A little background...
Spoiler Alert: I have never done this before. I am writing this for me. If someone decides they like what I have to say about traveling to the places I have been or want to go, awesome. If not, that's awesome too. I love traveling, seeing new places, trying new things and meeting new people. So I am going to write about my experiences whether the world wide web wants to read about them or not.
Now that that's out of the way, here is a little background on who I am and why traveling means so much to me:
I grew up in a tiny town in southeastern Wisconsin with a pilot father and a flight attendant mother with my younger sister, Carole. Having a pilot father and a flight attendant mother who would jet-set all around the country every week certainly sparked an interest for travel in me at a young age. My grandmother has been to all seven continents, yes, all seven--even Antarctica (At 80 she's still a badass). Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to travel and see the world as my parents and grandparents have done. I traveled all around the United States, Canada and Mexico with my family from diapers through high school. I remember the first time my parents decided I was old enough to fly by myself to go visit my seven-continents-grandma. While I was on that flight at age eleven I told myself I was going to see as much of this world that we live on as possible.
I have an obsession with maps. I used to analyze our family atlas book and dream about all of these far away countries that I wanted to visit one day. Europe was a fantasy that only existed in history books, Africa was a different world that was made up only of pixels in photos. I wanted to see the remote places where tourists rarely ventured. I wanted to see these famous cities that had buildings older than my entire country. I wanted to see everything. I used to think, "How can I die without seeing every inch of this world?"
By college, I was ready for my adventure. I decided to study abroad my entire sophomore year at the John Felice Rome Center in Roma, Italia. Needless to say it was the best decision I ever could have made. It gave me the ability to travel to places I had only ever pointed at in my parents coffee table atlas. I was able to visit 16 countries in nine short months. As I traveled I lost myself at first, but as I continued over the year I began to find myself-- a new, different person with a new outlook on the world. Cliche? Maybe. But still true.
I fell in love. Not the romantic type of love, but with the world; the open spaces, the cramped alleyways that are the labyrinth of Roma, the accents, the food, the culture, the fact that lines do not exist, the vendors trying to sell roses on the cobblestones, the view of the night sky from the rooftop of a villa in Toscana, the old man that sold flowers from his stand on Viale delle Medaglie d'Oro with a cigarette constantly hanging from his lips who would always say, "buongiorno" to me every time I would run by.
Falling in love with the world is both wonderful and heart-wrenching. There is never enough, you always crave more. Adventure will fulfill your current desires, but only momentarily. The thought of new places consumes you. The more you travel, the more you fall, the more you want to experience. Traveling is like a drug; once you have tasted it you can never go back to living a sedentary existence.
Now that I am back in the United States to finish my degree I find myself constantly looking at my calendar for free weekends. I planned my fall semester to only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays to maximize the opportunity to go somewhere new. I spend my free time planning new trips around Central America, Southeast Asia, and hiking through the Rocky Mountains. I have researched internships in Vietnam, English-teaching positions in Romania, service trips to Serbia and being an au pair in Istanbul. I procrastinate by reading BuzzFeed articles such as the 39 Reasons Studying Abroad in Italy Ruins your Life. I constantly feel the need to get up and leave. I also feel as if I need to apologize for constantly talking about where I have been and where I want to go next. My Instagram is full of #tbt's of my past travels. My Pinterest looks like I work for a travel agency. For an addict like me, adventure is my nourishment. This does not mean I hate where I am from, my home, or my country; just that I have a fascination--a yearning, a desire--to learn more about this planet that we live on and to see all that it has to offer.
Now the question is, where to next?