Hello, blogosphere! Thanks for taking the time to visit my page. I thought I’d write my inaugural post about my background and why traveling is so important to me at this stage in my life.

I did not leave the United States until I was 24 years old. I used to be so embarrassed of this fact, but I am certainly not anymore. In fact, I hope my story can inspire those of you out there who may be looking to travel abroad for the first time, but are just not sure where to start.

Since I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut. I know every little kid wants to be an astronaut, but I was so serious about it! I read every book I could find about space and space travel, and used my telescope in the backyard on a regular basis. I even begged my parents for family trips to visit the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Cape Canaveral (thanks Mom and Dad)! In high school, I began to realize being an astronaut was not the most realistic of careers, and began to focus on other interests. However, I think the deep desire to explore and seek adventure stuck with me.

In my college years, I was surrounded by friends and classmates who were much more well-traveled than I was, and I began to feel ashamed of how little of the world I had seen. I definitely did not have the funds to start traveling then, and I certainly lacked the confidence as well. I thought I could only travel abroad if I had a companion, and the scheduling and funds never really lined up. So, I tabled my travel dreams for another few years.

I moved to NYC in 2013 to start a career in finance. The around-the-clock nature of my work did not leave me with much time to reflect and plan for a trip abroad. Also, I began dating someone soon after moving to the city, which took a lot of my time and focus (in a positive way!). Career, check! Boyfriend, check! Living in a fabulous city, check! Then, New Year’s Eve 2014 changed everything. My purse was stolen at a club in Soho. My driver’s license, along with my phone and credit cards, was gone. Panic ensued, as I was supposed to fly home to Alabama for a friend’s wedding the next week! My then-boyfriend pointed out, “Why don’t you just use your passport to get on the plane?” I broke down sobbing, and confessed, “I don’t own a passport!”

At that moment, my priorities shifted and my lifelong dream of adventure came into sharp relief. I knew it was time to travel abroad, even if it meant going alone and using a big chunk of savings. Within the next few weeks, I had applied for my passport and booked a trip to Italy. My then-boyfriend was in med school and could not go with me. However, I was finally confident enough to pursue my dream alone.

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My first morning abroad EVER! In Santa Marinella, Italy.

Since Italy, I have traveled in Africa and Mexico, and this summer I will be taking 3 months to travel through Southeast Asia, South America, and Europe. I hope to use this blog as a place to share my ups and downs, funny stories, and observations. I also hope to use it as a place to reflect. Lastly, I want to use this blog to encourage others to travel by sharing how I’ve overcome obstacles in my past to pursue this dream.

Before I leave in May, I’ll be sharing about past trips, both abroad and within the USA. I’ll also share about the planning and packing process. Please feel free to reach out via comments or email!