Well, it looks as if this week is rather divergent– my posts haven’t followed my schedule at all. Maybe I should start writing my blogging plans in pencil so it doesn’t bother me quite so much. Or maybe I should start following my own advice and live life as it’s handed to me… Yeah, that’s probably a better idea. Anyhow, back to the divergent part of today’s post. I was going to share some tips on how to make friends while abroad, something I’ve been doing since I could talk. However, as I was scrolling through my feed and catching up on some lovely travel blogs, I came across For the Love of Wanderlust’s awesome “ABCs of Travel” post. Toward the end, she challenged the rest of us to do our own ABCs of travel, which is exactly what I did at two o’clock in the morning when I should have been sleeping. Mine is a mixture of her prompts with my own twist that a fellow travel aficionada helped put together. I hope you enjoy.
AGE you went on your first international trip
Technically I was nine. My family and our friends went to southern Arizona and Mexico for my dad’s birthday, but we only stayed in Mexico for two days. I don’t really count that one, though. I’d probably consider my Mexico trip with my grandparents when I was twelve my first venture “true” international journey.
The most comfortable and uncomfortable BED you’ve slept on.
My parents claim that I could sleep on a rock, and that’s fairly true. I’ve taken naps on concrete floors before. Still, the roll out pallet I slept on my last two nights in Costa Rica were awful. In fact, I didn’t even sleep on it the last night. Watching the sunrise over the volcano was much more interesting. I may have even taken a short nap on the bench outside. The most comfortable bed I’ve slept on was somewhere in Wyoming between Yellowstone and the Tetons. It was about three years ago, though, and my travel documenting was pretty poor then. Anyhow, the bed faced a window in the cabin, so I woke up from a wonderful sleep to see a gorgeous hillside covered by aspen trees. I remember waking up one morning to see a buck grazing right in front of the window.
It would definitely be arroz y camarones (rice and shrimp) from Costa Rica. Marta, our cook while staying in Nosara, would get shrimp in fresh from the market each morning. Everyone else got tired of the rice and beans, but I could live off of it when you add in a bit of seafood or chicken. Mmmm… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Most and least favorite DESTINATIONS
Skagway, Alaska is one of my favorite places in the world, especially since it’s the gateway to the Yukon. I’d hop on a boat and head there right now if I could. My least favorite is actually not too far down the coast. Ketchikan, Alaska wasn’t awful or anything, it’s just not somewhere I’d want to visit again. I don’t consider it a must see, either.
EVENT you experienced that made you say “wow”
How do I choose just one? My travels have been full of “wow” moments. Watching a glacier capsize, standing only a few yards away from a moose nursing her young calf, swimming in glacier water lakes as the Tetons reflect off the water, enjoying breathtaking sunsets in Costa Rica, staying up all night to see the sunrise over a volcano, and racing over the world’s longest canopy ziplines. Still, I think my favorite “wow” moment was getting my first glimpses of the Yukon. That’s the moment where I knew that travel was my passion.
FAVORITE mode of transportation
Horseback riding counts right? I’ve seen some of the most beautiful country from the back of my two mares as well as all the wonderful other equines I’ve gotten to know in many different places. I still haven’t ridden along the beach, though… Maybe I’ll pack up the trailer and head for the ocean.
GREATEST feeling you have during travel
Waking up to a new horizon and realizing that I can actually breathe. I don’t travel to escape life; I travel to live. It feels wonderful to be myself, to be able to combine my passions of learning and travel. To sum it up, freedom is the greatest feeling of travel.
HOTTEST place you’ve traveled
Mazatlan, Mexico. I visited with my grandfather in the summer and it was beyond hot and humid. It also didn’t help much that we walked everywhere. Actually, I think I almost passed out three or four times. Granted, I’ve been to the city other times during the year, so it isn’t always hot, but…
What INSPIRES you to travel
This is so hard to describe… I think the word “fernweh” best fits. My inspiration for travel comes from a deep yearning and homesickness for places I’ve never been. Reading probably plays a large role in that, since it allows me to visit far off lands in my mind’s imagination.
JOURNEY that took the longest
A thirty-two day road trip counts as a pretty long journey, right? From Amarillo to Phoenix, the West Coast to Alaska, and Canada to Yellowstone, there was always an adventure. Living out of a suitcase for that long was also a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Favorite KEEPSAKE from your travels
In Costa Rica, I made friends with a young married woman who made beautiful bracelets and necklaces. Unlike several people in my class, I made it a mission to use as much Spanish as I could. After a long (but extremely slow)onversation with her, she handed me two rope bracelets and told me to keep them. It was an offer of friendship, so I like to wear them s a reminder that people are people despite language barriers.
