Kristin Zibell traveled the world for two years and then taught others how to do the same.
In 2008, I left on a journey
I have two parts of my life thus far, one before I awakened to the world, and one after that call. Before 2008, I was living the life I thought I was supposed to be living, which was married, educated with an MBA, and employed at a big conglomerate job. This life was piled with all the right things that shows a life well lived from the outside in. Inside, I was suffocating, held in a vice grip of tension found between knowing what my heart wanted and then living each day doing the exact opposite.
I had a dream to travel the world. Before 2008, I convinced myself that everything was fine and that this dream was not possible nor needed. My dream of exploration listened to me and crept down the stairs of my soul, while I lived with it's frightened cousin, anxiety. Thankfully, my dream did not keep quiet and kept say, "hey I'm still here, listen to me, traveling the world is what you want, not this other life."
In February 2008, I finally listened and brought my dream of traveling the world into the light. I didn't know where I was going, but I knew that I needed to leave the life I was living and journey into the unknown. With great pain, grief, and courage, I moved on.
On October 2, 2008, I landed in India and began to live my dream. Over the next two years, I let the flow of the world carry me from one trip to the next.
I traveled to India and Nepal where I opened my heart, and then to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Rose City of Jordan where I felt the soul of the ancient cities, and then to the crossroads of the world in Istanbul.
I returned to India, and then went off to Southeast Asia, Morocco, and Europe. At the same time the world financial system was collapsing and the Dow hit 8000, somehow, I returned home between trips to find consulting work, and earned money working in UX for Kohler (of bathroom fame) and MillerCoors (of beer fame), so I could take off again.
In early 2010, in a hammock in Kerala, India, I knew my nomadic time was ending and I needed to land somewhere. By this time, I had become friends with my intuition and listened with attention and interest. San Francisco came to mind and I followed that signal a few months later. I moved to the Bay Area with three suitcases and a spot on a friend's couch.
After settling into this new city, I knew it was time to perform a service. I had been given a great gift of travel and wanted to tell others how to do the same. Americans don't have the concept of the gap year, there is no "take time off to travel" concept.
I started the blog Take Your Big Trip with the goal of helping others live their travel dreams.
For five years, I taught hundreds of travel dreamers to make a plan and travel the world, inspiring thousands more through my website and serving as an AFAR ambassador.
I also ran workshops and ran events on how to do the same culminating with my workshop at SXSW.