I’m back! An update.

Hey there, blog. It’s been a while.

I’ve neglected you because, unfortunately, trying to finish my undergraduate degree was rather trying. Good news, though! That’s over with. I’m now free — free to write, free to travel, free to do whatever I darn well please, as long as money allows.

Although I was busy with school, I made time to travel. I spent eight days in Spain this semester, and five camping in New Mexico’s high desert. I’ve got plenty of posts on Chaco Canyon, Carlsbad, and southern Spain lined up.

More exciting and more to the point: I’m moving to Taiwan! I’ve been awarded the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, which pays for room, board, and tuition at an intensive Taiwanese Mandarin program. The scholarship kicks in this December (2017) and runs until summer of 2018. This fall I hope to get a TEFL certificate, probably in Thailand, so I can be more employable as an English teacher. Other exciting (but still highly tentative) plans are in the works.

So many projects and adventures are in the pipeline right now, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

 

Traveler Types

a description of the authentic experiencer

Sometimes, my various interests collide in interesting ways. I was deep in a reading for a Museum Practices segment on working with media when I stumbled across Destination Canada’s list of traveler types. The idea is that everyone has different reasons for traveling, and if the tourist board knows how you travel, they can suggest interesting things suited to your type.

I think this is relevant to us, actually, and not just tourist boards or tour companies. So often we feel pressured to do things a certain way – see this big sight! pack your days full of trips! interact with people instead of spending time in nature! and so on, depending on where you go. If you can pin down why and how you like to travel, you can make much more intentional choices, leading to better a trip.

Apparently I’m the “Authentic Experiencer”, which as far as I can understand means I appreciate both nature and culture when I travel, and I prefer to stay local, solo, and ethical. Which…fits me pretty well, honestly, although it doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Read about the rest of the travel types here.

 

 

It’s Okay if You Can’t Drop Everything and Travel

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts before, if you’ve spent any time in the travel blogosphere:

You Can Drop Everything And Travel!

How to Travel on Nothing! 

Why Travel Excuses Are Bull$#!*!

And so on.

The refrain is obvious: if you want to travel and you think you can’t you’re lying to yourself. And honestly, that’s a rough thing to hear from a blogger you respect. The “just get out there and do it” motto is fine, and some people need to hear it. It’s not that the rhetoric itself it harmful, it’s that it dominates the discussion. Too often, “just go” is falling on the ears of people who desperately want to travel but really, truly, can’t.

Like the woman who’s spending every second she can with her father before he passes away.

Or the man with a chronic illness who doesn’t have the foreign support system necessary for traveling where he wants to.

Or the woman with the high-power, high-clearance job who struggles to get permission to travel freely outside of the US.

Or the man with a highly sensitive and deadly peanut allergy who’s always dreamed of Thailand.

We need to stop treating travel as if it’s the end-all, be-all of every human’s life. Travel is powerful – it forces you outside of your comfort zone, facilitates language learning, teaches about different cultures, and introduces you to new food. But you know what? You can do those things from home. Get takeout from that new Indian restaurant, start a new language on Duolingo, read a travel memoir, watch Samsara, volunteer with refugees in your area. See the sites near where you live – almost everyone I talk to lives within a day’s drive of some major tourist attraction they’ve never been to. (I’m guilty here myself.)

While we’re on this subject, let me take things one step further: if you travel frequently and stretch your comfort zones, eat new food, talk to strangers, and volunteer your time but don’t when you’re at home, you need to check yourself and ask, “why do I travel in the first place?”

Travel is a wonderful, powerful past time. My experiences on the road have shaped me greatly. But it’s not the pinnacle of everything human. It’s not possible or a low a priority for a lot of people. And that diversity of life experience, priority, and preference is what makes travel beautiful in the first place.