Flight 8 / April 4, 2012
DEVON MILLS / Writer, runner, photographer
If you wait until you’re completely ready to make a big change, you’ll spend your whole life standing still. Leap, and the net will appear.
Flight Route Seattle (SEA) —> Los Angeles (LAX) —> Auckland (AKL)
Airline Alaska Airlines, Air New Zealand
I met Devon on a chilly June evening in Seattle, where Jenny Blake had just come in on her book tour. We ended up sitting next to each other and as our conversation deepened, Devon pulled out her big DSLR camera and spoke passionately about her dreams of photography, travel and writing. A few months later, she’s made all of that her reality.
After two years of working in advertising, she realized she couldn’t stand being confined to a cubicle any longer. Luckily, she had saved up money in a “freedom fund” and felt ready to take the plunge. So, with the lofty ambition of backpacking solo for a whole year, she quit her job in November 2011 and spent the next few months selling and donating 99% of her belongings. In February 2012, right around the time I launched Take Flight, Devon took off for New Zealand to begin her adventure.
As this post goes live, Devon’ll be making her way to Singapore after spending two months in New Zealand and Australia. Up next on her itinerary are Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and many more countries.
A 14 hour flight across the Pacific. How’d to get to that point?
I first decided to leave my job to travel in September 2011, but I waited several months to actually buy a one-way plane ticket to Auckland, New Zealand. Once I did, the whole thing finally felt real and SO exciting.
I was still nervous as hell, though. I actually cried and worried a lot in the weeks leading up to my departure, and saying goodbye to my family was really difficult.
I’ll always remember what it felt like to leave Seattle with only a backpack to my name and no clue what would await me in New Zealand. My plane took off at dusk, and I studied the Northwest landscape intently in an attempt to memorize it for those times I knew I would deeply miss my hometown.
The ascent reminded me of my first skydive, which I did just outside of Seattle and also at dusk. The view from my window seat was so similar to what I saw as I plunged back down to Earth, and the fear and anxiety I felt beforehand were much the same.
This flight, however, symbolized a different kind of leap. I haven’t regretted it for a second.
You love writing. How’s that going after taking your flight to Auckland?
Writing is my passion, and it goes hand-in-hand with exploring the world. My blog is about coming up with answers to the poet Mary Oliver’s question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I don’t believe there is one answer, of course, or even a limit on the answers anyone can come up with. The point is to think of how you’d like to answer that question, and then DO IT!
I’ve learned so much about myself by writing about my adventures and what I’d still like to do in the future. Thanks to my blog, I can look back on some of my proudest moments — like finishing my first marathon and taking those first steps on New Zealand soil — and remember that I’m capable of doing anything I want, even if it’s incredibly scary. I hope to inspire others and help people realize that NOTHING is impossible.