The following is a guest post from Courtney over at Mzungu Volunteers. I asked Courtney how she first became inspired to travel and what keeps inspiring her to this day, you can read her response below.
I never went on too many travels as a child. Texas for family, California for more family, and Florida for the convenience. Junior year of high school, a club I belonged to was going to a conference in New York City over Thanksgiving break. I didn’t want to go, I’m ashamed to admit it. I was scared. But my mom scrounged up money for the trip anyways and told me that I would have the time of my life. And I did.
It opened up my world just enough for me to know I wanted more. I ached for the distance. And that’s what I got when I was uprooted from Atlanta, Georgia to live in Boise, Idaho my senior year of high school. I fell in love with Boise, a city that has snow-capped mountains and sand dunes, fixed gear bikes, a burgeoning art scene, and of course, the best fries I’ve ever tasted. But what struck me most about the west coast was the mindset of the people. My classmates were always daydreaming and discussing where they’d gallivant off to once they became adults. They were hungry for adventure. Most of my friends in Georgia simply never thought this way. (Or if they did, they quickly talked themselves out of it, stating reasons of money and time.) It was around this time I caught the disease. Wanderlust. It got worse every year. I fantasized about traveling constantly. Every upcoming semester in college was spent secretly debating between continuing on with school or moving to New Zealand to become a hot air balloon pilot.
Finally when I was nineteen and approaching my junior year in college, I became determined in my resolve. I was going to study abroad. I took the required language classes, worked like mad, and in March of 2010, I went on my first international flight to take classes at Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan. I had always wanted to go Japan as it appealed to my shameless love of anime and arcade games. My mind was blown over those next five months. Japan was beyond anything I could’ve fathomed. Soaking in a natural hot spring at a rural town as the night exploded with stars. Dancing at a six-storey club in Shibuya until the sun was high in the sky. Waking up to the majestic Mt. Fuji filling up my hotel window. Walking past the blooming sakura trees and the languid river on my way to class every day.
I didn’t know how I could go back home, but eventually it was time. I took up a job managing a hostel, dutifully completed my degree, vowing that as soon as I graduated, I would go and see the world. And one week after I graduated in May 2012, I took off by myself with a one-way ticket to Amsterdam and a vague idea of what I was doing.
Four months later, I weaved my way around Europe and Asia– a whirlwind trip through eleven countries. I came out of it with countless new friends, and my mind bursting with memories of what I saw, ate, and experienced. Walking through bustling cities and cozy towns, getting purposefully lost on winding roads and hidden passageways, undulating green hills and vast blue seas, cold rains and warm breezes. It all made me come alive.
The second day I was back home in the United States, my boyfriend got a job offer for a position at a company in Bangkok. He bought me a ticket to join him. That very day I said goodbye to Boise, Idaho and soon started a new life in Thailand with only the items in my backpack. A chance email to a well-known travel blogger garnered me a job as a writer and admin for several of his sites.
Now all day I talk about traveling, sharing stories about where I’ve been, where I will go, and how others can join me. Ever since that first trip to New York City, my inspiration for travel has never ceased. Stories from people in passing, photos of places I never knew existed and thoughts of Tokyo in Spring. They are the fuel that sustains my wanderlust, and now in part, my whole being.
Yeah, I could do this for the rest of my life.
Courtney is now the second fellow travel writer to be featured on this site, the first was Bram from Travel. Experience. Live which you can read here. If you are also interested about writing a guest post for this site please get in touch using the contact page. You can also contact me through my various social sharing sites that you can find on the sidebar.
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