For most of my life I’ve been a traveler. At the age of eight my family moved from rural Alaska to Hawaii, and for the rest of my youth we moved houses every year or two without fail. New schools, new houses, new friends was a big part of my upbringing. My parents had a big influence on how I processed that newness. They always were excited about the next big opportunity. The nicer house, the new location, the new idea. We rode those opportunities like waves, and when one failed we always had new ones to replace them with. As far as friends, I kept many as penpals telling them of my wild adventures. My parents taught me I was given a chance to reinvent myself everytime I started a new school. I used this to really assess who I was and who I wanted to be.
Everything about being in new places excited me. I loved being in Hawaii where the schools were so diverse, and I love observing the multi-cultural dynamics, learning about new histories and cultures, and engaging in new adventures. I was a traveler before I know what that was.
When I was 14, I took a trip to Japan with one other girl my age. We each lived with separate host families for 6 weeks and my life was violently shaken upside down. We had tofu and whole baked fish for breakfast. We took two trains, a bus, and walked for 45 minutes each way in the humid heat in heavy long uniforms. I was thrown into a world where I could not read the writing nor speak the language, and I had to learn how to get creative quickly. This experience rocked my life in a real way, and ever since I was obsessed with the challenge of international travel. I loved being uncomfortable and figuring it out. It was the beginning of the next 15 years of my life as a world traveller.
Many of my travels I have taken with travel buddies, but many others I have been solo. I savor each experience, and think back to every experience like one think backs to a good meal. Traveling is one of the times I feel most alive. It is when you have to trust people more than normal, see things done in different ways, see the world and its many diverse relationships interpreted in differently.
When traveling solo I like to get up with the sun and walk around new cities. I love seeing a city in its sleeping state. I feel like I am experiencing something special, that not everyone gets to see. I love to watch a city wake up. I love partaking in the morning beverage and breakfast of choice of a particular area. Fried bread and cafe con leche or hot tea and fruit or tofu and a whole fish, let me watch the sunrise… I love learning new languages and seeing the ingenuity at every level of humanity. I love the raw approaches to business and the true connectedness that still exists in many corners of the world.
Travel, for me, puts me into alignment. It is a challenging game if discovery that turns all my senses on. Does travel do this for you? Do you have any wild travel stories you would like to share? I would love to hear them!