Growing up, I was an only child for six and a half years. My parents would travel around a bit with me, but the real fun began when my younger brother, Thomas, was born. It was then, that I got my very first travel buddy.
Never before have I stuck to a New Year’s resolution as I did this year. Maybe, that’s because the resolution I made was an easy one to keep. Rather than making resolutions to lose weight or go to the gym more often, I promised to live each day as I do while traveling, keeping a few goals in mind for the year. Those goals were to travel solo, visit Africa, take more chances, be more adventurous, and make more friends. It’s only been six months, but each of these has either been accomplished, or will be accomplished, in a matter of weeks.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this past week, the 8th grade students at my school took their yearly trip to Washington DC. While we spent plenty of time walking around the city, visiting each site of importance, what I was most struck by was the amount of quotes that seem to decorate the city.
Below, I have shared with you a few of my favorite quotations from around the city. Not only do these quotes have special meaning to me, but they also seem to bring the city of Washington DC to life with voices that so clearly echo from the past.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I spend much of my life day-dreaming, and each time it’s about where I want to visit next. One day it’s Bhutan, the next it’s Morocco. Another day it’s Peru, and then it’s Ghana. The list is always growing and sources of inspiration are constantly surrounding me. I imagine my life as a permanent traveler, and never see an end to my adventures, as I believe that it is a part of who I am – something that I know will never change.
Several years ago, in the beginning of my love affair with the world, I would cut out pictures of countries, stuffing them into my journal. This journal was less a chronicle of my life, and more a place filled with lists of the countries I planned to one day visit. As I learned about new places, I would add them, knowing that one day I would visit the countries I once wrote down. And, as I visited each place on my list, I would check them off with excitement, realizing that I was beginning to reach my dreams and see the world.
The other day Pola, of Jetting Around, tagged me in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots game, and I was immediately excited to participate. It was a great way to go through a few of my old pictures and relive some memories.
Here is a photo that…
1) … takes my breath away.
This picture of the sunset in Aruba makes me realize just how incredible the world we live in is. I don’t often have time to stop and watch the sunset, but when I do, it’s hard not to be grateful for each and every moment we have on earth. It’s all the small things we miss on a daily basis that make it such a special place.
All experiences that we have as humans affect the outcome of who we become. The more we experience, the more transformed we are over the course of our lifetime. Because travel involves opportunities that take us out of our comfort zone, the more we travel, the more chances we have to transform ourselves during our time here on earth.
For me, travel has been the basis of all of my changes. When I wasn’t able to travel, I made changes in my life that allowed me to begin traveling and with each trip I take that transformation continues. I’m not sure I can pinpoint the exact moment I changed, but with each trip I take, I see a significant difference in the person I am each time I return home.
During my family’s European adventure in 2006, we visited countries in both Western and Eastern Europe: Ireland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy. But, it was the Eastern Europe countries, Croatia and Slovenia, that left me feeling transported to somewhere completely new and unique.
Italy is a country that means more to me than many others. Like Ireland and Croatia, Italy is part of who I am. My father’s mother, Evelyn, was born in Avellino in 1920, and later moved to the States with her family when she was twelve years old, so Italian culture has always been alive and well in our family.
But, it wasn’t until 2005, the Spring Semester of my sophomore year in college, that I took my first trip to Italy. My dear friend, Sara, was studying abroad in Rome for the semester, and extended the invitation for me to head over to visit her. I jumped at the opportunity to visit my friend and explore the city of Rome.
“To me, being an indie traveler means many things, but most importantly it means that you are willing to put yourself out there to explore the world. It means taking every chance, every opportunity to just get out there, no matter what obstacles are in the way.”
That’s how I defined indie travel back in early January when BootsnAll asked those participating in the Indie Travel Challenge for a definition. To me, being an indie traveler is all about stopping the excuses and getting out there to explore this amazing world we live in and the people in it.