A Simple Reminder

As I got into my four door Pontiac packed with what was left of my belongings, my dog, and my dad a type of sadness overwhelmed me. Trying to look out my back seat to see my best friend one last time before I left made me feel like I was leaving a part of me in Charleston. As we drove out of the city I immediately knew that my most favored chapter in my life has ended. It scared me, but I was excited at the same time, mostly because I was looking forward to start writing my new one.

When I got up to Anchorage, Alaska, it was easy for me to find a job as soon as I got here. Unfortunately the position I agreed on taking wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but at that moment I just needed an income that will bring me one step closer on backpacking across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Austrailia.

After a while, bartending discouraged me, I wasn’t in the kitchen, I wasn’t cooking, and I couldn’t express who I am through food. This feeling made me feel lost, it made me question what I was doing here. Not only for myself, but for my career. Charleston was a huge factor in my passion, my inspiration, and the wonderful relationships I established. The thought of knowing I might not ever have that again kind of killed me inside. Did I make a mistake? Did I move backwards instead of forward? I forgot why I moved here.

But after driving 30 minutes back and forth from home and work I had lots of time to think. Not only think, but it gave me time to embrace the scenery and catch a glimpse of what Alaska had to offer me. I knew I wasn’t cooking, but I was eager to learn new things and to remain positive. I told myself, “Stephanie, enjoy the moment, you know why you’re here. Snap out of it because one year here is moving forward to something bigger. Just believe.” So I did just that. I believed.

I went to work with a smile on my face, looked at the tv and saw wind turbines. Behold, the symbol I needed to see, it reminds me that I’m on the right path. After that, I’ve met the most remarkable people at work. My guest inspire me, not because of their stories, but because they give me hope. Every day I run into someone I can talk to about my goals with and it makes them real. It brings them to life. It brings me to life.

Now I know why I took that job. It was to meet all of these people who have these experiences that they can share with me, to reassure me that I have to go, that I will go, and better yet, push me to indulge in a journey that will help me write my life story.

I’ve never been so motivated in my life, like I am now and all it took was a great conversation with someone who was willing to listen. Just like these:

Sharing a bottle of wine with a coworker from Turkey at 4am talking about what motivates me. About where I want to go and seeing the amazement in his eyes as he listens.

Speaking to a pilot who not only goes to destinations because of his work, but goes with an open mind and explores it no matter how tired he is after flying.

The four contractors who have seen me for 2 weeks while they were here, sharing advice on where to go and where not to go. What to prepare myself for.

The old man who came in for just a drink and asked me what brought me to Alaska, only to find out that he backpacked around Europe and that he shared the same views on positivity as I did.

The two military who have traveled everywhere and is baffled with my travel arrangements.

The guy who sat at my bar for 6 hours just taking to me because my goals engaged him. Who spent some time in South Africa and enjoyed my perspective on life.

A man from Seattle who is planning on going to Peru and told me it was about the journey. (This was ironic for me.)

And lastly the many people who tell me that if they can do it all over again, they would do the exact thing I’m doing. Travel, embrace the world and many cultures, and meet people.

I don’t want to be that person who wishes I can do it over again. I want to be that person that can share a story because I did do it. With each person that I approach, I gain something from it and it’s beautiful. It’s a simple reminder that I’m exactly where I need to be right now at this moment.

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