Taxi Cab Confessions

As I roam around meeting people I feel like a sponge- soaking in every little piece of wisdom and inspiration.  Every person I meet is interesting in some way.  Even the ones I have not been particularly fond of… are interesting.  The guy working at the front desk, the woman on the train, the guy sitting next to you at the airport gate, the taxi driver, the flight attendant and the backpacker sleeping in the dorm bed next to you- all of them offering up some form of inspiration and a whole lot of life experience.  

I take it all in eagerly.  I am knowledge greedy.  I’ve been this way since I can remember- always wanting to dig deeper, understand more and gather up pieces of wisdom like jewels.  Knowledge is power, and wisdom is grace.  I am of the belief that the more I learn, the better I can be for myself and the rest of the world.  This is the heart of all the reasons I enjoy traveling.  Inspiration and information come at me from all ways no matter which direction I happen to be going that day.  

Take my final day in Brasov, Romania, for example.  After a great few days celebrating Halloween at Dracula’s Castle it’s time to move on to my next destination.  Into the cab and off to the train station I go.

My taxi driver starts out very quiet and standoffish (most would think he was being rude)- I take this as a challenge to break the ice!  So I do.  I crack a joke about something stupid and he laughs a little.  There.  Ice broken.  Ha!

Then he asked me the standard [cliche] questions.  “Where are you from?”  California. (He frowns) “Is this your first time in Romania?”  Yes.  “Are you on holiday?  How long?”  

“No, not really a holiday,” I go on.

 “I am backpacking for a long time and started out here in Europe.  So far I’ve been gone a couple months.”   

He shook his head disapprovingly.  “Ah.  I guess I understand,”  he says.  He’s thinking what a strange person I am- I’d imagine.  I spotted an  eye roll in the rearview mirror and felt criticism coming.  

Interesting response to say “I understand” then act as if I were being outlandish.  I chalked it up to a language/cultural barrier but knew this was about more.  People have such conflicted views on the lifestyle I chose, particularly those who come from a family-oriented traditional background.  Those people think I am living selfishly and erratically.  He is definitely one of those people.   

So then I asked him the standard questions “Are you from here?  Do you like it?  Have you been to California?”  He said yes, yes and then no.  Then he said “I have only been to Italy, but I come home because there is no place like home.  I don’t need to go anywhere else.” 

“Ah,” I said- judgey eyes right back at him, “I understand.  I miss home but seeing the world is better.”  

He replied earnestly, “You have one life.  How you keep it is YOUR problem.”  

We both nodded and smiled and then returned to silence.  It was funny and awkward…like an exchange in a Woody Allen film.  

This got me thinking…Yes, this one life.  My life… my only “problem” now.  I left all the others behind, after all.  I realize then (for what seems like the 100th time) I made the right choice.  I took ownership of my own life- my problem- and took to the road to exercise and strengthen it.  Thank you taxi driver for reminding me of this.  And thank you for reminding me of our fundamental differences.  I am proud of them.  How I keep my life is my honor and indeed, my problem.  

I get out of the cab and throw on my heavy backpack and make my way into the train station with a lot of food for thought.

This life I’ve chosen isn’t normal- I suppose.  Many people think I’m crazy or wild or running away from something.  Many people react like that cab driver, but I no longer pay it much mind.  I don’t care what they think- anymore.

Everyone has the right to choose how they live their lives. I took an extreme and untraditional path this year but it is undoubtedly the best decision of my life.

“This one life.”  My “problem.”  

And I’ve got this.

Are you taking control of your life….er… “problem” lately?


About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.


  1. thebritpacker December 25, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this, and can definitely relate to your experience! People often look at me like i’m crazy for travelling around solo, but it’s my choice and it’s so great to be in control of your own decisions and life 🙂

  2. MariaAbroad December 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    This was a great post Heather. There is so much truth to his statement. Yes, it is your life and it is your problem. But it is also your decision and your joy that you feel when you encounter new people, explore new cultures and discover new countries. I sometimes feel that the travel bug is something genetic. Some people just have the drive to jump in the car/boat/plane and go where ever the path may lead them. They thrive in new environments and accept the challenges that travel might throw at them. For others, being outside their comfort zone is just too much to deal with. I think everybody has some area in life, where they push themselves outside their comfort level. For some it may be travel, for some food, public speaking, bungee jumping or what not. That doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, though. Just be true to yourself and live the life you want to live!

  3. Juliane262 December 28, 2015 at 1:21 am - Reply

    I needed this! Everyone has been letting me know how much they disapprove of my lifestyle lately and it’s been bogging me down. Thank you for reminding me that it is MY life and I only get to live it once!

  4. starbritewarrior January 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    What a great post! You are absolutely right – everyone has the right to choose how they live their lives. We should judge less and support more 🙂

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