5 Years of Go Seek Explore

5 Years of Go Seek Explore

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This day five years ago, I hit “publish” on my first blog post at goseekexplore.com.

All I can think is, Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for half a decade. That makes me feel old. Haha.

And, Thank you so much for being here.

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5 Years of goseekexplore.com

I was living at home in Seattle on May 13, 2014, after working in Washington, DC, New York City, and Italy. Moving to Arizona and getting a full-time office job were on the horizon back then, but the job search process had begun to suck the life out of me.

Travel was on my mind more than ever. I was consuming every blog post and travel article I could find simply out of sheer wanderlust. I’d immediately reply back to Facebook friends who would message me asking how I got that job working in Italy or tips on traveling to Europe.

I wrote a blog post on my former style blog titled, “10 Reasons Why You Should Travel After College” and shared it on my personal Facebook page. Dozens of likes, comments, and a few re-shares later, I couldn’t ignore the feeling any longer: it was time to start a travel blog.

And that day - one year and one day after my college graduation - Go Seek Explore was born!

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Go Seek Explore started as an outlet to share the travel tips and inspiration that were pouring out of my soul.

I would get messages from friends saying they liked my posts, and slowly but surely I started reaching more people all over the world who have put the advice into action and created their own work + travel lifestyle.

While a few of my initial highlights included guest articles on sites like Thought Catalog and a comped tour in New York City, I started to hit a stride in the spring of 2016 when I was using Instagram and Pinterest more strategically to get more targeted readers on the site.

Screenshot of one of my Thought Catalog posts published on the left! - February 2015

Screenshot of one of my Thought Catalog posts published on the left! - February 2015

I wanted to help as many people as I could. I wanted to help more people get out there and actually travel!

Instead of thinking, “Hey, that looks like a cool place to visit,” my intention was to have people leave thinking, “Wow, I feel like I actually have some practical tips and mindset advice I can put into place to visit my dream destination, and even create a work + travel lifestyle if I want to.”

Where am I on my goal of stepping foot on all six inhabited continents in my 20s?

The Great Wall of China - July 2015

The Great Wall of China - July 2015

By the end of 2014, I had made it back to Europe to work as a faculty member at an international conference, moved to Arizona, and started my old job at ASU. I also read The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau.

Having only been to North America and Europe in 2014, that book inspired my to step foot on all six inhabited continents in my 20s.

In 2015 I landed a 2-week summer position for the same company in China (Continent #3!), met Chris Guillebeau at a book signing in 2016 (I told him about this goal), and moved to Southern California a few months later.

At that point I started working entirely online and went to Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia (Continent #4!) in 2017.

Towards the end of 2018 I was offered a short-term position working with Global Degree in Costa Rica and Panama, and made my way down to Colombia. South America - Continent #5!.

Africa has been on my list for a long time (a 7-day safari trip was cancelled in 2016 due to my old job) and I hope to make it there soon!

Antarctica would be a crazy awesome bonus but I’m allowing that to come later unless an opportunity comes up sooner!

If I could go back and tell myself in May 2014 that my travel blog remained a huge part of my life for this long…

Paris, France - my first solo trip - June 2014

Paris, France - my first solo trip - June 2014

that I was actually making progress on my continent goal and traveling internationally every year…

that I had done real collaborations with hotels and other brands for my blog and socal media…

that I self-published a book

and moved to Southern California just one mile from the beach, all while earning a full-time online income…

I think I would have been doing the BIGGEST happy dance!

Sometimes it takes some self-reflection to look back a year (or five) to truly see HOW much you have grown.

Oh heyyy this is my book ;)

Oh heyyy this is my book ;)

Some of the big things I did in the past five years were on my list from the second I hit “publish” on that first post.

Others cropped up along the way.

While it wasn’t always easy, I did my best to trust the process and kept doing things that brought me joy.

My blog? It didn’t bring any income for at least two years. But I did it anyways because I LOVED it. Now it actually makes up for some of my income (or most of my income, depending on the month)!

But my intention for this blog was to always write from the heart, inspire, and connect with people. As corny as that sounds.

If you knew you would actually make some of your biggest dreams come true, how would that change what you are doing right now?

One of my first travel jobs - working as a travel guide in Italy

One of my first travel jobs - working as a travel guide in Italy

How has your life changed in the past five years? How could you celebrate your wins and ease up on yourself about the goals that haven’t happened yet if you knew they were on the way?

How can you trust the process when things are difficult or your goal seems so out of reach?

There were times I felt so in flow it was easy. And there were times of stress, confusion, or technical issues that made me want to pull my hair out.

I applied to go to China and was given the approval on their side and cleared off vacation days at my old job….and then structural changes happened with the China program.

I almost - almost - lost the position like that. Poof. It took a lot of convincing on the phone to ensure that I kept that job and that they honored the contract. But woah, was that a close call.

One year later I was still working my full-time office job and was taking two weeks off to work + travel for another conference in Europe. I was told it would likely be okay for me to take an extra week off (five days unpaid) to go on safari in South Africa since it was the slow season.

Right before I booked that leg of the trip, HR said I couldn’t take that time off. I somewhat understood their reasoning and knew I didn’t have control since I wasn’t running the team, so I couldn’t really be upset. When I got back, the negative energy the office environment had sadly turned into spurred me to put in my notice within 60 days, move to California, and freelance online.

Trusting the process has meant that if it’s not now, it will come later.

Africa didn’t happen in 2016, but I have no doubt it will come soon.

My goal for moving to California was May 2016, but it didn’t happen until October 2016. I knew I would do it, it just took a little longer.

I applied to work with Global Degree in 2017, and didn’t work with them until the end of 2018. This felt so incredibly aligned that something within me told me to keep checking in to see if they needed me…and eventually, they did.

Know that if it’s meant for you, it will happen, you just have to keep taking action steps to get there and follow your intuition for guidance.

Every positive blessing in your life is there because it is meant to be there. Every difficult moment is a lesson in disguise.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

I choose to look at some of those tougher moments as lessons and turning points.

I choose to celebrate every blessing and opportunity.

It’s important to look at both!

Are you saying “no” to good opportunities or deflecting blessings/good things because you don’t feel deserving or like “someone like you” couldn’t do that?

If it’s there, it’s there for a reason. Let your intuition be your guide. Say YES if it feels right.

Working with Global Degree in the San Blas Islands!! - December 2018

Working with Global Degree in the San Blas Islands!! - December 2018

With that said, here are some of my all-time FAVORITE blog posts on Go Seek Explore:

10 Reasons Why You Should Travel After College - my very first post!!!

Full Work + Travel Guide

How I Traveled to 8 Places in 2015 (Despite Working Full-time)

10 Non-travel Rituals That Helped Me Travel More

5 Mindset Shifts That Took Me From Wanderluster to Traveler & Digital Nomad

How to Make Friends in a Foreign Country: 7 Ways to Meet People Abroad

The Ultimate List of Jobs That Pay You To Travel The World

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.

It means so much that you read these posts, connect in the comments on Instagram, and send me emails saying how you’ve taken action from my advice or that you were simply inspired.

I couldn’t do this without you, so thank YOU!

Cheers to five years! Can’t wait to celebrate with you when we reach 10. ;)

As always,

Stay awesome and travel on,

Ally