Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Welcome to my blog!
Hello everyone, Thanks for taking the time to read this introductory post. I've been intending to do this for some months now, but am just now finding the time and inclination to start writing. As many of you know, I've had the travel bug for most of my life. My parents always took my sister & I camping at the many state parks in the Tennessee area, along with an annual extended family trip to Panama City, FL. But I think I really caught the fever during junior high, in Ms. Freeman's French class. My first trip to Europe (a whirlwind tour of France, Switzerland, & Italy in one week) was in 1990 with a small group of kids from my high school. In 1991, I lived with a family in the suburbs of Paris for three weeks. My own family even hosted an exchange student from The Netherlands my entire senior year of high school. But it wasn't until I had graduated from college (with a French degree no less) and was on the back end of a failed relationship and several demanding jobs that I decided to take some time off for a more thorough exploration of Western Europe. So in the fall of 1998 I set out for two months of backpacking & train travel in The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany & Austria. That trip changed my life -- I returned to TN and immediately got a job, but I kept looking for an opportunity that would involve traveling (and getting paid for it)! As luck would have it, Delta Air Lines ran an add in the local paper, specifically looking for foreign language speakers. I secured an in person interview at their headquarters in Atlanta, GA and was hired on the spot. I graduated from flight attendant training on May 28, 1999 and immediately transferred to New York City, where I was based for the entire 6+ years I flew for Delta. For the most part I took full advantage of the free flight perks during those years, and often say I spent more time exploring the world than at home. My most frequent layover destinations were Paris and Brussels, but I was always swapping for something different: Istanbul, Athens, Rome, etc., as well as towns/cities in the US that I may have never visited otherwise: Whitefish, MT, San Antonio, TX, Milwaukee, WI... In addition, my independent travels during that time led me to places like India, China, and South Korea. I had actually made a pact with myself that I would not fly for more than 10 years and after almost 7 I gave it up to live & work full time in NYC. Believe it or not, not once did I ever miss being a flight attendant after I quit. I segued into the 8-t0-5 type routine fairly effortlessly (to my default career of Executive Assistant) and that is what I have done up to now. When I have been able to take time off I've traveled to islands in the Caribbean, as well as Costa Rica, more of Europe, and even places in the US (Hawaii, Alaska, the Grand Canyon to name a few). After a couple of years working many long and mentally draining hours at the office and spending a lot of money just to live in NYC, I realized I needed to rethink my life and refocus my priorities. I started saving as much money as I could with the goal of being able to take at least a year off to travel around the world and do some volunteer work. This is where I am at today. In September, I will begin my new adventures, hopefully with my boyfriend Greg in tow. The plan is to start off easy -- three months in Northern, Eastern & Western Europe. We'll come home (to Nashville) for the holidays to recoup & regroup. I'm not sure what 2010 will bring, but there's no need to make any concrete plans yet anyway. This blog, along with my Facebook updates, will serve as my travel journal, which for previous trips of long duration was always handwritten. I will also post photos & videos, and will solicit suggestions for places to go, things to do, sights to see, amongst other things. I truly hope you enjoy reading and following along on my adventures!