Some people are born knowing they’d be lawyers or doctors. This person is not me.
I never fantasized over a pair of scrubs, or that open-windowed corner office, but I did fantasize about other things: cobblestone streets, sand dunes, and currency that looked like art.
I remember sitting in Journalism class, at the end of my college career, when my teacher told us the guy from PostSecret was coming to campus, so we would be playing a game . . . which involved going around the class and telling "a secret." I scanned my mind for one that was both PG yet interesting enough to share with my class. Nothing surfaced. I couldn't totally make something up, so I resorted with saying, "I fall asleep in any movie past 10pm." Which, is very true. (Yet I'll be the last one dancing to the live band—because I am full of contradictions.) Sometimes, I'll even fall asleep after a movie at 10am. Seriously. Growing up, my Mom used to threaten to stop taking me to the movies, because I always fell asleep. "What's the point" she'd say. And I'de think, popcorn, Mom, popcorn is the point. Anyways, my point is, we were going around my class saying "our secrets," when a peer actually, physically, started tearing up over the thought of graduation, expressing the bittersweet uncertainty of life after college, uncertain of what she would do. I then realized I did not have this fear. Was I emotionless? No. Cold? I didn't think so. But I've always felt an odd calm when it came to the unknown; I embrace the unpredictability of life and where it might take me. I was the girl who cried sweaty-palmed tears over learning stick shift in the Norpoint parking lot (the only way my Dad would let me drive) so I could get my license on my 16th birthday. I had always planned to go to college out of state. When it came to my future, traveling was the only certainty I had. So when her tears fell over fear of the unknown, the awareness of my comfort with uncertainty boiled to the surface of my mind. For me, graduating college meant I would finally have the one and only thing I had ever wanted my whole life: freedom.
I’ve always been addicted to freedom. And it's only once I experienced what it felt like that I started to find words to describe it. In a cabin overlooking rice fields in Bali, while my friend slept next two me, I scribbled words and words in my notebook until I found the two that matched this feeling I get when I’m on the road that can only be explained by two words:
...Orrr maybe local ceviche off the beach.
Wait, no, that’s a different feeling. *stomach gurgles*
But I do remember one night, once I graduated college and ended up back at the last place I thought I would be: my parent’s house. I was reading status updates and text messages from friends, realizing they were all starting to get jobs, and cubicles, and apartments in the city. *WAIT* my intuition screamed. Hold up. You did not just spend 22 years of your life doing all this, to go directly into that. I need breathing room. Transition time. More than anything, I knew I had choices. I didn't have to do what everyone else was doing. I had just spent the last sixteen years of my life seated at a desk, and I wasn't about to spend the next forty at a cubicle. I was free to go wherever, do whatever, be whoever. In other words, I wasn't ready to give my freedom up. But it wasn't just about freedom. I couldn't lie to myself: I knew before walking into any job interview and bullshitting my way through all the questions, I needed to actually get to know myself. More than that, I wanted to get to know myself. I had spent eighteen years in school, and while I could tell you all about Morganthatu and Macchiavelli, I knew I was far away from the core of myself. And I knew traveling, was a surefire way to find it. This "knowing" didn't come from anywhere—I had studied abroad, grew up in a family that flies jets and travels to weird places where you get food poisoning on dirt roads, and plus I'de read all the Anthony Bourdain quotes. I knew I wasn't alone in knowing traveling was good for me, I just lived in a society that told me otherwise.
Next I did what any fresh-out-of-college girl would do: I got on Facebook, and messaged my friend Carly. She was my only friend who even mentioned teaching english in South Korea and traveling after college. We met through mutual friends, but had an 8am seminar class together senior year, and she always got there early, saved me a seat and wore an orange beanie, so I knew she was reliable. "So. . .I'm thinking of moving to Australia. At least we'll be in the same hemisphere?" The next morning I woke up to a message from her. "I had second thoughts about South Korea. . .but I'm down for Australia."
So, we made the decision. . . and this decision changed everything.
Four months later, after check-in "are you still in?" calls, we arrived in Melbourne. Flying had always felt second-nature to me. Growing up flying standby, traveling was less about luxe vacations at all-inclusive resorts, and more about just going. Saying yes. Not over-thinking it. Going the distance and enjoying the ride. This lifestyle soon weaved its way into the fabric of my identity. Travel, we did. Often and frequently. We made the decision and went. Looking back, it's the experiences of these choices that I remember most, and shaped me most into not just the person I am, but who I want to be.
My love affair with the world has only continued to evolve, the older I’ve gotten. It’s in my blood to move. To seek an experience as a means to heal. But it isn't all sunshine and butterflies. Before expansion and growth on the road came my greatest struggles, all the same. Ongoing anxiety attacks in Barcelona, death, and love, and loss, and feeling that immense loneliness with no one to call on, and no one who speaks the same language. Life doesn't stop when you're on the road. And you're out there, your friends are doing their thing and your family loves you, but can’t really be there for you in the way you need. So travel rocks you to your core, too. It's an industry that's hyped up and glamorized, where the lonely and scary and gut-wrenching parts get left out in lieu of pina coladas on the beach. But I'm interested in the hole experience, not just the pretty parts. Traveling shakes you to your core and challenges your resolve and reveals your true colors—and sometimes you’re not ready to see those colors. Sometimes you think you're going on a trip to become your best self, and what you get is rock bottom. Sometimes you've hit rock bottom, and needing a pathway to heal. Regardless of where you're at, traveling will help get you there.
And the thing is: On the other side of the struggle, and pain, is where the magic lives.
The rapid transformation; reinvigoration with life. There’s a rumble in your belly. The feeling of being alive again, every inch of you. Your world opens and you evolve and find yourself in an all-new way. And then one day you realize you’re more than okay: you’re happy. And not just kind of happy. The happiest you’ve ever been. And it’s all because you said, “yes.” Said yes to getting on the plane. To adventure. To yourself. You took the leap into uncertainty, and the world gave you back everything you could ever imagine. This is the wave of the spirit run, and it's the ride you'll remember your entire life.
But what happens when you return? When you're back in your hometown, or at a next crossroads? How do you integrate all you've learned, and let it shape who you are? When I returned to Seattle after almost two years in SE Asia and Australia, I started working in editorial at Seattle magazine. I started a punchy new column called The Makers, and started shooting photography as well. I worked at a photography studio, as a copywriter, while getting really into yoga and doing my yoga teacher training. I was doing all these creative things, which I loved, but there was always something missing.
This time, it wasn’t just the pull of the road: it was a desire to share the road. To help every person who thinks they can’t, and show them how they can. And that’s where Wild Rogue was born. The name came from when I was traveling, finding a way to describe this feeling. “Wild” is the journey inward, it's our rewilding. Reconnecting to your true nature, intuition, your most natural state. It's when you're stripped of your conditioning and start to learn everything new again. “Rogue,” on the other hand, is going outward, and doing it your way. Diverting from the pack with a confident fire and grace to chase something you believe in. It's embracing a different way of living, and creating your own path.
Wild Rogue is about finding yourself inside a place.
It’s reimagining travel—a place where a woman can turn when she feels alone in the world. It’s about overcoming the fear of the unknown, helping to guide her through the process, into the world, and ultimately into herself. It’s about using travel as a way to heal and restore, and a vehicle to become more of the person you already are. And it’s about creating a space she knows she can belong, and to comfort her when she’s feeling alone in that new country, when her friends & family don’t get where she’s at.
Because anybody can stay awake.
But only a few people will actually live.
And this website is for those who want to feel alive.