“How do you travel so much?” and “Why do you travel so much?” are just a few of the frequent questions I get asked. My answer? It’s in my blood. That’s the whimsical answer of course, but there’s much more to it; reasons that have been rooted in me from childhood. I was the ‘traveler child’. The truth is as of now I only get out of the country about twice a year. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point, as I know some people would only dream of traveling internationally twice a year.
When I first started blogging, I had a tiny little site that no one knew of. It was my experiment and my first shot at actual travel blogging. Well, you guessed it… The site failed. Or at least I had failed my own site intentionally. I found it particularly hard to only write travel pieces as I just wasn’t getting the traveling done that I had wanted to. So I let the domain expire and never looked back. A few years later, when I was ready again and armed with more interests than just traveling, I started the blog you are reading now. But I understand the questions still remain. Why and how?
“It’s in My Blood”
Do you ever have something you feel like you must do? Like going to the gym a minimum of three times a week, getting your nails done every month, or packing your kid’s lunch every day so they eat healthy. Essentially, life things that make you feel good. That’s how I feel about traveling. It’s not a thought of ‘maybe’, but rather something I couldn’t imagine my life ending without doing.
When I was a child I was always kept busy. To this day I feel slightly embarrassed because music, movies, and tv shows just weren’t a part of my childhood. I don’t remember hit songs or old school tv shows. Instead I was out at the zoo, or being taken to a piano concert with my grandparents. Often we traveled to California on the weekends to visit my aunt.
By the time I was 15 I had traveled to most states in the U.S. by car or by plane. My parents didn’t make things easy. If we were going to go somewhere we were going to drive and have a grand old time. We regularly did camping, road trips, plane rides, day trips, you name it! If my parents went somewhere, we went with them, always. I even remember getting lost in Boston at a young age with my mother.
So this was how I grew up, and to this day it’s amazing I can sit still for a few minutes.
(Vintage London 2004)
When I was 16, we took our first international trip as a family. By this time I had been all over the country. I remember my family settled on using a tour service through the United Kingdom. The tour was completely planned out and we’d spend a lot of our trip on a bus driving between London, Cardiff, and Edinburgh. I remember before we left looking at the brochures we had received which had pockets full of information. I was so curious that I bought a book on London at the local Barnes and Noble and literally read it front to back. Nothing excited me more, and that was probably the moment I decided that making travel plans was the coolest thing ever. Every day I looked through the information counting down the days until we left. I packed my own umbrella. I was ready. In hindsight the flipflops were a bad idea, but hey, I was a 16-year-old girl. #liveandlearngirlie
We made it into London Heathrow and I was ecstatic. Yes, ecstatic over an airport. This also started my love of flying and being in airports. I loved the hustle and bustle of it all! Of course it rained that day, and the little girl who read all the books at Barnes and Noble was the only one who packed an umbrella. I still make fun of my parents about it to this day.
London was a major turning point for me as a person. I remember I was quite a shy kid, and while I had been traveling a lot domestically, I never really broke out of my shell. Something clicked in London and I was excited. I talked more, I said ‘you’re welcome’ to strangers, and I even took a walk by myself one morning to get a cappuccino at Cafe Nero in Kensington. Who was I? I was a girl visiting an international city for the first time, and I couldn’t soak it up any faster.
Being in the bus sucked the whole time, as I’m sure you’re wondering how that ended up. We had a fantastic tour guide though who really made it memorable. I remember his name was Tony and on our last day I asked to take a photo of him, something I had never ever done before to any stranger at home. While I would obviously not recommend bus tours, it also gave me the opportunity to see Wales and Scotland. It was my family’s first large trip with all us kids so having something planned out with a daily schedule seemed like the right way to go at the time, and it is still one of my favorite memories. London will always be my number one. I did after all derive my blog name from my experiences in London later in life. All you need is a coat and a coffee.
(In front of Westminster Abbey at 16. Fashion sense: questionable. Circa 2004, I think these photos are considered ‘vintage’ now.)
One Trip Was Never Enough
This is the part I am going to feel a little ashamed by writing, because it makes me appear ungrateful. It’s not often you meet many people who are planning their next trip while on a their current trip, and it’s not often you meet anyone who doesn’t love that feeling of ‘home’. These are a few of the qualities I possess. While it makes me appear unappreciative of my current travels, I can assure you that isn’t the case. When I came home from London, I dreamt of my next trip and the ways to make it happen. Unfortunately I was 16 and trying to deal with being 16. Teenage years for the win! I didn’t travel internationally again until much later, and when I learned how much money it actually took.
Now my goal every year is to get out of the country at least once. That may sound crazy to some people, but I’m telling you when you prioritize something and make something a goal, you will work your butt off to accomplish it. I’ve written about making traveling a goal previously. It really does work, and that is in part why I am still able to travel so much. There isn’t another option for me and I plan my next trip before my previous one is over. It’s just something I must do. It’s in my blood.
Of course one trip a year could be enough for you and that’s okay too! Everyone is different and I haven’t met too many people who share my love of traveling enough to pursue it. I say it like that because mostly everyone loves to travel, but it’s a matter of how much you want it and how hard you’re willing to work for it. Most people say to me, “Man it must be nice to travel so much, I wish I could do that too.” The truth is you can. Anyone can. You just have to be bat shit crazy in love with it like I am. That’s where the line usually gets drawn for a lot of people, and I’m always on the other side.
Traveling has given me more than I could have ever asked for. It’s the experience that just keeps giving even years down the road. This is noticeable throughout my London story, citing memories from over 10 years ago. It also changed me as a person, if you remember. With every trip comes a profound adventure that isn’t like the last. It’s quite funny to think about all the things we’ve gone through and consumed throughout our lifetime that aren’t even a part of us anymore. There’s so many things! Of course there are certain defining moments in life that are worth the extra money spent. Like prom for instance. I still have my dress hanging in the closet. For me though, traveling is about so much more than the things I own. I knew from a young age that home was fun, but being outside in the world was a greater adventure.
For now it is my goal to keep sharing my adventures and love of traveling with my readers. I’ve wanted to do a background post on my story for a while now! So this was a little look in to my younger life as a traveler, and my current views on traveling and why I keep traveling (and will probably never stop). Of course I am interested in all your stories as well.
I know as bloggers we’re always taught to end with a question to keep readers engaged, it’s really no secret. Or maybe I’ve just broken some blogger code and the jig is up (oops)! But I genuinely want to know your story, and how many of you possibly have similar stories to mine.
So how did you start traveling, and what does it mean to you? Leave me a comment below and let’s discuss! Also if there are any areas you’d like me to expand on more in a separate post, do let me know! I had a lot of fun writing this one.