Most LOVED national park
The Grand Teton National Park takes the title. Its mountains are beautiful and so are the glacier water lakes. Maybe one day I’ll even live nearby….
MOMENT that you fell in love with travel
I grew up in a family that traveled often, so I think that I’ve always loved travel. Still, there is an iconic moment in my life when I knew that travel was my passion. It was when I stood for two hours on the outside balcony of a train as it wove its way up and into the Yukon. Time and history seemed to freeze and collide as the land around me grew more and more rugged. It’s wildness took away my breath.
NICEST museum you’ve visited
The Lewis and Clark museum in Montana. The first time my family took me, I was six. Years later, it still holds a special appeal. To top it all of, museums are like a day of school. It’s the perfect time to learn.
Where are you OBSESSED with living
Ireland. I will live there for a year or more. It will happen, and don’t even think about mocking my ability to view the unforeseeable future. On a more serious note… While I likely wouldn’t settle there for the rest of my life, it seems like the perfect place for me to live for grad school.
Your favorite way to PACK
My 60L Patagonia Black Hole Duffel/Backpack. It’s the Mary Poppins bag of travel, and I love it dearly. My roommate actually claims that I show my bag more physical affection than I do anyone else. It’s kinda true. I’m not fond of hugging humans, but I won’t hesitate to hug my Patagonia. It also loves me back— I get to overpack (slightly) and still show up with the least amount of luggage. It’s literally a black hole.
QUIRKIEST attraction you’ve ever visited
The Gum Wall in Seattle Washington. Hands down. It was gross and fun at the same time. People have created pictures, names, and patterns with chewing gum. It’s also close to Pike’s Market, so it isn’t out of the way or anything. Definitely go if you’re in the neighborhood!
REALITY of homesickness; when do you experience it?
Normally I don’t get too homesick, but occasionally it’ll hit me. Mostly when I’m in the airport saying goodbye to someone I love. It seems silly, but that’s when I miss home most. Maybe it’s because the excitement of travel hasn’t fully kicked in, and I worry that I’ll miss something important at home.
SPLURGE. Something you have no trouble spending money on
Once and a lifetime opportunities. If I’m in a country, you better bet that I’ll have my touristy moments and participate in some exciting “must do” ritual of travel. Me? I’m terrified of heights. Costa Rica has the longest canopy zipline tour? You can bet that I’m going to go. For someone who is anxiety ridden, I have a strange adrenaline addiction.
Most TOURISTY thing you’ve done
Staying at a fancy resort in La Fortuna was definitely the most touristy thing I’ve ever done. Resorts aren’t my cup of tea, either. Still, it was only for two days, and the food was wonderful. Also, I won’t complain about the hot springs, because those felt beyond amazing. It was a great way to relax and celebrate the end of our classes.
UNFORGETTABLE travel memory
In my opinion, most of my travels are unforgettable. One that I will always remember no matter the occasion, though, is the time I almost got stranded in Detroit’s airport while flying solo for the first time. It was a terrifying travel triumph.
What would be your dream VACATION
Me. My best friend. Ireland. All three preferably with books and writing materials. Also, I would not complain if a castle was involved.
The farthest you have WALKED to a destination
Playa Palada was only supposed to be three miles from the beach house. After getting lost and doubling back numerous times, I estimated that we walked close to ten miles that afternoon. My feet hurt so much the next day.
EXCELLENT view and from where?
Basically anywhere in Paradise Valley, Montana. My family is originally from there, and I’m only slightly bitter that I wasn’t raised in the shadows of such stunning mountain ranges. Words cannot describe how beautiful this land is. Photographs have always seemed like paintings.
YEARS spent traveling
Technically nineteen since my parents have traveled with me since I was a baby. However, it has only been in the last seven years that I took travel seriously. Seven is a fairly good start considering I’m not yet twenty….
Somewhere you have ZERO desire to visit
Hawaii. Other than being the 50th state I’ll need to hit (I’m around 38ish right now), there isn’t any other appeal for me. It seems like a huge, expensive tourist trap. I dunno… it just really isn’t my type of scene.
So there we are; ABCs of travel. I hope you enjoyed, and I would love to see your own lists!