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What’s Changed, 1 Year After Returning from RTW Travel?

Spring flowers poof in front of Boston's Hancock Building!

Spring flowers poof near Boston’s Hancock Building!

Exactly a year ago today, I returned back to America after nine straight months traveling around the world.

What a change a year makes! My life now is unrecognizable from 365 days ago… and it’s an inspiring reminder of how we never have to be stuck!

On May 12, 2010, I flew from Madrid back to Boston with no secure job, no apartment of my own, a fragmented social scene, and a small backpack of dusty clothes that had just circumnavigated the globe. I was thrilled to be back at home sweet home… but completely uprooted and dizzy. And I didn’t really have much to do except watch back-to-back episodes of “The Wire” online. For months, I remained living in my parents’ house, working the first job I could find: a gig with no health benefits, and with a depressing one fifth of the salary I had before I left the country.

And then a series of miracles began to happen. Thanks to this blog and my Twitter networking, I was asked to coordinate the 200-person “Meet Plan Go” career-break travel conference for Boston, 2010. This started to give me a sense of direction again. Then, after being turned down for a number of jobs I interviewed for, a dream job came through at the last minute: back in Boston Public Schools (hooray for a great community… and health benefits!), in a heavenly school.

We love throwing flower petals in our faces!

We love throwing pretty flower petals in our faces.

September came, and I started a fantastic relationship that I’m still in today. In October, I moved into a gorgeous apartment in Downtown Boston, and launched a second website, TeachingTraveling.com, to inspire and assist more teachers to travel and more travelers to teach. That site now gets nearly 100 visitors a day!

Come November, I started to take a series of leadership and communication courses, which helped drive a flock of exciting opportunities: taking lessons to learn to drive, partnering with a local Education Technology company, and joining a number of travel, education, and technology meet-up groups around Boston.

In short: over the past 365 days, I’ve gone from being a lump on a couch, to diving deeply into dozens of thrilling projects. It was nice to sit around and watch TV in May of 2010, but nothing can rival the joy now of really participating in and contributing to things that matter in the world. Yay! I’m no longer under-used!

So what’s coming in the next 365 days?

1. Travel: A Bahamas cruise in July (!), then a month in China this August visiting one of my best friends who is in the Peace Corps! I will also be leading a student group abroad in February of 2012.

Lovely trees in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Magenta pink trees in Quincy, Massachusetts.

2. Career: Continuing teaching in Boston (because I love it!), running my two websites, partnering with educational technology start-ups, and…

3. Surprise: In June I’m getting certified to teach Zumba dance exercise! Yee haw! :)

4. Events: I’m psyched to again be coordinating the huge Meet Plan Go career-break travel conference for Boston in October, 2011, plus a series of casual monthly Meet Plan Go Boston meet-ups to discuss extended travel.

Building a life, baby… building! Stay tuned for much, much more to come.

Huge thanks for continuing to read and interact with this website. It means so much to be able to share all of this with you, and then to hear your own life stories and thoughts in return, through your emails and comments. Keep ’em comin’!

Gorgeous Aruba, where we were homeless.
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Adam Pervez

Friday 1st of June 2012

Well, I'm a year late to this post, but it's great to see that you realized all the awesomeness you set out to accomplish this past year. Keep at it and stay awesome! :)

Lillie

Friday 1st of June 2012

Thanks so much! Yes, I suppose the big update I should add, one year after the one-year-after-travel update is that I'm getting married this July, and travel played a big role in helping that happen! :) Dramatic engagement story here: https://www.aroundtheworldl.com/2011/11/13/we-are-engaged-or-how-travel-can-find-and-build-love/

Ayngelina

Tuesday 3rd of January 2012

This story is so inspiring, it makes me think about what I want my next year to look like.

Lillie

Tuesday 3rd of January 2012

Yaaay! :) New chapters are great!

Genesis Lumahan

Thursday 23rd of June 2011

Traveling really seems like a big part of your life! You've done so much that I always felt like was impossible. Where in Quincy did you take that picture? It's gorgeous!

Lillie

Thursday 23rd of June 2011

No! 'Tis non-impossible! :) The photo was taken right outside Quincy Center Red Line Station. That big round sculpture looks awesome in the rain, especially.

Mohamed Abdelrahim

Thursday 23rd of June 2011

I thought that you came to America as a traveler but I never knew you actually lived here.

James G.

Monday 20th of June 2011

I can really relate to this article because often when i return to boston from vacation i realize something i had not usualy noticed.

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