I’m Steph, a Michigander turned (mostly) solo world traveler currently adventuring my way around Latin America, while my home is based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
But how did I get here exactly?
A day before the flight home from my first trip abroad, to Thailand, I canceled my ticket.
I gave up my comfortable life in favor of unknown opportunities and in search of something…. more.
Was it scary?
It was terrifying!
But I had more faith in my ability to find fulfillment, than belief in the empty promises of the American Dream.
I had my quarter life epiphany, and I didn’t look back.
I had to take a trip around the world to find what I’d had with me all along – myself.
My life wasn’t always like this.
In 2011, I graduated from Central Michigan University with degrees in Psychology and Religion. A few months later, I jumped into a marketing career at a great company with a position that was interesting and a boss that listened to me. I also worked part time as a fitness instructor. I had a pretty apartment, big Jeep, good friends, too many clothes, and could buy whatever I wanted (within reason). I was working at least 60 hours a week between the two jobs, and didn’t know why. I was content, but I never realized I wasn’t happy until I went to Thailand.
While many friends were going through quarter life crises, I was having my quarter life epiphany on my first trip overseas.
After I decided to stay in Thailand, I felt exhilarated and like I was dreaming constantly – but I knew it was the right choice.
A few months after backpacking solo through Southeast Asia, I started a new job in Bangkok and rejoined the 40-hour work week – but with new priorities, perspectives, and goals. I continued to travel every chance possible, achieving my goal to see a new city at least once a month.
A year and a half after arriving in Bangkok, something that I never thought would happen, especially in the city of Sin, did. I met the most amazing, intelligent, sweet, travel-loving man I could imagine. He asked me on a date to an Indian restaurant I’d been dying to try. It was my best (and last) first date. Ever.
After Bangkok, I moved to Rio de Janeiro with my then-boyfriend where I studied Portuguese, became an English volunteacher, rediscovered a love for hiking, and quit my remote working job to blog, write, and provide social media services full time.
…all while sneaking in time to travel as much as possible.
drinking Caipirinhas on Leme Beach
Now? I am based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, continuing to follow my passions for travel, writing, learning, and adventure while growing my freelance writing and expat life consulting career – and studying to be a counselor.
Making friends with street food vendors in Mexico City
I love my life, and you can too.
Your life belongs only to you. Getting trapped by the notion that there is only one way to live (the ‘right way’) is the most harmful illusion we can partake in. There are a million ways to make money. Work to live, not live to work.
Choose happiness. Prioritize joy. Make the leap.
You don’t need to be a full-time traveler or digital nomad to travel. Whether you are a freelancer, part-timer,9-5er, or my personal choice – expat! – you can still incorporate travel in your life (or whatever else makes you happy!) by problem-solving and planning.
Find your passion, set your priorities, design your own lifestyle, and live your best life – whatever that means to you.
It is my hope that the stories, advice, and guides I share on Joy and Journey will aid or inspire you in taking your own leap of faith in yourself.
Whether you’re looking for information about living as an expat in Bangkok, Rio, Mexico (or in general), destination daydreaming on your lunch break, or considering the path less traveled, I’m here to help.
Whether you have questions, need encouragement, are seeking advice, or really loved a post (or maybe hated it) – get ahold of me! Send me an email, leave a comment on the blog, or look me up on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter – I LOVE to hear from readers and respond to each and every comment or message.
My Travel Manifesto
I believe in travel as a catalyst for change. I believe in travel as a way to open the eyes of travelers (and locals) to other perspectives, cultures, and beliefs… while creating empathy and furthering understanding.
I believe in travel as a way to discover your dreams, to deepen your values… and to question your own beliefs.
Huffington Post: Female Travel Bloggers On The Rise
Matador Network: 11 Female Travel Bloggers Totally On The Rise
MSN.com : Top Female Travel Bloggers On The Rise
Washington Post – Tourists Really Don’t Know How to Fit in At Rio’s Beaches (to my article on Cangas)
Living Unconventially – Podcast Interview