the country and my career in the tourism industry met at a crossroads.
I mean, life is pretty wild, isn’t it? A year ago I was in the rainforest of Costa Rica battling a case of bronchitis that wouldn’t go away as rainy season waged on and there was no respite in my jungle home from the damp cold.
As I headed into my 27th birthday I went home to Maryland to dry out, recover my spirits and celebrate with my family. I had no idea what would lay in store for me after my contract ended in Central America. I only had my hopes and dreams and a resume that included jungle experience.
And now a year later, I’m about to turn 28 in Papua New Guinea. I can already tell 28 is going to be great. Hey the number 28 even rhymes with “great,” which is part of my favorite quote “make it great” by Steve Jobs.
I’ll be taking a little break from blogging during my time in Papua New Guinea. I’ll be first and foremost working but I also hope to spend some time reflecting. Because as a new year approaches its time to acknowledge something else – my relationship to travel has changed.
I no longer live abroad. I no longer devote 100% of my resources and energy solely to travel. I’m no longer the person I was when I started this blog three years ago, someone who (at least it felt like) had never been anywhere.
I couldn’t be happier about all the wonderful changes that life has brought about. But my identity as a traveler is a bit mixed up really and I have some questions for myself.
What is my new relationship to travel? What does my identity as a traveler look like going forward? What are the stories I want to write about? What travel angles are most important to cover?
I’m no longer a student backpacker, but neither am I really a full on business traveler (I have way too much of a free spirit to ever be that). I’m somewhere in between.
And so I take this last paragraph to say I’ll be back with more posts when I’m 28, full of new stories and perhaps even some new perspectives to share with you here on Something In Her Ramblings.
Twenty-eight is gonna be great, but for now Papua New Guinea awaits!
Of course, as always, you can follow me on Instagram to see my adventures from the road.