At the time I lived in Los Angeles and my boyfriend had just relocated to New York. I bought a ticket to visit him for his birthday in July, but then it happened. We broke up in June. ‘Crap!, I think. ‘I’m certainly not gonna go to New York now, and I can’t get a refund. What am I gonna do with this plane ticket?’ I thought about going somewhere else, but where and with whom?

None of my friends could travel within my time constraints and I knew my family wouldn’t be up for leaving the comfort of their daily lives. ‘I guess I could go by myself, but people don’t travel by themselves, do they? Plus, where am I gonna stay?’ After all, I spent all of my money on this damn ticket for his stupid birthday – I’m not bitter by the way…

Cut to to a month later…

Dear Ex-Boyfriend, Thank You!

As I nervously walk off a plane I comment to a fellow passenger about how cute her dog is and she asks me what I’m doing here.  I tell her, ‘Well, I’m couchsurfing, here in Portland…by myself.’ Immediately she tells me how she admires my bravery and how envious she is, and then she does something that would change my outlook on people forever. She gives me her phone number and says with a huge smile, ‘We should meet up and I’ll introduce you to all my friends.’ It was this simple little gesture made me realize that I was going to be JUST FINE.

Traveling alone from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon might not sound like such a big deal to many of you but in my 29 years of living, I had only left California a couple of times for work and I certainly didn’t do it on my own. My childhood vacations consisted of family car rides to the beach for the day because that was all we could afford. Traveling was very foreign to me and definitely not something I ever thought was in my future.  

Dear Ex-Boyfriend, Thank You!

Needless to say, I had an amazing time in Portland and I met the greatest people, most of whom are still close friends to this day. I came back to LA with a completely different outlook on life. I was done sitting around just waiting for things to happen. I want to see what else and who else was out there. And finally I get it. I get those annoying people that force YOLO down your throat. I understand those wanderluster-ers.  I totally get why someone would sell everything they own and ditch their high paying corporate job to backpack across Europe.  

I am proud to say that I’m now officially a wanderer too. I decided to ditch my life as an actress, pack up all of my belongings, store it in my mom’s garage and embark on a solo couchsurfing road trip around the US. In other news, I just received my TEFL certificate (teaching English abroad), so who knows where that will take me. For the first time in my life I don’t know what my future holds, but what I do know is that I will fall in love with places, experiences and people along the way.

Dear Ex-Boyfriend, Thank You!

Am I scared? OH YES! But even more than that, I am so unbelievably excited to start my new life!

So you see, ex-boyfriend of mine, if you didn’t break my heart then I would have used that plane ticket to visit you in New York. Instead I took a trip, one state over, that defined my future and because of that I have only one thing to say – THANK YOU!

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Dear Ex-Boyfriend, Thank You!

This is guest post by Mandi Kreisher.

IMG_9846 Mandi eats like a 6 year old, shops in the little boys section at Target and sleeps on Disney bed sheets.  She is a self proclaimed cat lady, speaks sarcasm far better than English and loves Josh Hartnett.  Follow her on Instagram @mandiwanders and read about her first world problems at Hardly Grown Up.