As many (or few; let’s be honest) might have realized, half the WanderLost team has yet to make an official appearance on the site! That would be me! Jake. Ta da...
I would like to say that taking care of the site and the many of the back-end jobs have kept me too busy to write a blog, but the fact is that I haven't known where or how to start. As it is often said, “Start at the beginning.” The origin of WanderLost Travels is a bit complicated, so forgive me for wandering (pun intended) around a bit.
In 2009 I had the life-changing opportunity to travel for two months around the United States as part of a program offered at Bowling Green State University called GeoJourney. In those months, we did everything from spending a week on a private island off the coast of Georgia to running for our lives as three to four inch hail exploded around us in Texas to hiking to the top of Mount Saint Helens to butchering a buffalo in North Dakota. We camped the entire way (and earned 16 credit hours).
GeoJourney helped me realize how much there is to see in the world. I realized how valuable amazing memories truly are.
The death of a loved one is always difficult, and when my mom passed away unexpectedly in 2010, it shattered my perception of the world. As Abby can attest, I am a bit of a dreamer and my mom always knew just how to nudge me towards the things that now help define who I am. She was the one who discovered Geojourney, and she was also the one who pushed me through me doubts and hesitations that tend to creep up when life-changing events are imminent. After some time passed and the shock of her death wore off, I realized how you should never put off the important things. She was three months away from retirement and we often talked about all the places and things she looked forward to doing after retirement. Ever since then I often jokingly say I'm having my midlife crisis early because I feel anxious when it seems like my life is becoming too routine or stagnant. For a few years I experienced a weird sense that my life was on hold as I went through the motions of getting a degree, but I also felt like I needed to be doing something differently. I could not fathom doing the nine to five routine my entire life only to hope I make it to enjoy retirement, but I also didn't know any other way.
As crazy as it sounds, I didn't realize that travel and living a lifestyle you are passionate about was even possible until a couple years passed. I, like many others, assumed that unless you are a movie star, the only way to live was to get a steady job, buy a house, get married, and maybe have kids.
It wasn't until I came across some amazing people and their work that I accepted it is possible to live a different lifestyle successfully.
The final piece of inspiration I needed came from Never Ending Footsteps / Zero to Travel / Devin Graham. Seeing them not only living their lives in a way that personally drove them, but to flourish from it helped inspire me to create my brainchild that became WanderLost Travels. I highly encourage everyone to check out their work.
Having all those moments and events inspired me to seek a fulfilling lifestyle, but the most important person to this whole string of ideas is also someone you all have come to know as the other half of WanderLost Travels. Abby is the one who convinced me that my dream could be our reality. (Sappy I know, but 'tis the season for sap!) Between us, we formed WanderLost Travels in order to document and preserve our crazy adventures and future travels. Because I know how even an event or finding the right nudge (be it from the death of a loved one to discovering others who live similarly) can completely alter a life, I personally hope that WLT might eventually be that nudge for someone to find or follow their passion to lead a fulfilling life.
(And because I know Abby has to edit this for me- Happy Valentine's Day!)