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Today is my 27th birthday.
When I wrote last year’s birthday post, I was so excited to be leaving for Asia soon, but since I hadn’t told my office yet, I couldn’t share it publicly. I simply resigned myself to saying, “This year is going to be AMAZING. I can’t wait to share the details with all of you! As I turn 27, I’ll be writing about how I just had the best year of my life.”
And I did. It goes without saying that age 26 was the best year of my life.
But something happened that is even more significant than the experiences I’ve had:
I have reached a level of inner peace that I have never experienced before.
I’ve always been confident and secure with myself. But now, it’s something more. I know myself better. I understand myself. I FORGIVE myself. I feel much wiser and more mature. Every action I take has a clear reason behind it, and it makes me so happy to have that understanding.
It wasn’t instant. Anyone who met me at the beginning of my trip will happily confirm what an emotional wreck I was back then. And as wonderful a time as I had in those first few months of my trip, I was wildly careening off every metaphorical wall in sight, trying to find a place for myself.
Things didn’t really fall in place until the morning I woke up in Vang Vieng and decided I was done. At that moment, everything shifted. After two final hurdles — my near-disastrous border crossing into Vietnam, followed by illness in Hanoi — I emerged healthier, happier, relaxed, and for the first time, with a clear direction.
The timing was rather fortuitous.
Since then, I’ve only become more and more in touch with myself. And the surprising part about this is that I now know I can be a better sister, better daughter, better girlfriend, better friend, better colleague and better all-around human being than I ever could have been at this time last year.
WHO THE HELL WAS I BACK THEN?!
Let me be clear — I had a great life before I left home, a very fortunate life, and I don’t want it to ever appear otherwise.
But things were off. I was caught up in the typical twenty-something urban lifestyle, the lifestyle I thought I was supposed to have — making decent money and having an active social life in a great city for young singles, but spending way too much money, living through endless winters, knowing I’d never be able to afford a nice place to live, hating my day job, having little time to travel, and regularly choosing between my passions and sleep.
There was so much misery and negativity in my life, and I didn’t realize the extent of it until I left home.
At 26, I made a leap of faith.
At 27, I make an even bigger one.
I’m now making enough money online to live abroad, albeit on the cheap. It has taken years of hard work to get me to this point, and I am so eager to finally become the expat I always dreamed I’d be someday.
The “sensible” thing to do would have been to stay home and save up for a few months, then head back to Thailand — specifically, Chiang Mai, a city tailor-made for living and working on the cheap. There’s a reason why so many travel bloggers end up there.
But, as usual, the sensible option didn’t inspire me. I chose Europe. Expensive Europe. Visa-problematic Europe. And I leave with not too much in my pocket.
But I know I will make it work.
When I turn 28 next year, I hope to do so as one of the few travel bloggers turned entrepreneurs not only making enough money to live, but enough to live well anywhere in the world, from Paris to Tokyo.
When I was in Mexico this past June, I had a fantastic session with an astrologer. It was the most intelligent, comprehensive session I’ve ever had, and she helped me understand the patterns of my life. One thing was for certain, she said: “Your days as an employee are over.”
I hope she’s right.
And with that, I’m off to toast the year with some spicy red wine and prosciutto. Let’s go, 27!
71 thoughts on “Turning 27: A Leap of Faith”
Congratulations. I went through the same thing myself a few years ago – but I found myself in Europe. So you will love it – enjoy and keep writing!
Glad to hear that, Fiona! Thanks!
That’s awesome! Congrats on the decision to go for it… and Happy Birthday!
Thanks so much, Dan!
Visa-problematic Europe? Really? Just waving your passport and getting in is considered visa-problematic nowadays? Wow! Tell that to the Europeans who try to visit the US and who have to fill out online applications, pay tourist fees, and then be subjected to interrogations at the airports, and if god forbid, overstay their allowance, then become subjected to 5 and 10-year bans.
Alfie, it’s more a question about spending time long-term in Europe — the Schengen Agreement and all that.
Alfie – Europe is a nightmare for non-European, long-term travellers. You can only stay 6 months out of 12 in the Schengen countries total – and that’s most of Western Europe and parts of Eastern too
Excellent article. I’d agree that 27/28, in retrospect, were very good years. Are you sure the astrologer said “employee” or “employment”? 😉
Very funny, Steve. EmployEE! 🙂
what an inspiration you are! as i prepare to leave my job and take off on a solo trip, it’s stories like yours that keep me motivated. happy birthday!
Thanks, Peach! I’m so happy to hear that!
Happy birthday! And good luck as you transition from traveler to full-blown expat – I’m looking forward to reading all about it.
Thanks, Emily! I have no idea how it will go, but we’ll see! 🙂
Happy birthday, Kate!! It’s been awesome following along on your adventures for the past year and a half, and I’m so glad to hear that 26 turned out to be your best year yet! Here’s hoping that 27 is even better.
