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I Went Broke Trying To Live My Best Life

Some are born with the gift of gab, but I was born with the gift of wanderlust.

Her Voice

Some are born with the gift of gab, but I was born with the gift of wanderlust. Travel is ingrained in my blood.

My travel bug has always remained present, but it became more difficult to take on the extra expense once I transitioned into the world of adulting. Without hesitation, I made it a point to gain fewer possessions and more experiences the minute that I landed my first salary paying position, taking advantage of every holiday and every day of PTO. That meant taking every possible opportunity to travel, which was undoubtedly amazing.

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As I write this, I'm more ready to see the inside of my own poorly decorated plaid-clad living room than any other exotic destination. I'm dehydrated. Oversocialized. Broke. And more than ever, I'm realizing it's time to make the necessary changes. I write to you humbled, once and for all.

I can't tell you if rock bottom was sleeping in a Motel 6 bed with four other women while on "vacation," or sleeping in the airport in order to save money while awaiting the departure of my cheap flight, which was scheduled a day after everyone else's. I only know that if this is rock bottom, I've hit it. And God, I'm ready to listen.

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Although ESSENCE had been planned many months in advance, the final details hadn't been solidified just before arriving, admittedly leaving me with several opportunities to bow out. Despite my gut telling me to do so, I ignored it and in the end, I found myself paying rent late while leaving the festival with a literal dollar to my name.

For the past few years, it was fun to live on the edge and push the boundaries of my bank account. When I got laid off a couple of years ago, I had clearly forgotten how to humble myself and revert back to the days of penny pinching.

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However, the exhaustion of trying to pull this trip out of my ass as a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat has forced me to reevaluate what I consider fun and this just ain't it.

The realization that I have to find fun outside of my wanderlust is not an easy one, because it leaves me feeling as though I've regressed far too much for my liking. Every day since being laid off, it feels as though I'm living in limbo and a continuous state of uncertainty. This feeling comes despite knowing how miserable I was in my previous paid position and my bold decision to pursue Master's in Human Sexuality and fulfill my true passion. Yet, it's one that I can't shake.

There's this anxiety surrounding my almost-permanently zeroed out bank account (and that's being generous) that makes a part of me wonder if I'm destined to live this struggle life for the rest of my days.

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Traveling was the only thing that allowed me to escape all the scary changes that were happening in my life, and helped me avoid making any further changes.

The reality is that I haven't had a saving account since I've been out in the world alone, (New York will do that to you) and off the strength of that alone, it's safe to say I've been living my best life on borrowed time. I quit my serving job because it was another soul-sucking job that I could live without and deep down, I know that the only option for me is being the boss. With these realities and desires in mind, I have to figure out a way to reframe thoughts that I might have somehow failed myself and my bank account, and will continue to if I do not learn the art of balance.

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Traveling went from being my identity to my security blanket because I made all of these decisions in an effort to better myself without truly understanding that it would take a certain level of commitment, patience, and responsibility.

After all, if I'm too broke when I get back from my trip, I can't possibly invest in my brand. If I can never do that, then I can never fail. So what I can't afford to do is continue to budget vacation based on the overused logic of capturing experiences.

There's this irrational fear that if I don't book the flight, it might never happen and it forces me to believe that it's my mind's way of vocalizing my subconscious fear of failing at everything I set out to do when I gave up my old life. What if everything I thought I would be by escaping miserable jobs turns out to actually be nothing?

With all this in mind, I'm currently trying to talk myself down from the ledge and convince myself that my decision to temporarily settle down doesn't mean never traveling again, and it certainly doesn't make me any less spontaneous. It only means that I'm taking control of my fear and accepting accountability for creating the future that I so badly want.

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For me, that future looks like being able to travel first class like a boss because I will, in fact, be the boss. I'm grateful that my ESSENCE Fest trip was filled with empowering women doing exactly what I want to be doing, some of which who started off as broke as I am today.

This lifestyle change will not be easy for me, because it feels like I'll be waiting forever to reap the benefits of delayed gratification. But, it's the major key to unlocking the real life that I want and doing so forever...instead of for the moment and #travelgoals.

Originally published on July 24, 2018

Featured image by Getty Images

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