My Travel Story – An Introduction
I’m Karen. I’m twenty-four years old, from Virginia, and I love traveling.
The first time I left the country was to Canada in summer 2005 with my family before going on an Alaskan cruise. While I loved Vancouver, in my mind it doesn’t count as my first international travel experience. A few weeks later, I flew to Fiji with a bunch of people I’d never met. This is the moment I distinctly remember feeling the travel bug bite. I was fifteen at the time and not quite ready for true solo travel yet. I went with a great company called Rustic Pathways – a summer travel program for high school students. That summer, I spent three weeks island hopping, living in remote villages, and making some amazing friends. I lived in a Fijian home with my own adoptive family, drank kava with the locals, bathed in the river, and helped build a bathroom out of bamboo. It felt like so much more of an adventure than the typical Fijian holiday, and I loved it.
I was changed for good. The following summers, I went with Rustic Pathways to Thailand and then Tanzania. Once I got to college, I couldn’t stop. I participated in the Alternative Spring Break program, which took me twice to Honduras and once to Jamaica. I studied abroad for a summer in China.
After graduating, I attempted to join the “real” world. Luckily, it wouldn’t have me, and I ended up in New Zealand. I got my working holiday visa, flew into Auckland, and had the year of my life. When that visa expired, I got my Australian work and holiday visa and had the second year of my life.
All good things (i.e. visas) come to an end, and I also thought it was about time to make sure my friends at home still liked me. I headed back to Virginia, and here I am now – saving money and making plans for the next adventure. I need something to satisfy my wanderlust for the time being, so here we go.