Two friends, Tori and Álvaro, and I had been planning this road trip for a couple of months, and it came at a very interesting time — Álvaro’s visa was expiring, and we wanted to take this road trip as a final way to see the country before he had to move back. During that time I was also not enjoying the job that I was at, since I wasn’t necessarily working with the most supportive manager or team.

It was a lot of transitional periods — I’d just quit my job, my boyfriend at the time and I had broken up, one of my best friends had to suddenly move back to Brazil — so it was a lot of loss, but I feel like the trip really did help in terms of taking on these changes.
My friend Tori and I are frugal people, so we tried to cut costs any way we could; we stayed at hostels or AirBnB’s and bought supplies to cook our meals. Showers and bathrooms weren’t always available. We had this bottle of apple cider vinegar mixed with honey and ginger that we were sipping on to help flush out any toxins.

I think constantly getting sick was my biggest challenge — I had a UTI, I got food poisoning, and I made the dumb mistake of switching my birth control right before the trip began, so I was having some breakthrough bleeding. I’d often repeat to myself, “No, it’s fine, it’s okay, I can keep going,” and I did feel like my body could keep up.

But there was a certain point where I had to give myself a break, and learn to check in on myself. There was a moment when I was in the Grand Canyon, watching the sunset take me in, and it all hit me — all of these transitions, all of the things that had happened on the trip — and I just started crying. It was the warmth that came from realizing that I am a survivor.

Diving into mindfulness and using my physical and mental energy in a productive way will take me where I want to be down the road. So I’m being open and saying “Hey, that’s really interesting” to work which is not necessarily traditional, but is still in line with who I am as a person, and is something that’ll build me up.

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