True Story: I had never been outside the US until I was 22 years old. (Except for cruises to the Bahamas, which being from Miami I don't really count) Anywayy....Yup. I got bit by the travel bug really late in life. Here is my story...
I met Matt (my now husband) back in 2012. I know most of you don't want to hear a boring love story. But my travel story starts with meeting him. One night after a LOT of tequila shots I told him how I had never been to Europe but dreamed of going (I know - so #basic). So right then and there we booked a 6 week trip to Europe together. Couple things you should know though: First off, we were only 2 months into "seeing each other" (why do us millennial's hate putting labels on things) AND the trip didn't even leave until 6 months from that night. YAY alcohol! Nevertheless, I was young and excited and I basically just crossed my fingers that we wouldn't end up hating each other in a couple of weeks - or on the trip.
Luckily, we ended up staying together and went on that trip. And even luckier it was amazing. We went to all of the cliche places - Barcelona, Amsterdam, Munich - and I was hooked. I loved traveling - and him.
But we got back and life moved on. Matt got accepted to Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville and I moved with him. I got a job bartending and settled into what I thought you were suppose to do: "Normal" life.
In the fall of 2014, Matt and I were both itching to travel. I suggested Ireland and we did a lot of research when suddenly reality hit us. We had no where near enough money to travel. Not going to lie, I got pretty upset. What I had always thought, you need to be well off to travel, was being proven to be true. We were comfortable, but not rich; I was supporting Matt and myself both on bartending tips. Plus we weren't thinking about saving for travel, we were just enjoying life. Going out on dates, shopping, splurging on things. I dropped the trip idea.
Thankfully, Matt doesn't give up easily. He suggested a budget trip; a road trip. We had always talked about seeing the Grand Canyon and he crafted up a trip around that location. We would take a month (his winter break) to drive from Nashville to California and back. We went. It was amazing.
When we got back from our trip across the southern US, we felt foolish for waiting as long as we did to go on such an incredible journey. And we (especially me) felt foolish for thinking that you need a ton of money to travel. YOU DON'T! Just like you don't need to take a 9 hour flight across an ocean to have an amazing and life changing travel experience. (seriously, google stuff that is a couple hours drive from your hometown - you will be surprised)
Anyways, after the road trip with all these amazing experiences and pictures, we wanted to excite someone, anyone, to seek out the kind of traveling experiences we had been so lucky to have. That desire brought about this blog.
I started this blog to write about my experiences and to help others achieve theirs. Honestly I had no idea what I was doing, but I slowly learned. Also, the minute I got home from the road trip I started working again and saving up again for my next trip. This time we stopped spending money on almost everything that wasn't travel related. Date night = A movie on Netflix and a homemade meal. We barely ate out, I even cut out my chipotle obsession. GUYS, I CUT OUT CHIPOTLE!!! (#lifeissohard) We started tracking every dollar I made and made sure we spent it appropriately.
I also got a job at a second restaurant. Some days I worked over 15 hours between the two places. My goal was to make money as fast as possible and whenever I had saved up for my next trip I got my shifts covered and went.
I also should take a moment here to thank both sets of parents in Matt and my life. Without them we wouldn't be where we are today.
Anyway, fast forward to the Spring of 2015. We received wonderful news that Matt had landed a 6 month (unpaid) internship with the UN in Switzerland. I was weary about money - Switzerland is expensive. At first I thought I would stay home and work to help us afford this. Matt (as usual) convinced me to come with him for as long as possible. This meant saving a ridiculous amount of money and carefully planning to go to other countries out of the Schengen zone. (stupid 3 month rule) I worked my butt off and saved up as much as I could and after a lot of hard work I was able to spend September - January traveling around Europe (and Africa!). Matt would meet up with me when he could (mostly quick weekend trips) but mostly I traveled by myself - for the first time ever.
I LOVED IT.
Of course I love sharing travel experiences with my husband, but there is something about traveling alone that I am drawn to. Maybe it is because I am an introvert in disguise (I know you would never know right!) but being able to do whatever I wanted to do all day and on my own time frame was an all around fantastic experience for me.
While on our Europe trip we took some wedding photos. Matt and I both love the hobby of photography and had so much fun taking these pictures all around the world. We shared them with our friends and family at our wedding in June (as a surprise!) and then with the world on our blog. They got picked up on a couple of sites. We had articles on Yahoo, Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. My following began to grow.
After our wedding we spend 52 days traveling around the world. Our route: Miami - Seattle - Alaska - Thailand - India - Russia - New York - Miami. And when we arrived home we settled into life in NYC.
That currently brings us to present time. Matt is now a lawyer with ridiculously long hours (some nights he doesn't get home till 2am!). I planned to find a job in god knows what field and start "real life". (Yet again I thought this was the right path) Thankfully my husband realized what I really wanted to do: Continue writing and traveling as much as I could. He convinced me to keep writing and keep traveling. Without him (as you can see) multiple times I would have given up.
So now today I travel somewhere once a month. I am a free-lance writer and run this blog helping as many people as I can follow their own dreams to travel. I contribute to Huffington Post and tons of female driven travel websites.
So, after that longgggg story (thanks for reading this far - you rock) I hope you take away two very important things.
One: Nothing is easy, or simple. And to quote my travel friend Alyssa "Dreams don't work unless you do." (Go check out her travel site - she is awesome). If you think you are living the wrong life (like I thought so many times) GET OUT OF THAT LIFE! I, thankfully, had Matt pushing me every step of the way. If you don't have that in your life, let me be that person. YOU CAN DO THIS! You can make your life the best it possibly can be. You just have to believe you can. (and commit to it)
Two: I hope that this blog inspires whoever reads it to stop putting travel goals off. There will never be a perfect time to travel. Plan for and take that big vacation this year rather than next. And then, when you get back from vacation, I hope you ask the same question I've been asking myself (and others) since I first started to travel: "Where to next?"
If you ever have any question about traveling (or just life in general) do not hesitate to email me!