Lets go back to summer of 2007 just for a second, right around August time. I had just graduated from Florida State University. A glorious day for the class of ’07…right? Well, yes. Until you realize the fun is over and its time for the “real world.” Time to grow up, time to get a job that doesn’t require a tray or handling of food and beverages in any manner, time for me to start doing what I might possibly be doing for the rest of my life.

What just happened? It seems like it was yesterday that Marianne and I were riding around in Parker’s unsafe bus, or I was hanging out with Jessi in the loft at Colombia Trace, or coming back from a weekend bender of rockin out with Slightly Stoopid and my girls Julia and Teresa,or Colleen and I and our amazing New York for New Years trip. Those were the days where we could sleep in, student loans paid for our rent and fun, and my biggest worry was what to wear to the bar tonight. These days went too quickly and before I knew it, I was back in Tampa working at a restaurant while job hunting.

Long story short, traveling has been a passion of mine for a while now and I wanted to try integrating this passion into my life. Jessi and I toyed with the idea of teaching English in Europe during the year of 2007, however this idea became an amazing vacation instead. We spent 35 action-packed days traveling to: Greece, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and Spain during the summer of 2008. Quite literally some of the most fantastic times of our lives. Little did I know, the idea of teaching English would come back to me.

After this trip, it took me almost a year to find a “real job.” A job that had nothing to do with anything that I studied or that I was remotely interested in. But… it was a JOB! So I started working for a title company which dealt almost solely with foreclosures. So my job, needless to say, was not to my satisfaction. Since I had no experience working, I didn’t make much and therefore kept my job at Hattrick’s downtown, At one point, I was also working for a promo company doing Miller Lite promos.

Yes, I was working three jobs at once. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I figured whatever it was, I was going to need money. So I worked and saved as much as could. When summer 2010 came I was officially over it. I couldn’t take working everyday of the week, getting paid little, not enjoying my job, not enjoying MY life! Why? I was 25  years old at the time and I hated my life. Certainly this couldn’t normal. Certainly I couldn’t be asked to sit behind a desk for the next 50+ years of my life in Tampa, FL. What can I do to get out of this funk?

I finally decided that my thoughts might have been right a few years ago…teaching overseas could be my ticket out of this slump I’m in. I love to travel and experience new cultures, and by teaching- I could still make money. It seemed to be my perfect solution!

So I did just that. I continued working my butt off, saved money, took a TEFL course online to get certified to teach English abroad in Feb 2011, and then… the biggest step yet: Booked a one-way flight to Thailand for May 3rd, 2011!

Why move to Thailand you ask?

1. A cheap place to live. (SE Asia in general actually)

2. Thailand, through some research and thought, seemed to be the best introduction for someone who hadn’t been to the far East.

3. And at this point, I was thinking… Why not?

And so as May 3rd 2011 crept up on me, I quit my jobs, moved out of my apt, sold anything I could, packed up what I didn’t need into the lonely depths of my mothers attic, and said goodbye to my friends, family, dog, and my country for an undecided amount of time.

With my life in two bags I moved my way through the TPA airport thinking of everything I just gave up. I gave up everything to move to a country that I have never been to ( or continent for that matter!), where I don’t have a job, friends, or even a hotel booking for the following night. Holy crap… What did I do?!

Nina Ragusa is an American wildflower who shares her world explorations and methods of living the travel lifestyle – without fluffing the details. You can expect wit and sarcasm dashed between REAL travel information and adventurous stories. Nina is a professional beach bum, a hula hooper, and revels in getting lost on purpose.

Love to travel? Want to live abroad? Don’t know where to start with your next adventure? This is the person to follow. Feel free to contact if you have questions.