Where and When? (The Short Version)
The United States – 1990 and on (2010)
Germany – 2004, 2006, 2011
Belgium – 2004, 2011
The Netherlands – 2004, 2011
France – 2004, 2010, 2011
Curaçao – 2005, 2006
Greece – 2006
Italy – 2007, 2011
Mexico – 2007, 2008
Costa Rica – 2008
Sweden – 2008
Finland – 2008, 2011
Norway – 2008, 2012*
Japan – 2009
England – 2010, 2011
Scotland – 2010, 2011
Spain – 2010
Austria – 2011
Luxembourg – 2011
Liechtenstein – 2011
Switzerland – 2011
Czech Republic – 2011
Poland – 2011
Slovakia – 2011
Hungary – 2011
Slovenia – 2011
* – Indicates upcoming, planned trips
Where and When? (The Long Version)
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up mainly in the state of Missouri, in the central United States, where I am now attending University. My family has since relocated to Tampa, Florida, so I spend a lot of time in each of these places. I have a lot of memories of travelling while growing up – especially camping in Missouri forests and the exotic sand dunes of Michigan. We visited New Orleans and Tennessee, took several winter trips down to Florida beaches, Disney, and the Keys, and even took two road trips along the coast of California, driving Big Sur and seeing Yosemite National Park and the giant Sequoias in King’s Canyon.
Still, America had so much to offer that I was fourteen before I first applied for a passport. I got my first glimpse of the world abroad on a two week trip through urban Europe, with some of the coldest summer weather on record, some pickpocketing action, and an ill-advised itinerary making the experience interesting. Still, I saw Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Cologne, ate Pain Au Chocolat every day, and filled my head with foreign words and images – I was already hooked. Thanks to my dad’s new job, the next four winters we headed to Puerto Rico, Curacao, and Cancun to escape the Missouri cold for the holidays, while I took Spanish, Latin, and German classes in high school and dreamed about planning and taking my own trips all over the world.
When I was 16, my dad let me accompany him on a business trip to Greece, where I met businessmen from all over the world. It was so exciting to be able to say a few words to people in their own language, not to mention tour the Acropolis and the coast of Athens. On our return, I immediately took a part time job at the county library and started saving all of my earnings for travel. I went with my Latin class to Italy in 2007, and that summer I babysat for my Spanish teacher in Cozumel, Mexico.
My big break into independent travel came in 2008. The summer after graduating from high school, I went to Costa Rica with my Spanish class, an intense trip that included a host family stay up in the mountains. I flew back home, changed my clothes, and took off again for Northern Europe. I had a penpal, Liisa, in Finland, who let me live with her family for a few weeks after the two of us toured neighboring Stockholm, Sweden. On the way home, I stopped by Norway and was hosted by even more incredibly kind people who had heard that I was trying to learn Norwegian.
I lived in the International Community as a freshman at Mizzou, and I met no fewer than 7 Japanese students, including my roommate. The following summer, my friend Laura and I took off to Japan for an epic three week journey that took us from the heart of Tokyo to the Mountain of Dread to the floating shrine at Miyajima. A few months later, I travelled with some other Mizzou friends to New York City for New Years – another unforgettable experience.
In summer 2010, Liisa visited me from Finland, and we took a road trip that covered no fewer than ten US States, exploring the rocky mountains, the wild west, and more. Shortly after, I left for the United Kingdom, where I briefly toured London before heading up to Scotland to walk the Great Glen Way with two of my best friends, Allan and Lucia. From Scotland I went directly to Spain, where I lived in Pamplona for four months while studying journalism and taking as many weekend trips as I could squeeze in.
The next semester, I went to study in Bonn, Germany. From my base there I visited The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, and Finland on weekends and short breaks. At the end of the semester, I spent two weeks visiting The Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia with my good friend In from the program in Bonn. On the way home, I stopped by England and Scotland once again.
Spring 2012 will take me to Bergen, Norway on my last study abroad program. The hope is to hit Iceland and the Faroe Islands during the time there or on the way home.
Long term, I have Korea, India, and Thailand on the shortest of my short lists.