I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and for my entire childhood dreamed of traveling the world. By mid-way through college, however, that dream had never come true. Instead, I found myself on track to be a doctor, with an intense course load of pre-med classes, MCAT prep, then 4 or 5 more years of school, 80 hour weeks, and hundreds of thousands of dollars debt in my future. I was burnt out, frustrated, and completely stuck on what I knew, deep down was the wrong path for me.
As terrifying as it was to stay on that path, though, the thought of leaving it for the complete unknown was just as terrifying. I had no idea what I would do, or where I would go, if I threw my well-planned life to the wind.
As graduation approached, my depression grew deeper, and I felt increasingly helpless about my future and apathetic about my classes. I started to toy with the idea of taking a year off. The idea of putting my “life” on hold to go travel right now grew more and more urgent. Friends who had traveled and lived abroad before convinced me that, despite being broke and with no real marketable skills, I could easily find a job teaching English. It was 2009, the year of the worst economic crash in decades and the absolute worst time to be graduating. The thought of burying my nose in textbooks for years to come, or looking for a temporary job related to my intended career, was giving me vicious stress-related migraines. I took the plunge and applied for a teaching position in Taiwan.
Barely three weeks after graduating, I hopped on a plane for Taiwan, and that ended up being the start of a lifetime of adventuring. I have worked as an ESL teacher, private ESL tutor, ESL recruiter, interviewer of ESL candidates, and staff writer on ESL teaching methods for a major recruiting company. I’ve also backpacked around Asia and Europe; lived on a sailboat; taken up rock climbing, canyoneering, mountaineering, mountain biking, and photography; traveled the US as a tour guide; worked as a wilderness mentor in Utah’s deserts; and pursued my interest in creative writing.
The Empty Road is inspired by the idea of getting off the well-traveled highways of life and finding a new, less-trodden road filled with adventure and the unknown. There has always been something deeply inspiring and mysterious to me about an empty road disappearing off into the distance. I made this site to capture some of that magic, as well as to help and inspire others to make the leap and find their own road through life.