9 Ways To Travel The World For Free (Or Even Get Paid To Do It!)

Thought Catalog

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When I turned 18, I decided to move out of my parents’ home. I wanted to see the world, but I had no money at all. How could I travel the world when I was totally broke? But I also believe our dreams can come true when we set ourselves up for success. I found ways to move around despite my lack of money. I hope I can open your horizons a bit and inspire you to find creative ways of getting paid to travel, or at least to cover some (if not all) of your travel expenses.

Work As An Au-pair

An au-pair (literally meaning an extra pair of hands) is usually a young foreign person between 18 and 30 years old, who wants to travel the world, learn a new language, experience a new culture, and live new adventures. In exchange for that, they offer a maximum…

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i have been my own worst enemy.

So I leave for France in like, 4 days… HOLY SHIT.

I have been so stressed out the last few weeks, and I didn’t even realize just how big of a toll it’s been taking on me. I feel like a crazy person for reals. I should be feeling full of excitement and happiness and all sorts of feel good stuff, but instead I feel void of every good feeling there is to feel. I’ve been having migraines, muscle aches and pains, stomach trouble, you name it, for the past couple months and I am FINALLY realizing that it is stress-related. Wow.

My stress has been manifesting itself (very) physically and I don’t think it hit me until I woke up at 3 this afternoon. I had to call in sick to work, for the millionth time, because I woke up feeling like shit and throwing up. This isn’t the first time. I’ve had to call in because I seriously could not get out of bed no matter how I tried. I have been going to the doctor to deal with anxiety and depression, I have been doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I recently took a personality inventory (MMPI) with a psychologist to be evaluated for adult ADD/ADHD, I see a chiropractor for my back and neck muscle issues…

I’m too fucking young to feel this damn old!

I am so ready to get started with my Whole30 plan when I get back from France. I am seriously committed to doing this because I am hoping with all of my heart that this will be the answer to some (if not all!) of my “problems.” I just want to feel good again. I want to do the things I want to do and not end up doing them because I get so down on myself or I don’t feel well. I don’t “feel well” most of the time, actually. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days where I feel pretty darn good, but they are few.

Fuck, listen to me have a pity party for one here… 

I am ready for a change. Is this what I needed? Some self-inflicted rock bottom of a place that I can finally realize that it’s just me that’s been in my way this whole time? I’ve never been one to complain to others about my obviously self-inflicted problems, but isn’t that one of the reasons I chose to start a blog? I wanted to inspire and motivate not just myself, but hopefully some poor soul out there that’s searching for meaning and direction like me. It’s not going to be an easy process by any means, but I am determined to be happy again if it fucking kills me!

I can do this, right?

Imagemeow.

 

whole30… who’s with me?!

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I have finally found something that has me inspired from head to toe! 

According to their website (click image to get started!), they tell us to, “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” It’s for 30 days, which isn’t so bad, and many, many people just keep going!

Holy shit, that sounds amazing. Am I right? This is what I have been searching for. I need a “reset” because my relationship with food sucks and I am also hoping it will take care of some of my ailments (anxiety, depression, tummy issues, sleeping problems, etc). I don’t really care much about losing weight, which is good because:

This is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change. BIG difference.

Seriously check this shit out. I will be starting when I get back from France. I think I managed to get Mama on-board, although the no dairy thing means no coffee creamer for her coffee (you can use coconut milk though!). Other friends backed out on me saying they couldn’t give up bread or dairy or alcohol, but immediately followed up with, “…but I’ll support you!”

Cough, cough, bullshit…

Trying to get Boyfriend on-board too, since it would be easier if he participated too, and if ANYONE needed a nutritional reset, it’s this guy. He seriously eats like crap every day, unless I make a meal for him. Burger King and McDonald’s are his best food friends.

And he wonders why he always feels like crap… hmmm…

I am so excited to get started that I am going to start dipping my toes in the water and get a head start! I am buying the book, It Starts With Food, as soon as I finish this post, and I am going to start weening myself off of the things I can’t have (see the list here). Obviously the Oscars are tonight so I will be drinking plenty of wine, but Monday is gonna be my bitch.

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meow.

this is how i sunday.

Ah Sundays… I love ’em and I hate ’em… 

REASONS I LOVE SUNDAYS:

brunch, sleeping in, naps, mimosas, Irish coffees, lunch dates, cleaning, snuggling, sunshine (usually), reading in said sunshine, walks, going to the dog park, planning and organizing for the week ahead, drives (obviously if you don’t live in the snowy tundra), old movies

REASONS I HATE SUNDAYS:

Monday is the next day.

 

Such a love/hate relationship, but at least the good outweighs the bad, right? Right.

I’m down for some thoughts on additional Sunday activities! I love to try new things. xo

What a busy week I have had. I’ve been putting together a Pinterest account to collect my ideas, inspirations, whimsies, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Seeing as how I am sooooo new to this whole blog thing, I thought Pinterest could really help me out! We shall see where this takes us. http://www.pinterest.com/birdielynette/

We spent our Valentine’s-slash-President’s Day weekend roughing it at the cabin in good ol’ Grand Rapids, Minnesota. It’s our happy place; Boyfriend and I both wish we could live there year-round. We both dream of having a farm in pretty much the middle of nowhere and being as self-sufficient as we can.

