My dad likes to say that I was the youngest travelling baby he’s ever known because at 2 weeks old my parents strapped me in a car seat and headed to the Bay Area from our home in Las Vegas, NV. We were visiting his family for the holidays, so maybe that explains my willingness to travel great distances to be with the ones I love. I’ve done it since I was born… and haven’t seemed to stop.
I’m a television production professional based in Los Angeles, CA, and in 2018, I spent over 170 days traveling for either work, family, friends, or love. But mostly for love. Love kept me in it because anyone who travels a lot will tell you that it can be rough on the ankles.
Now I won’t complain. I’ll share with you the amazing food I’ve tasted, the friends I’ve gotten to hug, and the views that have left me breathless. Sometimes I do miss sitting at home on a quiet Sunday, but I wouldn’t trade my journey and wild times for anything. Especially not LA traffic!
Travelling is such a privilege. When we travel, we are enlightened and awakened. Our norms may be challenged, but that just means we’re presented with the chance to grow. Uncovering a new place gives us the opportunity to see sights unseen, feel history, meet amazing people and taste foreign foods. I don’t take it for granted and I feel blessed to have been to the places I’ve been.
I told you why I travel now, but let me take you back to 2000 when I was just a girl with ashy knees and pigtails.
I got my first taste of group travel when I was in 5th grade. My teacher organized a trip for our class to fly on a plane and attend Sea Camp San Diego. That wasn’t my first time flying, but it was my first week-long slumber party with my girlfriends, studying sea-life.
We got to boogie board, hang out with cool counselors and cute boys, and I got to experience a new place. I mean, I swam in the ocean and that was completely different than what I was used to growing up in the Las Vegas desert. I didn’t want it to end.
At 12 years old, I knew that I liked this group travel thing, and I wasn't finished yet!
I went abroad with 40 of my closest friends to sing in the Easter Sunday Service at
Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy.
After that first international trip with my high school choir — sharing rooms in boutique hotels, having late night free time at the Spanish Steps in Rome, and searching for that Fendi knock-off purse that I initially walked away from during some tough negotiations outside of the Duomo in Florence — I was hooked and there was no going back. And a couple of short years later, I was off to Central Europe with that same choir program to sing in historical squares and drink up the musical history.
That was the foundation of my international travelling. To this day, muscle memory kicks in and I find myself smiling politely and not saying much at passport control, I tie a distinguishable piece of cloth around my luggage handle, and I always count the number of people in my group to make sure we’re all together. Full disclosure, it took me up until last year to stop hiding money and my passport under my shirt. What can I say? I was taught by the best world traveler. Even though I moved on from traveling with the choir once I graduated, I never grew out of my love for travel.
I leveled up and found another way to continue travelling. You guessed it, I studied aboard!
In spite of studying 6 years of Spanish in school, upon graduating I convinced my counselor to let me fulfill my final credit with a “Travel Writing” course offered in Viterbo, Italy. This quaint town surrounded by castle walls in the center of Italy. Rome was 2 hours by train, Florence was just 3 hours in the opposite direction, wine was cheaper than water, and there was always a kabob waiting for me after class!
I felt right at home in the smoldering Italian sun with the decadent food and the posh streets of Sorrento. Let’s face it, I don’t remember much about the streets. I remember going on a date with our cute waiter and having to Google Translate with my laptop just to keep up, and that was in 2011 when we were hopping from one internet café to the next “chasing Wi-Fi” (which is a nod to my very first travel blog post from that travel writing class).
Coming off of a high of freedom and exhilaration from studying aboard, I fell hard when I got home.
I found myself in a slump, I wasn’t enjoying my work, I was barely getting by and I craved being a part of something greater. Even though it took me several years after that trip to go back abroad, I never lost my desire to continue travelling.
I eventually left my marketing job at Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas to move across the country to work for a non-profit organization in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In need of it, I was active there, I led daily trips, and I used my marketing background to promote the organization. I thrived in the fun, energetic atmosphere and I appreciated that they hired team members from abroad. Between the locals and the internationals, I found myself connecting more with my peers from abroad.
During this time, I didn't lack variety, cultural exchange, or accents. I didn’t even have to step outside of the office to step outside of my world, which was a good and a bad thing. It only made me miss travelling that much more. I wanted to explore again. I wanted to wander again. I wanted to get lost in a country and find myself again.
Turns out, D.C. is not the scene for me, and it wasn’t long after that that I moved to sunny Los Angeles, California to pursue my creative passions and establish a life in television production that suited me better.
I met and fell in love with an American-Israeli man who made ‘aliyah’ some years ago, and I had the great fortune of exploring the world with him. He’s seen quite a bit of it already, but I’m catching up. I can check rendezvous in Paris, perform at open mics in Budapest, paraglide in Colombia, and take surf lessons in Morocco off my bucket list.
It may not have worked out between the two of us, but that doesn't take away from the special times we had traveling. While he and I spent those years getting to know each other, I fell even more in love with this world. This big, beautiful world with the amazing and complex people in it. And I’ve been uncovering cultures that I only dreamed about catching a glimpse of ever since.
I’m deeply honored to share a bit of what I’ve seen with you here.
Wherever you are in the world, I send you…
Warm Wishes of Sweet Kisses,