At Muses, we like to feature our members. Today, we are introducing Andie from Adventures with Andie. She shares how she started to make traveling a priority in life while on a budget. You can find her on Instagram here. Below is in her story to the Muses community:

I’m Andie! I am a 31 year old self-proclaimed world traveler consumed by wanderlust. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with traveling. I was always that person that would forever be daydreaming of exploring foreign lands, exotic fashions, and unknown cultures.
It was back in 2007 when I took my very first trip across the world. At the time, I had never traveled alone before, and never for more than a week at a time. I had no life experience, little common sense, and I had a major fear of ethnic food. But despite all of that, it was the best experience I could’ve wished for at the young age of 21. It was after this trip that I realized that I wanted a life filled with non- stop adventures, traveling, and amazing new experiences.

I wish I could say that’s exactly how my life panned out in the years following, but, unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. Like most Americans, I got caught up in the every day hustle and bustle of school, and then work, and then school again, and then back to work. I went from relationship to relationship but nothing ever seemed to stick. At 25 years old I was attending graduate school in NYC, struggling to pay my rent, spending beyond my means, and working at a job that I absolutely hated. Traveling was the last thing I was capable of doing at the time – but still, I was determined to somehow make it happen.

Traveling was always something that had sparked my interest at a young age, but it’s easy to find excuses when you’re so unsure about something that never seemed realistic. I wanted to travel but I just didn’t know how. After all, when it comes to traveling most people either A) can’t afford itB) don’t have the time, or C) can’t find anyone to go with. I was determined to set myself apart from the stereotypical “Non-Traveling American” category that the rest of the world likes to place us in.  I would spend every spare moment I had planning out itineraries, browsing guidebooks, and researching faraway lands. Deep down I was convinced I would never have the opportunity to visit any of them. Then, one day, a surprising opportunity came my way.

In 2014, a friend of mine told me about a job that entailed working and traveling with teens all summer. I applied, and within a few weeks I was given my assignment – ‘Two Weeks in Costa Rica!’ Not only was I being paid to work (in Costa Rica) but all of my traveling expenses were 100% covered on the companies dime. This felt like the opportunity of a lifetime. So off I went on my second international trip to Central America!

Once I returned back home to New York, I decided that I was going to make traveling my priority. It was the push I needed to understand what was truly important and valuable to me and my life. In order to make this dream happen, I knew that I had to give up a life that, although seemed costly and chaotic, made me feel independent and comfortable. I knew I needed to make a life altering decision.

In 2015, after finishing my Master’s program, I packed up my life and moved to Arizona. It just made more sense financially and it didn’t hurt that my family was close by. I immediately began substitute teaching which was perfect because it allowed me the opportunity to utilize my degree while giving me the flexibility needed for traveling. Although my situation was not ideal, and I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, I knew I was taking the steps necessary to fulfill my overall goal of traveling the world.

I didn’t have a huge amount of money or savings when I decided that I wanted to travel, I just knew that it was something that I really wanted to do so I found ways to make it happen. I don’t travel luxuriously by any means; in fact most of the time I travel on a budget and I stay in hostels or guesthouses, even when I’m traveling with friends. I also try to make connections with people while traveling and stay in touch through social media platforms. You never know when you might unexpectedly find yourself traveling throughout their country one day.

I started my travel blog ‘Adventures with Andie’ at the end of 2015. I decided that if I were going to make traveling my ultimate goal, then I wanted to be able to share it with the world. I wanted people to understand that traveling is possible, and that it doesn’t have to be done expensively. My blog is unique in a way that makes it real and truthful. I don’t sugar coat anything and I tell everything the way I see it, and the way it happens, whether it’s good or bad. Because there are so many social media platforms out there these days, I wanted to make mine stand out just a little more than the next.

Traveling has absolutely transformed my life. I’m a different person than the one who stepped off the plane and into my first foreign country over 10 years ago. Unsurprisingly, I fell hard for traveling as I always expected I would. This isn’t to say that it’s always been enjoyable and filled with meaningful moments. It most certainly hasn’t. I’ve encountered many disasters along the way including emotional roller-coasters, major phobias, numerous scams, theft, sketchy situations, and I’ve inflicted more injuries than I can count. But all of these bad moments are part of the overall experience that comes with traveling and I wouldn’t change any of it.

Over the past three years I have been fortunate enough to travel to over 17 countries across 3 continents. I hope to continue traveling to new places, building friendships, creating lasting memories, and most of all growing and learning through all of the experiences, both good and bad, that life brings my way.

You can share these adventures with me by following my blog on facebook @adventureswithandieblog, on weebly @adventureswithandie.weebly.com, and on Instagram @ adventures.with.andie.