My love of travel began at an early age. When I was younger, we moved about quite a bit. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I had lived in four different houses in three cities (and two states). When I graduated from high school, I’d added another city to the list. Now, at 27, I am living in my seventh city and thirteenth apartment/house/etc.
Although I’m sure my parents tell a different story, I really only remember good things about seeing so many new and exciting places when I was growing up. When we moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for example, I remember the autumn leaves changing colors and the snow (a novelty for a girl who’d only lived in Texas until then!) and exciting short trips (like a trip to Washington DC/Arlington, VA). Each place we moved to brought new friends and new adventures.
But it wasn’t just moving around that peaked my interest in travel. I have been an avid reader since I was five or so. I used to blaze through a book in an afternoon. I was always fascinated with the characters and where they were going. It was books, probably more than the actual travel I’d done up to that point, that truly opened my eyes to the world outside. These characters were from places I’d never heard of, much less seen! I was never really interested in fantasy or science fiction, which meant that I was reading about real places – oh the places I could actually go!
And so it was that by the time I was in middle school (6th or 7th Grade), I was fully obsessed with seeing the world. Aside from a couple of trips across the US-Mexico border for some delicious Mexican food, I’d only ever lived in the US! I became resolute that I had to get out and see other places.
My first trip came in 1999, during a Spring Break trip to London & Paris. It was everything a highly structured tour for young teenagers is supposed to be – rigid, limited, exhausting, dramatic, and absolutely amazing. For me, the more profound experience was in realizing that I loved to travel; that seeing new places was like a drug for me.
My second venture outside the US was in 2000/01 during a New Year’s cruise to the Caribbean with my family. Then, after I graduated from high school in 2003, I used money I had saved up and my graduation money to go on a trip to South England for 9 days with my best friend, high school debate coach and her family.
It should be no surprise that in college I searched for a way to study abroad. I was very fortunate (and quite lucky) to have stumbled across a program in the UK for 5 weeks during Summer 2005. That same summer, in fact before I even left for the UK, my family took a cruise to Alaska to celebrate my sister’s graduation from high school. We spent 3 days in Vancouver, British Columbia before boarding a week long cruise to Alaska.
After I graduated from college and “entered the real world,” my opportunities for travel waned. My family took a short trip to New Orleans in 2008 for an extended weekend, but otherwise I spent my time in Texas. In Fall 2008, however, I left Texas for Milwaukee, Wisconsin for law school. Moving to Wisconsin was almost like visiting a new country in and of itself! True to form, I searched for a way to leave the country in any way I could. I found a great study abroad program in London for five weeks in Summer 2009.
My most recent personal trip was a road trip from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Seattle, Washington in Summer 2010. This trip was inspiring in its own way – I often forget how many great things are located right here in my own country. I was lucky enough to see Mount Rushmore, amazing mountains, spectacular plains, and fall in love with a city on a coast! It was also the first time I’ve truly traveled via road trip, which was interesting as well.
My travel story is in no way complete. Faced with law school student loans in amounts greater than many people’s mortgage and a goal to make a Round-the-World trip happen in the next seven years, I have had to adjust my plans to travel frequently. Instead of planning big trips overseas, I take smaller trips to new places here in the US.
I now work in Nashville, Tennessee as a training developer. One of the perks? Plenty of travel! I love seeing new places and finding a way to explore each new place I visit. This helps keep my wanderlust in check, allows me to see new places in my own backyard, and also helps me plan for My Big Pushpin in the future!