Wandering an ever wayward path interview with Amanda from Wayward Wanderings
Do you ever dream of traveling the world? Do you want to know what it is like to start out? About the trials, tribulations, the emotional ups and downs, the joys, the real effects of what it is like to start out on a path that you plan to keep traveling forever?
If you truly want to know what it is like to start traveling perpetually, then go to Wayward Wanderings and read everything.
Amanda has just began her world travels. The name of this site — Wayward Wanderings — is apt, as a traveler’s first steps are often nothing other than wayward. Very few long term travelers just set out traveling and keep going. No, they travel, go home, doubt, travel some more, try other things, then, at some point, realize that they have been traveling for so long that they can say that they do it perpetually. The life of the traveler my seem simple and straight forward, but they seldom ever start out that way. Most travelers find that they became as such almost by default, by trying other ways of life but never finding one that can match that of perpetual travel.
Amanda seems to be doing this now.
In the entries on Amanda’s blog you can see how she is working through the inner processes of becoming a traveler, you can see her debating the lifestyle — “Do I really want to do this?” — missing home, thinking about giving up and going back to school, wondering if the joys that she is taking from the traveling life match those she once had at home.
This is normal, Amanda‘s obstacles are, in my opinion, the inner and outer challenges that all beginning travelers face. What is not normal is that Amanda is working through them, she is standing strong and not going home, and she is open to letting you see how she does it. This is essential travel writing in that it shows aspects of the lifestyle very rarely published, it shows how to overcome the obstacles of traveling that everybody faces, but nobody wants to admit that they feel. Amanda is overcoming these obstacles right now, watch her do it.
Interview with Amanda from Wayward Wanderings
When did you become aware of your feelings of Wanderlust, when do you remember your conception of the idea that you CAN travel the world
for as long as you want?
-I believe feelings of Wanderlust have always been present in my life in some form. Though I didn’t recognize this desire as the need to travel until about tenth grade when I started looking at colleges. The first thing I looked for when researching a new school was their study abroad program. That was the only thing I knew I wanted, a chance to travel.
I realized that I could travel for as long as my heart desired my first year at LSU when I started working at the renaissance festival. I met several people who were actively living on the road and I envied them. It was the first time I met other people who knew the call of the Wanderlust.
What about your life do you think has lead you to want to lead the wandering life?
-Stubbornness, boredom and a short attention span. haha
I think the idea sprung when I first got into photography. I had, and still have, a dream/goal of getting paid to travel and take pictures. Turning that dream into a reality is a process which must be started somewhere.
I had to come up with something unattainable to keep myself motivated. I never want to stop learning and I value the freedom wandering gives me to explore.
What was the struggle like between deciding if you wanted to go traveling or stay in college? What were the deciding factors that made you decide that traveling would be the better move for you right now? It is my impression that many people are stuck in similar situations, stuck between deciding what path would give them what they want out of
life: wandering, being poor, and able to engage and learn anything
they want or studying in university to get a formal job somewhere that
pays them lots of money and a sense of security. We are interested in
how you framed this decision and how you made the choice to go
traveling now and maybe go back to college when the time is right?
-The decision to leave school was not difficult for me. I wanted out. I didn’t, and still don’t, know the affects of my decision in the long term but either way, financial security wasn’t an obtainable option. In the short term, financially, it made more sense to hit the road. My expenses were less and I got paid more. Had I stayed in school accruing thousands upon thousands dollars of debt, I might get a job that might pay enough to allow me to get by. But I’d be stuck.
Naturally my family and friends threw every “what if” at me. To them I was making a huge mistake.
When it came down to it, I made the decision based upon what I truly desired. People respected that, eventually.
I wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I hadn’t at least tried to live out my dream, even if I only had a vague idea. I knew that it would be an entirely new challenge but I wanted to succeed. I still want to succeed.
I think I decided to go traveling because I am selfish. I don’t really know what I want out of life, but I wanted the freedom to explore my options.
I believe traveling was the best decision for me right now.
It seems as if you are on the trail of becoming a perpetual traveler
as oppose to just going on vacations, what have you done so far to make this a reality?