Le sigh…

I need to focus on my upcoming trip to France! It will be in exactly one month from tomorrow! I ordered the CUTEST bag to be my personal item or whatever. SO FUCKING CUTE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/303148618639750541/

I’ve been pinning things about traveling in Europe and efficient packing and whatnot. I’m kinda learning a lot! It is making me reeeeeeally want to do more overseas traveling, but I think I just need to focus on this trip. I tend to get a little too excited…

Welp. Bedtime is upon me. Time to have a cup of chamomile and lavender tea.

Bonne nuit!

hoot hoot hike

Ahhhhh Sunday… 

Definitely one of my favorite days of the week. Sundays are perfect for naps, sleeping in, brunch, more naps… you get the idea. But today is not a typical Sunday here in ‘Merica, is it?

The answer is NO.

It’s “Super Bowl Sunday” today. I could care less about the football, but I usually love the commercials. However, we don’t have cable in our new apartment soooo I can’t watch those commercials. Or the “Puppy Bowl.” I always seem to miss that, even when we had cable…

I chose to celebrate “Superb Owl Sunday” today because basically, owls are the shit. I’m a (new-as-of-xmas) member to the fantastic National Audubon Society and basically all I’m going to tell you is you need to check out their article about it (I’ll post it below).

BUT FIRST!

You HAVE to watch the Colbert Report’s coverage of “Superb Owl Sunday:”

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/432583/january-28-2014/spotted-owls-vs–barred-owls—david-yarnold

Check out Audubon Magazine’s article and realize what you probably missed out on…

http://www.audubonmagazine.org/articles/birds/ready-superb-owl-sunday

let’s talk about sleep

Sleep has been a real bitch lately. 

Really. I have been trying damn near everything… chamomile tea, melatonin, no cell/iPad/Netflix at least an hour before I’m ready for bed, you name it. It isn’t working! If I fall asleep, I can’t stay asleep. If I can’t sleep, I’m dead tired all day and I force myself to make it till at least 9 to go to bed… where I fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

This little lady LOVES her sleep.

Bedtime is hands down my favorite time of the day (aside from mealtimes). I love getting into my bed and snuggling in to read my book and drink my tea. Of course Cat comes in and we cuddle like no other. When Boyfriend goes to bed too, well that just makes it even better. I love to cuddle! I cuddle my friends, my family, my students, my coworkers…. okay maybe not my coworkers, but they all know I am basically a professional cuddler. I’m the go-to girl in my classroom to calm my kids or help them go to sleep. I have one student in particular who likes to nest when he’s getting tired. He’ll come right to me with a blanket wanting to snuggle up and fall asleep. He sleeps with his mom every night, so it makes sense that this is how he likes to fall asleep. Of course, his poor brain doesn’t always let him sleep so he tends to get a little ouchy when he’s tired and can’t go to sleep. I think Boyfriend (and everyone around me) is glad that when I am tired, I don’t bite or pinch. 

I found this on Meg Biram‘s blog:

Totally check out the link for reals. She goes into detail with each “step” and I’m actually kind of excited about it! Of course, because I am a piece of shit and it’s (almost) the weekend and Boyfriend and I are going for late-night happy hour when he gets home from work in an hour… 

I’ll start on Monday. 

 

my very own personal book challenge

So it’s one in the morning and I seriously can’t sleep. Le sigh. So I decided to make a list! I inherited this very useful habit from Mama, as she is a pro as far as list-making goes. I tend to do this when I am very stressed or anxious, as well as re-alphabetize my books and movies.

I’m cool like that.

So I sat in front of my main bookcase and wrote down the books that I have either half-read or haven’t read yet. I have challenged myself to read the 40 (!) books on my list in a year’s time. I have some pretty hefty guys on my list so if I don’t finish in EXACTLY a year, I’m not going to cry about it.

Here’s my listy-list: 

  1. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (currently reading)
  2. Little Bee by Chris Cleave*
  3. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  5. The Count of Montecristo by Alexandre Dumas
  6. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards*
  7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan S. Foer
  8. Marley and Me by John Grogan*
  9. Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
  10. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  11. Nigger by Randall Kennedy
  12. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  13. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer*
  14. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  15. Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
  16. The Giver by Lois Lowry (reread)
  17. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  18. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  19. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel G. Marquez*
  20. Atonement by Ian McEwan*
  21. Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig
  22. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  23. Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien
  24. Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne
  25. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  26. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling*
  27. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  28. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
  29. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  30. Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks*
  31. Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence
  32. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe*
  33. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  34. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
  35. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  36. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  37. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  38. Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells
  39. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  40. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff*

*= the books I have started but haven’t finished… 

Now that it is nearing two o’clock, I’m going attempt to sleep. Guess who gets a nap tomorrow? Already can’t wait. Woof.

how was your day?

What a fucking FROSTBITEY day… Mother-of-PEARL! it was cold! But like I said last night, staff are expected to report. What did I do?

shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

I woke up and made pancakes for Boyfriend and myself.
I did some motherlovin’ yoga.
I read some of my book (currently reading: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie).
I had a great hair day.
I brought Dog with me!

He was so happy to meet all the new people. I put some fresh extra crunchy peanut butter in his bone and off to school we went! We almost froze to death on the walk from my car to the door, but luckily we made it. He had a good day and so did I. I left early for my “appointment” and took a fantastic nap with the sun shining in our room and everything. Just beautiful.

We’re getting another cold day tomorrow and staff are expected to report again. So glad it’s my week to park in the Underground. So nice and warm. I’m bringing Dog again but we are leaving so early.

hell.

I may just sleep in tomorrow. fuck it.