SPONSORED – “I wasn’t happy. I knew I had to change my environment so I left to travel in 1984. It was total freedom. It’s the best feeling ever when you don’t know what’s around the corner.” It was this quote by Linda Nijlunsing that hooked me into listening to The Journey Podcast. It hooked me because it is exactly how I ended up leaving my job and career in 2006, and it the ‘not knowing what’s around the corner’ that kept me living on the road for 11 years.
Travel can be transformative. It was for me.
Maybe that’s why I love to hear stories travel that changes you and how the simple change of your day-to-day environment can sometimes be the best therapy anyone can have. Travel frees you. It frees you from your routines, what you thought you knew, from possessions, and from the limitations you put on yourself.
But the podcast episode I was listening to wasn’t necessarily a story about travel, it was a story about where travel leads you. And it led Linda into the remote Alaska interior for love.
“Alaska will feed you, make you happy, but if you don’t live by its rules, you will die.” –Linda Nijlunsing
And that’s where you hit the point of no return in the podcast, you will have to listen all the way until the end.
A Podcast about Travel that Changes You
The Journey Podcast is a new original podcast from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. They have done something that I’ve always wanted to do, create a podcast focused on travel stories. There are plenty of travel podcasts out there about travel news, trends, and how to travel or live nomadically. But there really aren’t any travel-focused podcasts telling narrative stories; as a travel lover, and an avid podcast listener, I always thought this was a big miss.
The Journey podcast is about ‘the trip that changed everything’. It highlights extraordinary people whose lives were transformed by travel. And I think what I loved about it most is it is not all puppies, rainbows, and unicorns. Some of these stories don’t necessarily have a happy ending – but each story does have an important learning that the person made.
“Bad experience is experience too” was my favorite quote from Linda Nijlunsing in the 1st episode.
I think it’s important to realize travel doesn’t always have a happy ending, but it will always teach you something about yourself.
My Transformative Journey
As I listened to multiple episodes of the podcast, I had a familiar feeling. It made me reminisce about my own transformative travel experience. My journey started in 2005, when I too knew I was unhappy and needed a change. I decided that change would be to put my adult life on hold and go completely off the rails of social normalcy, quit my job, and travel around the world for a year.
In my core I knew I was always different. I was never one to follow what I ‘should’ do; which is how I ended up 35, not married, not dating, and no desire whatsoever to have kids. I didn’t want to be normal, I always wanted to stand out for the unusual directions I took in life. So in 2005 I decided to take my ‘normal different’ and amp it up by plotting out a crazy plan. I would take a career break from my 14 years working in IT. I would quit my (very good and lucrative) job in 2006 and go travel for a year.
I know what you are thinking – that’s not that crazy – people do that all the time.
But back in 2005 is was a little crazy. Especially when it was a time in my life when I should be settling into ‘happily ever after’ and babies. And it was also a little crazy since I wasn’t really a traveler…I had just recently gotten my first passport.
Even though I was pretty terrified, in September of 2006 I left ‘normal’ behind and started traveling. My travels taught me so many things about myself that I hadn’t realized. Just simply by getting out and seeing how other people lived and what was important to them, experiencing new ways of doing things, and simplifying my life. That initial year of travel to 23 countries solo was life changing, and it was what sparked the idea of transforming my life into a travel blogger/writer.
Nearly 12 years later and my life has had a complete about-face. The only thing the same is that I still don’t follow what I ‘should’ do; I’m now 48, not married, and no desire whatsoever to have kids. After being nomadic for 11 years, I now live in a small 450 square foot studio apartment, don’t own a car, a tv, or a microwave.
Travel changes you.
Don’t Forget to Pack a Podcast
Summer travel season is upon us, and while you are packing up that bag to go somewhere spectacular (may I suggest Ireland with me?), don’t forget to download your favorite podcasts to entertain you on those long flights, days on the beach, bus rides, and more. I utilize podcasts all the time when I travel – and it was actually due to this Amateur Traveler podcast interview I did in 2007, that I decided to get serious about blogging and set me out in the direction I’m currently following.
I’m pretty sure if you listen to the first episode of the Journey and hear Linda’s transformative story, you’ll be hooked!
Share Your Transformative Journey
If listening to other people’s transformative travel stories bring up memories of your own, then why not share yours? The Journey Podcast is now accepting entries for their next podcast about people’s lives who were transformed by travel. All you have to do is send an email to [email protected] with your story about a trip that changed everything. I’m certainly considering submitting my own about my traveler to travel writer story, or even my story about how traveling with my nieces on the Niece Project has transformed me.
Or if you don’t feel like applying, then simply share a little summary of how travel has transformed you in the comments below!
Listen to the Journey Podcast on Your Next Trip!
This post was written in partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. However all opinions expressed here are my own.