The EasyJet Inspiration Initiative offers a great concept, asking travel bloggers what our travel inspirations are. I was nominated by Heather of There’s No Place Like Oz, whose blog was a major source of inspiration for me when I was planning my year in Australia. I have an inspiration board in my room where I tack up photos from magazines of places I’d like to visit (Mont St. Michel, Taj Mahal), postcards, ticket stubs and other travel mementoes. This post is my more emotional inspiration board, the things I keep tacked in the corners of my mind while planning trips and traveling.
Growing up, the only people I knew who had traveled much outside of the US were my dad’s parents, who I call Meme and Papa. My sisters and I would always try to stay up late enough to go with my dad to pick them up from the airport from one of their many adventures. When we were young, they always brought us dolls, from Russia, Africa and everywhere in between. Now that we’ve outgrown dolls we collect jewelry from around the globe. My personal favorites are the light blue earrings from Greece, reminiscent of the waters of Santorini, and a black diamond necklace my grandfather brought my grandmother from Alaska. They originally started traveling because my grandfather was interested in engine shows, which brought them to Australia and Peru, as well as all over Europe. They’ve been to all 7 continents and have made friends on each trip that they still keep in touch with. Their friendliness and ability to meet people is one of my biggest takeaways from their travels. They have also treated each grandchild to a trip anywhere in the world for their sixteenth birthday, giving each of us the gift of travel. I chose London, Sammi chose Italy and Rachel chose Hawaii.
There’s nothing I love more than talking about travels. Whether you went to India for a year or Indiana for a week, I love hearing every detail. I also feel inspired when people, particularly readers of this blog and acquaintances from home, ask me for advice on how they can incorporate travel into their lives. I’ve been contacted by high school classmates and even recently some gals from my alma mater, College of Charleston, who were planning their own adventures in Australia. My greatest wish from writing for this blog is that I push at least one person to get out there.
If you haven’t read my blog before, you might not have known what a big impact my visit to Croatia had on me. After my May 2010 graduation from College of Charleston, I spent a month volunteering in northern Thailand, followed by a sailing trip through the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. It was one of my first trips completely alone in a country where I didn’t speak the language. I was on a boat with a dozen Australians, all with plenty in common, but it’s where I met “the boy” that brought me to the next stage of my life. The trip made me realize that I can be a solo traveler and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. I also realized that going back home to a desk job just wasn’t for me.
As I said above, I met an Australian boy and decided that I would spend the next year on a working holiday in Australia and see where my relationship with him went. I lived and worked in Sydney for six months and went on a trip from Sydney to Adelaide, through Canberra, Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road, while surviving a flood and a car without air conditioning in the Australian summer. Once my time at the job was over, I went to the Outback and took a bus up the East Coast to Cairns, where I went scuba diving and bungy jumping. I loved my time there and met some terrific people. There’s still so much I haven’t seen there, including Darwin, Perth and all of Tasmania, so I hope to make a trip back there in the future. It’s a land of great contrasts, with desert and coastline, cities and small mining towns. I highly recommend a visit because you can find something for everyone.
I want to nominate some blogs that I’ve recently gotten into because I can’t wait to hear what inspires each of them.