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My Journey Abroad – How I Found the Courage to Travel

I recently got back from a three month solo trip in Europe. It was my first time traveling abroad. There’s a lot I could say about it, but first I need to write about what led up to it, why I went, and how I found the courage to go.

Last fall, I wrote about the feeling that things were coming to and end. I felt like my time in Austin was complete and had a sense that I’d be going somewhere else when my apartment lease ended a few months later.

I began to have fantasies about world travel. Ideas began to creep into my consciousness in 2013 and 2014 when I learned about digital nomads and vagabonding. I had friends that went to Thailand and seemed to notice people who made travel a lifestyle. But at that point I didn’t think it was for me.

I never really cared to travel the world before. I was happy where I was. But I was itching for the freedom to spread my wings and see if I could do it. I felt a longing to travel solo because I wanted time away to be with myself.

After I quit my job in 2015 and the initial separation from my wife, I set out on a cross country road trip that lasted 43 days. It was the first time in 12 years I got to experience life as a single man. I wrote about some of my experiences of love and heartbreak but overall it was a breath of fresh air to experience some freedom after being stuck in routine and domestic life for over a decade.

That road trip inspired me to move to Austin, Texas after my divorce was final. I lived alone for the first time ever and it was a mix of struggle and success. Loneliness and connection. Fear and healing. After about nine months however, I felt like I was ready to move on. I started looking for signs for what’s next.

Vernazza, Italy
Overlooking the village of Vernazza, Italy along the Cinque Terre

A Galactic Assistant

I got an email from a reader of my blog who claimed to be a Starseed. Her name was Jana. She felt called to write me and asked me if she could get a job as my assistant. What a strange request! I was excited to meet her and see what she was all about. She had just moved to Austin a few days before.

Our meeting was filled with an intense energy of inspiration, optimism, synchronicity, and high vibrations. We talked about life purposes and astrology and she asked me my birthday to get my zodiac sign. June 6, I said. Makes me a Gemini.

She was like, “No way. That’s my birthday too! We have the same birthday!”

For real? Yes, we shared the same birthday, although she was ten years younger. I felt a great energy about her and it seemed like we were destined to find each other. She was eager to help me achieve my visions and be my assistant. How cool!

Sloping Treeline
I was so looking forward to connecting with nature.

You’re Hired?

We set up a second meeting to get to work and figure out what she can help me with. But that meeting had a totally different energy. It became pretty apparent that I was not the kind of employer she was looking for. I was just a solopreneur freelancer who didn’t have much work for her. I couldn’t pay her much and wasn’t as organized as she expected.

We stepped back and looked at things a bit deeper. She realized she didn’t want to be anyone’s assistant actually. She wanted permission to be able to focus on her own desires and dreams. After a long emotional talk, we said goodbye and promised to stay in touch as friends.

She ended up grabbing a one-way ticket to Germany a few days later. What the heck??

A Different Kind of Assistant

The thing about Jana is she lives a nomadic life and puts a lot of faith and trust in the Universe to support her. She acts on a whim and can make a sudden decision to travel across the world. Really? No intense planning or preparing? She was agile enough to be able to do that. No car and minimal possessions. She literally flew into my life and out of it in the span of a week or two. But her impact on me was huge.

Whenever I was feeling stuck, depressed, or doubtful, I’d contact Jana and she’d find a way to inspire me and lift my spirits. She was able to get me to see things from a higher perspective. To her, anything was possible. She reminded me that I was the creator of my life and my thoughts and feelings make a huge difference in what I’m manifesting. Whenever I talked to her, I felt like I could do anything in the world. That I was capable of following any dream I ever had. What a gift.

Then it dawned on me. She was being my assistant! It was just in a way I hadn’t expected.

Jeff the World Traveler?

It was Fall of 2016 and I started to get more and more “downloads” of inspiration to travel the world. To Europe specifically. I began to see it as a real possibility this time! I was definitely gonna do it. Seeing Jana just up and leave like she did, light as a feather, able to be so spontaneous… what an inspiration! If she could do it, I could do it. It helped me see how I was getting in my own way.

I got inspired to sell almost all my possessions – which honestly wasn’t much at all. I moved to Austin with only the things I could fit in my car. Although I had just purchased a mattress, desk, and some furniture for my apartment, I was excited to unload all of it and become lighter. I kept my car at my parents house and moved everything else into my bedroom there for when I got back.

Jeff the world traveler
Me hiking around Ireland

How Could I Afford it?

Fears about money were a constant companion during my year in Austin. I approached a zero bank balance several times and even overdrafted and was late on my rent. It was so miserable lying there wondering why it was so hard to make money. It had never been this hard before! I gave up and got a part time job at Starbucks, but only lasted three weeks before I quit. It was just not what I wanted.

But going through this gauntlet of fear around money taught me a lot. I survived. My biggest fears didn’t happen. I learned that I could trust myself and the Universe to support me. I learned to ask for help and got my family to give me a loan. Things eventually got better and business started picking up. I was making enough money to pay my bills at least.

But world travel? That’s expensive right?

Cue Jana.

She would always ease my fears. She travels for basically nothing and if she can do it, I can do it. I could always ask her for advice and she’d give me links and resources to use. How convenient! I was already spending a lot on rent and utilities. What if I took that money and applied that to AirBnb’s, hostels, train tickets, and bus fare?  In my mind, it seemed like a fair trade.

Ok, I’m going to Europe. But where?

