The Blogger Behind the Blog: My Travel Story
My favorite blog posts tend to be those posts that tell the blogger’s story, or at least a portion of it. I like to learn where people come from, and learn about the experiences they’ve had that have led up to them doing whatever it is that they are writing a blog about. So I was shocked to realize that I’ve never actually shared the story of how I became a world-traveling blogger here on my blog.
The Early Years
I’m from a town of less than 3,000 people outside of Nashville, Tennessee. In my early childhood, I wasn’t a world traveler by any stretch of the imagination (in fact, I didn’t even board a plane until I was 16 years old!) After that first trip to New York City, which was quickly followed by my first international trip to Paris, London and Madrid with a group from my high school at age 17… I was hooked.
The University Years
I’ve lived in Nashville since 2008, when I left my tiny hometown to attend college. Like many undergraduates, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I first started school… but when I stumbled upon the International Business degree page of my university's website during the second semester of my freshman year, I immediately submitted my change-of-major paperwork. The important thing about the International Business degree was that it required you to study abroad in order to graduate: the perfect excuse to convince my parents I needed to keep exploring the world (my degree requires me to travel, mom!)
After I picked up my second major in Economics, I realized that it would be difficult to study abroad for a full semester or year at a time due to the mix of classes I needed to take each semester being pretty specific... and also due to the expense factor (we all know I'm a Europe fan, but let's be honest: living in Europe for 6 or 12 months isn't cheap!) As it turns out, there are ways to travel during college even if you aren’t able to study abroad for an entire semester or year. The summer after my freshman year, I volunteered as an English teacher in Hong Kong. I also studied abroad during shorter summer terms at the London School of Economics and through programs my college hosted in Turkey and Argentina (living in Europe for 1 or 2 months instead of 6 to 12: much more affordable!)
By the time I graduated in May of 2013, I’d added six new countries to the list of three I’d visited in high school… bringing my total to ten countries including the U.S.
The World of Work
Almost exactly one month after walking across the stage to receive my diploma in May, I found myself in my first very first cubicle in June of 2013. Within the first six months of starting work full time, I was lucky enough to establish a small group of coworkers and friends who wanted to travel as much as I did (and who had similar budget constraints). We figured out how to use our limited vacation time as efficiently as possible, and I was able to add another five countries to my list in my first three years out of college.
In March of 2016, I knew it was time for a change. I gave notice that I wouldn’t be renewing the lease at my apartment, started this blog, and prepared to move out of Nashville, TN and onto something new. But that master plan wasn’t to be, at least not at that time, and instead I found myself accepting an offer to work for another Nashville-based finance company.
True to form, I was able to squeeze in a trip to Ireland (a new country to me) between leaving my old job and starting my current job in May 2016. Since then, I’ve continued to plan vacation time as efficiently as possible, and have been able to add an additional two new countries to my list in the two years I’ve been in my current role.
A World of Thanks
My favorite travel blogger on the web, Brenna Holeman from this Battered Suitcase, does a fantastic job of bringing a dose of reality to travel blogging (...which is one of the primary reasons she is my favorite). I’ll try to state some facts half as well as she does when she is putting things in perspective: I’m well aware of the fact that living in a country where I even have the ability to travel is a privilege. Being able to earn my own money and spend it how I want to spend it is a privilege. Being born where I was born is a privilege. Being healthy enough to visit multiple countries all over the world is a privilege. Being able to say what I want, and write what I want about my travels in a public forum, is a privilege.
I’m thankful I’ve had the privilege to meet people from around the world and learn about privilege firsthand.
I’m thankful that I have had the opportunity to fall in love with travel over these past ten years.
I’m thankful for all the people who have supported my love of travel, whether they’ve dropped me off at an airport, sent me a WhatsApp message just to say hi while I’m on the road, helped me plan a trip, accompanied me on a trip, or just stopped by to read a post here on the blog… they are all part of this adventure story, just as much as I am.
18 Countries and Counting…
At the time I’m writing this post, I’m less than a week away from turning 28 years old. 18 countries in 28 years… needless to say, it has been an adventure so far, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!
I’m always looking for feedback and advice on what content you want to see here on the blog, and what countries you think I should visit next! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and thank you again for being a part of this adventure.