-I think the most important thing that I’ve done is change my mindset. Traveling as a way of life seems far-fetched for the overwhelming majority. I invest all of my energy into continuing on the road. It’s not something you can really do half-ass unless you have money to waste. And people with money to waste go on vacations.
You have been working for the past few months traveling around the USA
as a barrista with the Renaissance festival, can you explain a little
more what this work entails as well as how it enables you to travel
AND make money?
-I started working as a traveling barista(a self created title) with Dave’s Mini Donuts in January of this year. Jan.-June we work at renaissance festivals in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, North Carolina, New York and Connecticut. July-Sept. we work at music festivals in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Oct.-Dec. we work the Connecticut and Louisiana renaissance festivals.
We arrive at a faire site, build the 20ftx10ft donut tent, build the outdoor kitchen/coffee bar, work two or three days a week serving coffee and donuts to people wearing funny clothes, breakdown, pack up, hit the road and do it all again at the next festival. Music festivals are only one weekend shows while most renaissance festivals are three to six weeks long.
It’s a stressful job. But it’s also a lot of fun.
What do you do all day, what does the life of a traveling coffee
barrista look like?
– Brainstorm. Because of the nature of the job, we’re together all the time(the donut crew). So we build the business. We have Monday morning business meetings over breakfast. We run errands and spend time with friends. We go on hikes. We do laundry. We do research by going into other coffee shops. Then we serve donuts on the weekend and make people happy.
What has been the initial challenges of leaving home for long term
travel, of working on the road, and, in essence, living a life of
-The initial challenges were mostly having to adjust to living in a tent with limited facilities available. I left a comfortable living space for a tent on an island. Not to mention leaving every familiar face behind. My job was difficult, being at the mercy of ocean front weather. Initially, I was miserable.
But I made it through to the other side. The difficulties of constantly moving an entire business, four people, two dogs and a cat across the country soon became just as familiar as the trivial matters of stationary living.
I believe, though, challenges faced on the road are solved in a more efficient manner simply for the fact that they must be. Either find a solution or move on. Having an ultimatum forces things to come together and fall into place.
Leaving home in February, knowing that I wouldn’t return for at least eight months, was bitter sweet. I was excited about the road ahead of me but I was afraid, I had never been away for so long before.
Every new day on the road was another day away from home. Eventually that turns into every day left on the road is one day closer to returning home.
Living a life of travel requires a lot of quick decision making, listening to your gut, creating balance and making the road your home. It challenges you to face the reality of what’s in front of you and what you’re going to take from it.
Do you ever think about going home? If so, how do you keep going?
-Often. I miss my home, the people, the food, the familiarity. But I know that it’ll always be there no matter how far away I go or for how long I’m gone. I knwo that I always have the option to return.
In times of loneliness, depression and home-sickness, I remind myself that home looks like heaven from far away. When I went back for two weeks after my first month of being on the road, the urge to leave again kicked in within three days. Home is static in my mind. In the lowest of lows on the road, it’s better than the weight I feel of being stuck.
How does the traveling life of reality measure up against the
traveling of map gazing daydreams that I am sure you had before
setting off on this journey?
-I’ve learned that daydreams never measure up to the experiences created by reality. I always dreamed of being a lone wanderer but I feel I’ve leanred a lot about the value of relationships along the road. Limited interaction time with people leads to quicker judgment of character. It causes you to make quick friends, or not. I realize that I have control over how much of my time I invest in people, or not.
I still gaze at maps and daydream of traveling to the ends of the earth. My expectations have changed though.
What are your next moves? where are you going?
-I will soon embark on the adventures of traveling with a significant other, continuing on the donut path a little longer. I will continue expanding with my photography. I think I’m going to start roasting coffee beans on the road.
There are many directions my life can go in from here. I’m enjoying the scenery and I’m excited to see what’s in store.
To read more about Amanda’s travels visit Wayward Wanderings
To read more interviews on Vagabond Journey go to Interviews with Vagabond Journey and Wade Interviews Others