They say it’s not real until you book that plane ticket. But where to? I had all this inspiration to go to Europe, but I had no idea where I’d start. I started asking for signs to help guide me where I needed to go. If I could just get there in one piece, I’d go from there. I’m not the type to plan out a full itinerary. I love to go with the flow and follow my intuition.

Around that time I was looking for ways to promote my brand Starseed Supply. In an Etsy discussion group on Facebook, someone suggested I reach out to models on Instagram. Offer a trade of my goods in exchange for a photo and a tag. It was worth a shot.

Maker/Mistaker BookI found a few models whose style and personality seemed to mesh with mine. I reached out and started talking to a few and sure enough, I had some more exposure for my brand. It was pretty easy actually.

But one girl in particular was more interested in reading my book Maker/Mistaker than modeling my patches. I sent her my book and she and I started a long email exchange as a result. She said my words spoke to her so deeply and it felt like it was the book she would have written herself. Like a message from her soul. It was really profound. This meant so much to me.

I started to feel really attracted to her. In a way, I was kind of falling in love with this pretty girl with 300,000 Instagram followers. She was deep and introspective, self aware, and struggled with some of the same stuff I do. I really wanted to get to know her more and meet her in person.

And guess what, she lives in Europe. In Germany to be exact.

Destination Germany?

I kept getting inspired to connect with her and we talked about one day meeting. She offered to host me in Germany if I decided to come there and it seemed like such a wonderful opportunity.

But I had my doubts. I have traveled for a girl before and had my heart broken. I knew to be careful, but there was still a strong urge to go see her. My galactic assistant friend Jana had already left Germany and was now in San Francisco, eliminating any chance of running into her in Europe. All I had was this girl.

Overlooking Hohenschwangau Castle in Germany
Overlooking Hohenschwangau Castle in Germany

After awhile, this energy of attraction was too much to ignore. I consciously chose to honor this attraction and book my flight to Europe. I was going to start my journey in Berlin and meet up with my new crush. Fantasies about backpacking with a lover filled my imagination. We’d hike around and see all the natural wonders. It just seemed so romantic and exhilarating.

So that was that. Ticket booked!

It was real now.

Let the Journey Begin

I used my Airline miles that I had saved up thanks to a recommendation by a friend a year before. I knew it would come in handy someday! It cost me only $5 out of pocket to get a one-way flight to Berlin.

I had no idea how long I’d stay in Europe or where I’d go from there. My first goal was to arrive safe and make it to my AirBnb. I was expecting to meet up with my crush and she’d show me around town and help me get comfortable with the way things work.

But that’s not what happened.

My flight was still several months away. I successfully sold most of my belongings and even gave up my cat to a good friend of mine. I moved back in with my parents in Ohio and rested for a month before I actually left for Germany.

My first goal of arriving safely and finding my AirBnb was a success. It wasn’t really hard at all. But I came down with an intense fever and cold shortly after I arrived. I was sick for my entire first week in Germany.

My crush had gotten a new job since we last talked. She was busier than ever and stressed out. The timing just wasn’t working out. It was pretty disappointing, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

The amazing Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany
The amazing Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany

A Change of Plans

While I was lying around sick and feeling bad about not meeting my crush, I got a little surprise from a Facebook friend who happened to be living in Berlin for school. We were part of a Starseed group and I think she bought some patches from me, but other than that, I didn’t know her at all. She was interested in meeting me and making plans with her was easy. When I was feeling better, we met up and explored the city and it was super fun!

While it wasn’t romantic, I’m so glad we met. She helped me learn the bus and subway system and know just enough German to get by. She told me fascinating stories of her out of body experiences, ayahuasca trips, and alien hybrid children. For being a young twenty something, this girl was woke as fuck. Our minds were buzzing and time just seemed to fly by. It’s like two alien life forms on separate Earth missions find each other and reconnect. How cool is that?

Füssen, Germany
Füssen, Germany and the natural beauty of Europe was definitely not a disappointment!

I was already making plans to move on from Berlin. I tried one last time to connect with my crush, but was disappointed again. She was too busy and I started to feel like she wasn’t interested anymore. I wasn’t getting the type of connection I was looking for. Communication was inconsistent and I just didn’t feel like a priority to her. I had no choice but to move on.

While it was disappointing that I never got to meet her, she did inspire me to book my plane ticket. She got me to Germany, and I’m thankful for that. She showed up in my life at just the right time to give me enough energy to be decisive and get the courage to face my fears. Women can inspire men in that way sometimes. We seem to be able to accomplish great things for love. So I can’t complain much.

A Valuable Lesson

I did try to tell her how I felt but I never got a reply. I felt ignored again. It really hurt me to feel disregarded like that, but taught me a valuable lesson. I needed to make myself a priority. I needed to put myself first.

That became a major theme of my trip, which ended up lasting a full three months. The trip would take me to Switzerland, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, and even Finland. She wasn’t the only girl who would teach me these lessons! But I will save those stories for a future post.

I spent a lot of time alone, but it was what I needed. I got to know myself deeper and I feel stronger and more confident as a result.

More to Come

If you want to listen to more, you can check out this podcast I did recently with my friend Simeon Hendrix. We talk about my trip and some of the lessons learned. Hope you enjoy it!

Jeff Finley
Jeff Finley

Jeff is a graphic artist, designer, musician, writer, and mystic with a passion for truth and personal growth. He's the author of Wake Up, Maker/Mistaker, and Thread's Not Dead, as well as the creator of Starseed Supply Co. Learn more about him here.

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