My Brother’s Death Helped me Realize I wasn’t living life but merely existing.
I decided to become a travel blogger so my friends and family could follow me as I explored this big ole world and hopefully I would inspire them to get out of their comfort zone and travel as well. I did not come from a rich family. My mom was a nail technician and could not afford to take me on vacations, so it wasn’t until I was an adult and could afford to travel on my own that I began to see the world. I’ve learned to live a life that isn’t in vain after August 2014. I lost my brother unexpectantly due to complications from High Blood Pressure. Marco was only twenty-two years old. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am this strong person who knows how to overcome grief because losing my brother was and still is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with and I am still learning how to cope with the loss of my brother. I have a lot of resentment and anger regarding his death because I felt like I was robbed from spending precious time with him and I can’t get that time back. But I am here. Which means that I’m learning to deal with change, the unexpected, and to live on borrowed time.
What did I learn from his death?
I’ve learned to live my life and not to take my friends and family for granted. I’ve had to take something that destroyed me and turn it into something that builds me. As a travel blogger, I am always changing, learning a new culture, or doing something as simple as trying a new cuisine. Marco’s death has taught me to leave the old for the new. Leaving behind the comforts of home – over and over again – just so I can visit other countries and live a new experience. After my brother died I began to look at life and travel through a different set of lenses. The key is to overcome these unexpected tragedies by allowing them to point us in the right direction — and by making sure that what happened wasn’t in vain, but that it continues to inspire us to make our own lives count. I couldn’t think of a better way to record my travels and share things I learned along the way than by starting Passports and Grub and honoring my brother by living life to the fullest because he lived his life to fullest.
Every day I was thinking about my brother, but slowly I began to smile more and enjoy life like he did:
- Exploring Waterfalls
- Admiring the ruins of the Roman Colosseum
- Waking up before sunrise to walk alone on the beach
- Following the giant sea turtles in Hawaii as they were making their way back to the ocean
- Hiking in Costa Rica
- Learning to swim at 45 years old
- And so much more!
I could never have traveled with my brother when he was alive because we were 23 years apart in age. Marco was in college. and me; well I’m just old. We had different passions and very different notions about what we considered fun. Marco wanted to go to Miami for spring break, and me; on the other hand, I enjoyed boutique hotels and relaxing on the beach. After my brother died I began to look at life differently and I began to understand why he was so carefree. Marco’s energy is always around me and because of his death I now know what my passion is and I am living each day to the fullest because of my brother. Traveling has helped me put the pieces of my life back together and start life all over again without him.
Why Travel Blogging
The biggest advantage of being a travel blogger is that it helps me remember or chronicle my travels. Much like a travel journal, I could record the best parts of my travels and include photos and capture memories that otherwise would have been long forgotten.
Meeting like-minded people
Travel blogging is a great way to meet like-minded people who love travel, culture, and food. The travel blogging community has grown immensely over the last few years and I have met so many great people and I also have been able to work with some awesome brands.
Make new friends
It can often take a lot of effort to stay in touch with people on your travels or in social media group but with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it’s a lot easier. Passports and Grub allows me to regularly update all of my friends and family with my adventures online.
Travel for free
Of course, if everyone could make money from travel blogging everyone would be doing it and there are tons of ways to earn money from your travels and work with brands. If you want to pitch to brands and become a successful travel blogger you must treat your blog as a business and create exceptional content. However, it is not easy and blogging will consume your life, so you must be realistic about your expectations and how much money and time you spend investing into your business.
Put it into perspective
By writing about my travels it can often put things into perspective and therefore make those memories seem even more memorable. I can go back and remember how my husband and I rented a Jeep and explored the Road to Hana or rented a four-wheeler in Costa Rica and explored every little small town we came across. I have those memories forever now. I truly believe if more people traveled we wouldn’t live in such a divisive country.
The biggest enjoyment for me as a travel blogger is inspiring other people to get out of their comfort zone and live life now. Why are you waiting until retirement to enjoy life? What if you don’t make it to retirement? What if you die? Let’s be honest, by the time you are 65 you will not have the stamina to travel and do all of the things you would have while you were young. I have had so many people inbox or email me just to say thank you for inspiring them to take that first trip away from home, or tell me how I motivated them to apply for a passport; and now they are taking their first international trip because of me.
What motivates you to travel? What is your passion?