Having grown up in Phoenix, Arizona away from my extended family, I learned at a young age the power of travel. Every summer, I would fly or road trip between Arizona and Iowa/Minnesota to see family. I was 19 when I made the move to Iowa to attend college.
As a young athlete, I spent countless hours in the car driving to basketball or volleyball tournaments in California or Nevada. For beach getaways, my family and I would pack up and drive south the 4-hours between Phoenix and Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
I can’t tell you the exact moment, I got the travel bug. I always just knew I wanted to travel. But, there is one memory that comes to mind. I was in Las Vegas with my family, joking about which country of hotel we would want to visit. I’m pretty sure my answer was the Luxor – Egypt.
First Time Overseas
When I started university, I knew I was going to study abroad. My department worked with me so I wouldn’t get behind in my studies. When my junior year finally arrived, I was so ready to truly travel. I was 21.
During my time studying in Perugia, Italy, I spent my weekends exploring. From roaming the Italian countryside and small towns to wandering big cities and many touristy locations, I couldn’t get enough. One long weekend, I escaped to Barcelona, Spain and spent five days in Paris, the city of love. I ended my semester abroad with a 2-week Contiki tour in England, Scotland, and Ireland. I was HOOKED!
Reality hit the moment I stepped back onto US soil. University graduation came and I was onto graduate school. I’m a certified Speech Language Pathologist, and obtaining a Master’s is a necessity in my career. There was no time to take a break to travel.
I gave myself little chances over the next four years. Moving to Washington opened up weekends to venture into the vast mountain ranges and explore Vancouver, Canada.
Travel Bug Strikes Again
In 2014, I won a contest with Contiki called “No Regrets Day” off twitter. I honestly forgot that I even entered. Next thing I knew, I was whisked away on a two-week whirlwind adventure to Mexico. For 3-days, I spent exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and scuba diving with Celine Cousteau and a huge team of divers. I wandered the streets of Mexico City, visited the silver city of Taxco, walked the beaches of Acapulco, and climbed to the top of the ancient temple pyramids of Teotihuacan.
My travel bug was back hard and I knew it wasn’t going to go away. Weekend trips to Vancouver, home to Arizona, and down to Rocky Point weren’t cutting it anymore.
In 2016, I uprooted my life again and relocated to the island of St. Thomas. St. Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands, which allowed me to work as a Speech Language Pathologist in the schools.
For two years, I spent living the island life. Spent weekends at the beach with friends, scuba diving or island hopping between the USVI and the BVIs.My life was all about the surf, the sand, and the sun, with work thrown in.
In 2017, my life changed forever. I was about to start my second year in St. Thomas, when 2 back-to-back category 5 hurricanes hit the Caribbean.
St. Thomas was located at the eye wall for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, causing immense damage to the island. The island life was hard in the weeks that followed, living 99 days without power.
In 2018, it was time for another major change, both location and career. I decided it was time to head to Southeast Asia and become a TESOL certified English as a Second Language Teacher. I moved to Thailand and was placed in a beautiful city in the north called Lampang. It became my home for 16 months where I taught, coached volleyball to amazing students, and practiced the art of Muay Thai. I visited 6 new countries, made countless new friends, and created more memories than my heart can handle!
I have now moved back to Arizona, where I’m beginning another new chapter. It’s weird being home, but with every new chapter comes exciting new opportunities. I have re-entered the speech pathology world and will begin my new job this summer.