Thanks so much, Amanda! I hope so, too!
you are my inspiration. if you can do this. i can be a travel photog living on the cheap and doing what i love. 🙂
I really hope you take that step, Kym! It all starts with a trip you make with your savings, then grows from there…
happy birthday! may all your wishes for this year come true.
Thank you, Betti!
Happy Birthday! It’s very inspiring that you are taking this leap of faith to really follow your heart. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Thank YOU for following, Maureen!
Feliz cumpleaños a ti! Cheers to your health, inner peace, more travel, and good food!
Muchas Gracias, fotoeins!
happy happy birthday kate!
your adventures have been so much fun to see and read….
getting to the 26th mark in a few months…
and hoping to do something monumental in my life..
Thanks, Cris! I hope that you do find something monumental to do!
Happy Birthday Kate. I hope 27 treats you even better than 26. I’m glad we were able to travel together in the early months of your trip and be emotional wrecks together.
Happy Travels – can’t wait until our paths cross again!
Thanks, Matt! And ha — you weren’t bad at all. 🙂 But we had a blast, didn’t we?
Awesome! Happy Birthday Kate! 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful birthday Kate! I hope 27 is your best year yet ;D And I look forward to reading about your European adventures!
Thanks so much, Audrey!
Happy birthday. Only appropriate the first video features a beercan.
Hahaha, isn’t it perfect? Thanks, Kris!
Happy Birthday Kate…Good for you for stepping out on a limb then and now. There is a value to that inner peace you speak of that can’t be put in dollars and cents. Here in the “real world” I am lucky to experience it very seldom, but when I do, all I want is for it to remain…
I appreciate that, Deej!
You are an inspiration to all the people struggling to find themselves and follow their dreams! Happy Birthday and here’s to many many more 🙂
Thanks so much, Debbie!
Happy Birthday Kate!
Thanks so much, Pete!
Happy Birthday. I’m sure 27 will just get better and better. Can’t wait to read about your European adventures.
Thanks so much, Alouise!
Congrats! I’m the same age and the same thing happened to me while in SE Asia. I no longer have anxiety or sleeping problems, such a cool feeling.
That sounds fabulous, Chris!
First off, Happy Birthday. And best of luck in your coming year. I still think taking the first step against the grain can be the toughest, but as you are showing us, the grass is greener when you are living your dreams… All I can say is Stay Adventurous – Kate.
Thanks so much, Craig! It’s odd, for me it just happened as it happened.
Congratulations Kate! I went through the same thing myself when I had my first career sabbatical when I turned 30 six years ago.
Now I’m working long hours working fylltime while tending a side gig. But no, I’m not looking into another sabbatical, but being a location independent entrepreneur
I’m glad to hear that, Prime!
Happy 27th birthday, and congratulations – I hope to be like you, aka not working as an employee, some time within the not-too-distant future.
Can’t wait to read about your adventures on the run up to 28 🙂
Thanks so much, Tom!
I wish it had occurred to me at 27 that I didn’t have to work for someone else to make money – took another 20 years for me to get it! Congrats – and yeah you do get to the point that you know you will never work for anyone else again – its an amazing feeling!
Thanks, Lissie! It definitely is.
Happy Birthday and well done for making such a brave & exciting decision. Go for it!!!
Happy Birthday! Life is all about finding that inner peace and loving who you are, so I’m elated that you were able to find it at such a young age!!! 🙂
Thank you so much, Andi!
Hope you had a great birthday. Age does bring about wisdom. Think where you’ll be in another 12 years (where I am). I wish I had been able to think as you do when I was that age…
Can’t even imagine the wisdom, Matt. 🙂
I am so happy for you 🙂 as always keep up the amazing work on the blog that I love and can’t wait to read the next entry 😀
Happy birthday Kate!
I’m quitting my job this week and taking the family to Chiang Mai for some of that cheap living. Here’s to a better year for both of us, and all your readers.
Thanks, Barbara! I’m so excited to hear that!
I found this post incredibly inspiring. I also turned to travel this year after some tough times personally and it turned into the most amazing year of my life. It’s great that you found such an empowering outlet.
I’m sure you’ll have some tough times but I bet all the amazing experiences will more than balance that out.
Thank you, Miss K!
Happy Birthday Kate!
You wrote a very inspiring article. I wish you the best of luck on this new year of adventure for you.
Thanks so much, Bob!
Kate, Happy late birthday! I am one of many who wishes to thank you for your motivational writing. It’s tough to jump into the traveling habit, knowing you are going way, way outside of your comfort zone in hopes of coming out a better person, but blogs like yours just go to show how worth it that leap of faith is bound to be. Cheers!
Thank you so much, Jenna!
This is probably one of my most favorite posts you’ve ever written (and I have a lot of favs on here!). Thanks for continuing to be adventurous – your peace is sooooo evident in your site and and tweets and just how everything just works out. Love it!
Thank you so much, Deidre!
Hi Kate, Great Travel Site!!!! Keep up the good work!! I was wondering, you say you make enough money online to live abroad, but I only see one advertisement and you’re not selling anything. Where does you’re revenue come from? I’m trying to start a website myself.