One year. Wow.

One year. Wow.

Today is my anniversary.

It’s been one year since I achieved ‘escape velocity’ and boarded a plane to leave the US.

I feel like the occasion should be marked with a juicy post about all I’ve learned and experienced. But when I try to write such a post, I’m overwhelmed. I could approach the topic from so many different angles, I don’t know where to begin.

It’s been an incredible journey. I think I’ll be traveling at least another year, maybe two if I can figure out how to get the money flowing in a little more steadily. I still don’t know how long I’ll continue. I only know that if I had to stop now, I’d be terribly disappointed. I’m not tired of my nomadic life, not even a little bit.

What have I learned? Too much to fit in a blog post. I’ve learned countless lessons about the world, about myself, about life in the US, about letting go. Here are just a few, in no particular order:

  1. Most people are kind and helpful. Everywhere.
  2. There is far less to be afraid of in the world than we ever imagined.
  3. I can handle most situations that might arise on the road (so could you)
  4. It’s hard at times to keep a sense of wonder and gratitude, on the road as well as at home, but it’s the most essential element of happiness.
  5. Humans tend to define ourselves by our posessions. Villagers wear specific hats and embroidery patterns to show their tribal and family identity. Americans shop for clothing, furniture, and collectibles to find an identity.
  6. Americans, outside of a few major cities, lead very isolated lives. Our cars and homes are prisons. People in the rest of the world mostly have places they can walk to, and people to laugh with when they get there.
  7. Television is the opiate of the masses (or something like that).
  8. Ultimately, we  all go through life alone. But that’s OK.
  9. There are always beautiful things and ugly things to look at, or think about. You choose which to focus on, consciously or unconsciously, so might as well make the effort to choose joy.
  10. When you rid yourself of possessions — furniture, clothing, cookware, collections — you strip away identity, ego, and trappings of material success. The fear is that there will be nothing left.
  11. It’s essential to spend time alone, quiet, thinking. No TV, radio, cel phone, computer, chores, shopping. Try it for a day, or at least an afternoon, once in a while and see what happens. It’s insanely hard at first to be with your thoughts, but it’s incredibly empowering to become comfortable with them and see where they take you.
  12. We are always spiraling outward or spiraling inward. If you let your fears limit you, your spirit will shrink. If you push up against your fears and boundaries every day — find things  that frighten you a little and do them anyway — your spirit will  expand beyond your wildest imagination.




Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Charlotte Desorgher

    May 14, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Wonderful, inspirational post! Thank you. And I’m so glad to have been part of your journey so far – it was a privilege to meet up and spend time with you in London xxx

  • Debbie Carter

    May 14, 2014 at 6:59 am

    So proud of you and happy for you. You did it. You persevered. I know it wasn’t all fun and games and sometimes lonely but as you said it’s what you consciously focus on that is important. Looking forward to the coming year of The Soul of a Journey.

  • Rebecca Villafranca

    May 14, 2014 at 9:23 am

    This year has gone by very fast. We (my husband and myself) have enjoyed your posts, living vicariously. We have enjoyed the snapshots of your life, at time worried for your safety and enjoyed the beautiful photos. You have broadened my mind and confirmed my ideas that less is more. May you be blessed to travel for as long as is beneficial to you. Peace

  • Lauren

    May 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I’m not done with you yet, Charlotte! Maybe we can spend time together in Croatia, or Italy.

  • Lauren

    May 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Thanks, Debbie. I love you so much.

  • Lauren

    May 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    This is so beautiful. It’s an amazing feeling to know you’re reading and watching and worrying about me, and enjoying the trip alongside me. Thank you!

  • Pat White

    May 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    There should be a print and/or online publication out there that would pay you for The Soul of a Journey articles. So few people (including me) will ever have the will to do this, and all would enjoy the log of your journey as I have. Bless you always as you continue this adventure.