To be perfectly candid, this is my third travel-related blog. But, from failure we learn to evaluate, re-strategize, and persist if we are truly passionate about something.
My first blog was a failed live chronicle of my study abroad adventures gallivanting around Italy and other parts of Europe. I allowed myself to indulge in a whirlwind of Europe's artistic, culinary, and historical treasures, (and wine…never forget the wine) at the expense of not setting aside time to reflect or write. The 5 months passed by quickly, and in them I gained a new sense of self that was more confident and independent, as well as a good grip on a new language (which I then lost due to lack of use in the States). I also gained a lot of weight, though in retrospect, I think that skipping the Freshman 15 in favor of the Italian 15-20 was a better way to do it. In the end, I had 3 blog entries to show for it and more Facebook photo albums than I care to count (because back then, album size was limited). While my ability to maintain the blog was pretty abysmal, I like to think that I still won at living in the moment and thoroughly embracing my life abroad.
My second blog, which garnered a whooping 4 entries, started by reminiscing on those Euro-adventures while preparing for new ones. I was fresh out of college and my plans to go straight to grad school, then thwarted by an idea to teach English abroad in Chile, both fell through. I jumped at the first opportunity I received, making good on a promise I'd made to my 10-year old self that one day I would leave South Carolina. Without really knowing what this "full time volunteer gig" with a youth development program would entail, I packed up and moved to Miami where I knew no one. While trying to live on and pay rent with the measly $1,000 per month stipend (plus food stamps and a monthly transit pass!) in a city known for unaffordability and inefficient public transit, I learned the true value of $1, frugality, time and making the most out of life, no matter where I was, who I was with, or the size of my budget. That experience was filled with highs and lows as I adapted to financial, cultural, social and emotional struggles, and without a doubt why I actually became so fond of Miami. During that year, I also managed to embark upon my first international solo trip, which truly altered my outlook on my personal ability to travel, among other things.
Fast forward some years. Miami is still my home and launchpad, and my passion for traveling, cultural education, and worldly adventures still runs deep. I've been to 22 countries (11 since moving to The Magic City), 5 continents, and 23 U.S. states. These cumulative experiences continue to influence who I am today and why (I think) the third time's the charm.
This blog is not only a compilation of travel memoirs and tips I've picked up, but also a means of increasing awareness and understanding of different people, places, and histories experienced. It's an introspection of attempts to balance perfection, detail, and plans with messy, spontaneous adventures and navigating roadblocks; an introverted persona with less awkward attempts to befriend strangers along the road; self with community; and exhilarating yet exhausting travel with mindful self-care. It's also a cheerleader and resource to help you go on your own adventures and explore this beautifully crazy world we live in.
I hope you enjoy this journey with me, and let me know if there's something in particular you want to read about!
PS - You can follow me on Instagram @awavearoundtheworld and Twitter/Pinterest @awavetravels.