Thanks for taking time out of your day, to join me on mine. So here I am in a nutshell…
I had a normal American upbringing, with school, friends, swimming parties, and playing Barbies with my sister. My family moved about every 5 years, due to different reasons, but as long as my sister was there, I always felt like I had a live-in best friend with me. It helped keep me grounded, and gave me a point to make friends, as she’s more social than I am. When I was 11 years old, my family, my cousins and I went to Switzerland for a ski trip. My heritage is Swiss-German, so going there was really interesting to me, even at that age. Then when I was 14, my family, my cousin and I joined a mission organization, and went to a small French village, for 3 months. This trip awoke something inside of me, that I wouldn’t realize for many years after that. But one of the things that I can clearly recall, is sitting in a train station, and seeing some people in their early 20’s, with big backpacks on, heading to their next destination. I had never seen that before and I thought that was terribly exciting and adventurous, so I made a silent vow, that I would be that person when I was older. I made a few other international trips after that, but none of them were as impactful, as the France trip, with the people we met there, the food we ate and even learning a little bit of the language. Since then, my parents, sister and I have all really enjoyed learning languages.
When I was 21, I decided to go to massage school, and while I really enjoyed it at the time, it just wasn’t a good fit for me long term. But as a way to celebrate getting a double certification in massage, I signed up for a women’s yoga and surf camp in Hawaii. I had been going through a rough emotional time before that, but being in Hawaii, surfing, traveling, and being around fellow adventurers was really healing to me.
I moved to Denver, Colorado after that, and finished my bachelor’s degree. But afterwards, I felt a bit lost, as I wasn’t in a serious relationship, nor did I have a job to walk into, like a lot of my friends did. I just couldn’t really figure out what I was supposed to be doing, what job I wanted to have, or how to pull out of the blah-feeling that I had on a daily basis. I finally got my first full-time job, and it was there that I met some refugees from Sudan, and Bosnia, who became very good friends of mine. While I love talking to any foreigners, when I heard their stories, it mixed my compassion, with places that I knew nothing about. So two years later, when I was injured at work, I decided that instead of just trying to find another job, this injury was the perfect time to go explore the world. It was time for me to be the backpacker in Europe that I had dreamed about. So in 2010, I got my backpack, a one-way ticket to Europe, and off I went! Now you may notice that I said, that I got my ticket, not we got our tickets. Yes, I went alone. A girl by herself, hopping around Europe, are you kidding me? For Americans, that’s a pretty crazy idea! But I didn’t think anything about it, and the more I traveled, the more I met other people, including girls, that were traveling by themselves. Something inside of me felt at home in Europe, with all of those languages, and cultures, the history there, and really interesting people. Everything just felt so different from my own country, and I couldn’t get enough. I spent 4 months over there, and when I came back to the States, I realized how much of my own country I hadn’t seen. Granted, the U.S. isn’t exactly a small country to explore. But I did start seeing places like Mt. Rushmore, Seattle, and Boston. Then, I realized how difficult it was to work a full-time job, as well as try to travel, on the very limited vacation-time, Americans have. I started feeling frustrated, wanting more time to be the person I truly am, instead of trying to fit into the comfortable world of a 9-5 job. After a change in management in my job, I decided it was time to hit the road again. I signed up for a 3-month language school, in a French town called Strasbourg. While I had been learning French off-and-on on over the years, I was only put in a beginner class. Whoops. It was there that I realized that I needed much more time, to really grasp the language. But since I was there only with my passport, I needed to leave Europe for 3 months, before I could come back. So what does an adventure-lover do, when faced with a situation like that? She continues to travel, of course! So I went to Australia, went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, went to Thailand and Vietnam, then became certified to dive while in Fiji. I had seen an advertisement to volunteer on one of the islands, helping marine biologists. So after I became certified, I went to that island, and stayed there a week, helping to keep some of the marine life safe, while removing predators, that have become problematic there. It was really amazing to use my traveling to help local communities.
But one of the most frustrating things about my travels, was how often I would get a cold, and have to stay in bed for 3-4 days, making me miss seeing the city I was currently in. After selling my house in July 2017, I became really sick, and just couldn’t get better for a full month. A few months later, I decided that was enough, and went on a 3-month health cleanse, mainly consisting of fresh carrot juice, as well as raw vegetables. Finally I felt my immune system getting to the place it should’ve been, my energy picking back up, my circulation drastically improving, and even my eyesight was much better. I bounced a lot of ideas off of a friend of mine who’s very knowledgeable about holistic health, and that became the starting point for my own interest in it. Now, I combine health with adventure, and have decided to make those two interests my “excuses” to keep seeing the world, helping others as I do it, and hopefully inspire people to travel a little, even if it’s only within their own community.