Like many of you, I was bit by the travel bug. It's one bug bite that I wish on everyone! Before 2005, my only time out of the USA was for a weekend drive to Canada so needless to say when I decided to embark on a semester abroad in Australia, I was bit extra hard.
Being on the other side of the globe, my eyes were opened to new perspectives, new understandings and a whole new outlook on life. It was during my time abroad when I met people from all over the world unlike growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey where a foreigner was considered someone from a neighboring state. While I very much appreciate my small hometown upbringing, it wasn't until expanding my horizons when I truly began to see the world for all its worth. I went to class and played "lunch time sports" at Wollongong University with newfound friends from Norway, Indonesia, England, Sri Lanka, and, of course, the local Aussies with their amazing accent. It was hard to believe how many similar interests we all shared such as our passions for soccer, travel and the occasional skipping of uni to head to the beach ; ). While our common likes were plenty, I also was enlightened by our cultural differences of which I found to be ever-so fascinating... who knew the rest of the world didn't enjoy PB & J sandwiches?! Vegemite what?! Naturally, I learned more than just unfamiliar culinary tastes, but I'm keeping it simple being that I could write for days on how remarkable it is to learn from cultures apart from our own.
Reverse culture shock is real folks! After my 6 months abroad, it was hard to adjust back to my life in New Jersey. The bug bite wasn't going away, and rather I itched even more to pack my bags and head to my next adventure. It took finishing the next two years of college and working in the real world for a half a year before I made my way across the pond for a two week Euro Trip. It was there where I traveled by myself to London and spent three days enjoying the Old World wonders and meeting new friends at a hostel close by Westminster Abbey. I, then, joined a tour group which took us through the Chunnel to the land of the Eiffel tower, onward to the canals of Amsterdam, over to Munich's Marienplatz and further through the Swiss Alps and onward to the waterways of Venice and beyond. In only 14 days, I met lifelong friends from all over the world and was once again infected with the need for more travel. So much so that two years later I found myself pursuing a Master's degree in London. It was two and half years there that lead me to explore Scandinavia, Scotland, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and more.
My mind and heart have forever been changed from the moment I stepped off that plane in Sydney. I'm most fortunate for all of those journeys and all that is yet to come. It is why I have my journals stacked up in my office and a globe full of pins marking my travels in clear view to remind me of how far I've traveled and how far I have yet to go.
As much as I enjoy sharing my story, I'd love to hear yours! Please share below or leave a message to let me know where your travels started and led you along the way!
I can say with certainty that travel really does broaden the mind & the travel bug really does exist!