Editor’s Introduction: Mark my words, the author of this piece, Sidni Giordano, will be making waves in the travel writing and outdoor industry world. I’m lucky enough to know this inspiring girl, for her zest for life, and ability to be open to utterly screwing up and taking leaps of faith, sets her apart from most people roaming this earth. The first of many articles by Sidni here on OMM, I couldn’t think of a better one to introduce this wandering woman to you guys. For those of you with wanderlust that feels like a simultaneous blessing and curse, I think you’ll find by reading this, you aren’t alone. - Lauren
“Why do you always need to leave? You need to grow up and start doing something with your life,” said my irritated grandmother over the phone after I announced my latest plan to trek across Central America this winter.
The desire to drop everything I’m doing to venture into the unknown torments me like a perpetually dull ache in my side. I stave off this urge on a daily basis, some days more so than others.
Living abroad does that to you. It stirs your soul in such a way that you just know life will never be the same again. Once the wanderlust hits, there is no looking back. The impulse to flee at any given moment will eat away at you until you’re on a plane, watching everything familiar disappear through a tiny window as you ascend into the clouds.
The first time I stepped foot outside the country was at the ripe age of 21. I left everything I’d ever known to study abroad in Ireland. Weeks after my arrival, I fell madly in love with an Australian man, dropped out of school and backpacked across Western Europe.
I spent half a year getting lost in back alleys, hitchhiking through towns I couldn’t pronounce, having intimate conversations with complete strangers, wandering until my feet were raw with blisters, fucking in dirty hostels and experiencing impossibly perfect moments that left me in awe. I had never felt more alive.
I’ve been restless ever since. In the past year, I’ve traveled through the Middle East, rode my bike 4,400 miles across the U.S. and left my friends and family in Maryland to chase my dreams in Colorado.
I struggled hard when I first landed in Boulder. Traveling somewhere is one thing, planting roots is another. After six months of uncertainty, I finally have a great job, awesome friends, an apartment downtown, world class climbing routes in my backyard and all the outdoorsmen I could ever want to date. Despite all the happiness Boulder has brought me, ditching it all for a life of travel is the dark thought that lurks around the back of my mind. The temptation is always there.
Some days I wake up to the first couple chords of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” playing in the back of my brain. I’ll spend 20 minutes browsing flights on Kayak.com, you know, just for fun. My heart skips a beat after stumbling across a great deal on a one-way ticket to Thailand. This overwhelming sense of urgency turns me into an irrational gypsy. My inner monologue starts screaming: YOU’RE YOUNG, HEALTHY AND FREE OF ANY ATTACHMENTS! What are you waiting for? There is a great, big world out there and you’d be lucky to experience even the tiniest fraction of it before you die! Quit your job! Throw some clothes in a backpack! Just light all of your shit on fire and go get weird in Thailand!
Other days I’ll watch the sun setting over the Flatirons and stare at the pink sky until I feel like I have sufficiently saturated its beauty into my bones. I think about how grateful I am to be living here and all the opportunities it has afforded me. Stick around for another year or two. Start paying back your student loans. You literally work for one of your heroes; why leave and lose all of the progress you’ve made?
The thing is that I don’t know exactly what it is I’m chasing after. As Jack Kerouac brilliantly put it, “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”
Maybe that’s why I’m never satisfied with staying in one place, because traveling has taught me that there are an infinite number of life paths to choose from, each one offering a different realm of possibilities.
All I know is that I need to spend every waking second feeling alive – whether I’m hanging off a sandstone wall minutes away from my apartment or feeling incredibly inadequate because I’m lost in a place where I recognize nothing and don’t speak the language. I live for the moments when reality hits me with such intensity that I feel like I’m about to topple over and all I can think is, woah, this is life.