Wanderlust: How I Became a Traveler

People often ask, how did this travel thing begin? Why do you want to travel? Where have you been before? The answer is pretty straightforward. Although I was raised by parents who didn’t have the means to travel my mother had a baby brother and a baby sister who were famous in my household for their international exploits.  This aunt and uncle seemed mythical to me as I grew up–popping in to visit us from around the world where they were studying, traveling, biking, living.  (My uncle lives in Kyoto, Japan and my aunt lived in New Zealand until she died).  I grew up just kind of assuming that I would, at the very least, backpack Europe during college. Taking a backpacking trip seemed obligatory to me as part of my college experience.  And it was.   Except my “one obligatory backpack Europe trip” turned into many, many adventures (and cost me lots and lots of money plus interest as many, many almost all of these adventures were financed).  The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college my childhood best friend Carmen and I took off for 2 months of train travel across Europe with nothing but our backpacks, passports and good American attitudes.  I have more stories from that trip than can fit on this blog and so I’ll keep most of them to myself, for now.  They are typical American backpacking stories and they are extraordinary backpacking stories. But after that first trip, I was hooked.  Like a hormone-driven teenager, I could not get enough--travel, that is.

The following January, I found a cheap ticket from Seattle to Paris ($350 rt) and took off for Paris solo during winter break.  The following March was my 21st birthday and my mom and I celebrated with a vacation to Wales where my (previously mentioned) baby aunt lived.  The following summer I studied abroad with an ASU honors college program for 6 weeks in London, Edinburgh and Dublin.  During our three day weekends I traveled to Wales again, to Glasgow (where my baby aunt had attended veterinarian school and had some good friends who hosted me), to Galway, and, against my professors’ wishes, to Belfast (alone, during July, the month of  the “troubles”).  When the program ended, I backpacked around Eastern Europe.  The following summer I spent A MONTH driving around Ireland and Northern Ireland and that next fall I found myself studying at La Sorbonne in Paris.  I WAS HOOKED.  Seriously.  But here is why I love traveling: cultural capital. Information. Steep learning curves. Perspective. FOOD. PEOPLE. LIFE.

To date, my adventures:

Mexico (duh)

Canada (double duh)



France (favorite)









Czech Republic




Northern Ireland


Turkey (second favorite)

New Zealand

Puerto Rico (just foreign enough to count)


Hong Kong


South Africa


Where next?

My bestie Robin and I have decided that we are going to celebrate our 20 year friendversary (friendship anniversary–why should we only celebrate romantic anniversaries?) by kicking off an annual “girls trip” somewhere fantastically foreign.  Our inaugural trip will also coincide with our 40th birthdays–only a month apart–in the spring of 2016.   Where should we go?





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