My Time Traveling as an AmeriCorps Member
My experience as an AmeriCorps member drastically changed my view of traveling and kickstarted one of the greatest passions in my life. Here’s how AmeriCorps impacted my view of travel.
Do you remember sitting in class as a high school student making a list of “needs,” VS “wants?” I do. In fact, it became so ingrained in my brain that traveling fell into the “wants” category, that I decided traveling only became an option AFTER my life had been set financially. Little did I know, travel was an option at any point in my life.
Prior to becoming an AmeriCorps member in 2021, I had only been to two states in my 21 years of life; Nevada and California. When the opportunity arose to go to Colorado for a year of State National service with AmeriCorps, I took it.
Merely 7 days after being selected for my position, I was hitting the road on my first ever solo road trip. Some thought it ambitious to quit my well paying job, and drive 16 hours alone for a first ever road trip. If that wasn’t ambitious enough, I now planned to be gone for 365 days on a very modest salary.
While others thought of my plans as ambitious, I thought of them as terrifying. I wasn’t anywhere as close to prepared as others may have assumed that I was. I found, though, that my fears decreased with every mile further away I drove. 16 long hours later, once I reached my destination in Avon, Colorado, I realized that I was in love with the traveling lifestyle. I realized that day traveling no longer belonged in the “wants,” category of my life. I had a deep rooted need to discover what this world had to offer.
In that single year of my life, I learned how to budget better than I ever had in the previous 21 years of my life. After paying all of my bills for the month, I would find side work, eat cheaper and conserve resources in ways I had never thought possible to get back on the road again.
On the smallest salary I had ever earned, I traveled to 6 new states within those 12 months. I allowed everywhere I went to influence me and mold me into the person I am today. I want to encourage everyone reading to ask themselves a simple question. “Why not?”
Why CAN’T you go visit that place you’ve been dying to see? Why CAN’T you dedicate a year of your life to service? Why CAN’T you chase that dream, or take that vacation? I believe it is possible, no matter the circumstance, as long as you have a clear priority and direction for the things you want in this life.
Instead, ask yourself, “What can I cut out this month?” or “How can I make this happen?” For every problem, there is always a solution, if you search hard enough for one. For every excuse, make a plan of accountability.
From never traveling, to nonstop travel. It is possible.
About the Author: Shaye recently completed an Americorps term in Avon, Colorado with Youthpower 365. She has a trade school diploma in Culinary Arts, and plans to pursue a degree in Nonprofit leadership. When she is not serving with the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, she can be found watching her favorite Netflix series or cooking a delicious meal!