When did you get your passport, and what does having your passport mean to you?
I was in college and I was so excited about the idea of traveling! For some reason, getting a passport felt like my biggest roadblock in the beginning. Once I had it I felt ‘free’ to plan. That’s when things really started to feel complicated.
What do you love about traveling, and what is the most memorable trip you’ve ever been on?
Most of my travel career has taken place over the last few years. I’ve discovered that my style of traveling includes staying in one place long enough to get to know a few locals and get lost, wandering curiously.
I find myself in conflict when I travel with groups that focus on itinerary checklists, endless photos and tourist traps. Knowing these preferences makes it a lot easier to plan trips and enjoy the adventure, from start to finish.
My first international trip is still more vivid than the other 6 countries I’ve since visited. I spent 3 days in Lisbon, Portugal. Even though it was my shortest trip, it was a powerful experience. It was the gateway that opened up my heart and mind to start asking, “what’s possible?”
What was the main obstacle holding you back from traveling, and how did you overcome it?
I thought that once I had a passport, it would be really easy to travel. Turns out, getting my passport was the only easy part!
I became so overwhelmed by all of the decisions that I had never confronted before: where do I want to go? Do I travel alone or find a friend or group? When is the best time of year? How can I afford the plane ticket? Which hotel should I stay at, is a package deal really the best deal…? And an answer to any one of those could change my mind on how I responded to another question.
It was only when I locked down the location (Portugal, my 5th grade Adopt A Country project) and recruited my best friend to join me that the plan started coming together and I started getting excited about the process.
What is your dream trip?
Wow. Great question! This one is like telling you my favorite color – it changes regularly over time. Right now, it’s less about a specific destination and more about the journey style. I’d love a 3-month cultural immersion to learn a language, cook local cuisine (and eat plenty, too), hear stories of legend and history, and be fully present in each moment.
What would you be doing if you hadn’t started traveling?
I believe that with any path I could be on, I will find a way to be fulfilled. However, I can say with certainty that my first international travel experience is the reason why I started my own company, Project Travel, 10 years later.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing to crush a fear you had about traveling internationally, what would that be?
Traveling is a learning experience like everything else, so I would tell “back-then me” that the only mistake I can make is to not travel.
Find a friend, throw darts at a map and rock-paper-scissor any decisions that feel discouraging. Find a way to enjoy the process from the moment you say, “I want to travel!”