Category Archives: Daily Ramblings

Traveler Turned Teacher

Travel has been a part of my identity, a part of the ground on which I stand upon when I introduce myself, the piece of myself that I am most proud of since I started so many years ago. It has opened doors and allowed me to experience the surroundings I immerse within, has allowed me to laugh and cry and panic and be so filled with joy that I didn’t know if I would ever come down.

As I move towards the next part of my journey, I want to pay homage to the characteristic of me that defines a part of my life by surrounding myself with it.

Beginning in August, I will be teaching 5th grade in Florida and I could not be more thrilled. I worked my ass off for years to get to this point, went back to school and dove in headfirst into the world of curriculum and instruction and behavior management and procedures and standards…and I found that that world was a part of my intrinsic make-up as well.

Working seasonally for a few years, I was able to experience places and complete tasks that I would normally never have even dreamed of. A few years ago, I worked at a camp for adults who have special needs and it quite literally changed my life. I had never felt more fulfilled, felt more exhausted, but it was the people I worked with that made me realize where my heart and soul was.

I went back to school to study Exceptional Student Education and my first day, I was completely and totally overwhelmed. I remember they were throwing around acronyms and legislation like we all just knew what they were talking about, and I remember I had to stop the lecture and just ask them to kindly speak out the acronyms because I was a noob and had no idea what the heck they were talking about. Now, two years later, I know all those acronyms and more, but I still have so far to go.

Since I was fortunate enough to travel as extensively as I did, I wanted to represent that part of myself in my new space, my new classroom. I want to show the students I will be working with that they too can see the world and enrich their lives and experience the globe’s cultures. I want my students to understand that no societal norm or expectation or restriction can hold them back if they set their mind to it.

As such, my classroom’s theme will, of course, be travel. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be Adventure Awaits or World Travelers or something else equally as cheesy, but I’m going for it and I’m committing 100% to the theme. I have already planned for the first day to have each student as they arrive into the classroom, receive a passport of sorts, and it will be a “getting to know you” game but in the end, I want them to normalize this way of life, the way in which I conducted my life for so long, I want them to see that they are world travelers and that we’re in this together.

Spain or South Korea?

Throughout my life I’ve found that I make definitive decisions when it comes to travel. I see a photo of a place, or read a blog that talks about a new destination, or I’m browsing through Momondo or Skyscanner and it hits me. That’s where I want to go, that’s what I want to do. I book the flight and don’t think twice about it.

But over the past few weeks I’ve been deciding on what’s next, what the next stage of my life will consist of. Which, to be honest, is terrifying. I feel like I’m putting all this extra pressure on myself to do something that others are expecting me to do (i.e; settle down in Florida with a nice, consistent teaching job) but to be frank, that makes my stomach turn.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of moving and teaching abroad. Where? Not sure. When? Not sure of that either. I graduate from my program in the Spring of 2020 and I think the Fall of 2020 would be a perfect time. But again, not totally sure. I’ve been starting the application process for CIEE’s teach abroad program in both South Korea and in Spain and I think my heart is leaning towards Spain.

While there’s pros and cons to both programs, to both opportunities, Madrid would allow me to travel more, make less, but live in city center. Whereas in South Korea, I would work more and make more but I wouldn’t have as much time to travel.

In the end, I’ll probably apply to both and flip a coin. Because, why not?

city spain dense
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on
adult architecture bar buildings
Photo by Pixabay on


There are days that I am so completely content with the life I have created for myself, carved for myself. Days when I wake up and know exactly where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing for the rest of the week and it puts a smile on my face. There are days like today, when I get so excited to water my garden and pick the fresh basil that I have grown myself and do nothing more than that. These are the days when the complacency and the normalcy of a routine are so, so wonderful.

But, honestly and truly, most days are not like this.

I’m a wanderer. Through and through.

I’ve tried to run from it. Tried to set roots, tried to tie myself to a place for longer than a year and I get so….terribly annoyed.

I find myself feverishly searching for plane tickets to anywhere, anytime. Preferably now.
I crave finding a different pillow beneath my head each night, surrounded by the arms of a lover in the form of a city I haven’t gotten to know yet. I crave new experiences that fill my soul to the brim and make my heart want to explode. I crave questionable foods and shitty hostel lighting.

But what I find that I miss the most about being in constant motion is the solace I find along the way. The pure and unadulterated peace I achieve when I’m walking in a city, music drifting between my ears, with no end goal in sight.

My first day in Japan I happened upon a temple that made me cry and I sat underneath a tree on a side street that had an exquisite view of the temple. I sat under that tree for 4 hours, doing nothing but breathing.

Each breath that I took in was like a new lease on life, a new perspective, a new love. Each breath I let out was something that had plagued me, taken control of me, that had a hold on me. It was gone. Four hours of breathing in silence, staring at a structure made by hands that have long since departed this earth. And I was lucky enough to bear witness to the fruits of their labor.

My journal entry is so indictive of the introspective nature I was in for that day, and frankly for that entire trip.  

“November 23rd, 2016.
The Concept of Home

Home, to me, has always kickstarted feelings of warmth and love and joy and that simmering fire in your belly that just made you feel whole. As I get older, what defines home for me is everchanging. It starts to become people and memories and whole places not just houses or cabins. Like this summer, home was with Angela when we were just chatting about our days. Home was Ceramics class when I couldn’t contain my laughter and the music in the background was drowned by joy. Home right now is nowhere. Home is the thought of my parents’ house on Christmas but that’s not necessarily where I belong right now.

I wonder if a singular person, one day, will start to feel like home or if I, myself, will start to feel like home. When I become wholly okay with who I am, have I become “home”? Home is everchanging, and honestly, so am I.”

Have you ever felt like you’re not where you’re supposed to be?
Felt like your calling was almost too far away in the distance that you can’t even hear it anymore?
Felt like the purpose that you thought was yours, actually isn’t anymore?

That’s where I’m at right now. My whole life I’ve been told to do, be, achieve. But right now is the first time I’ve actually asked myself what I really want. And I have no idea.

The only thing I know for sure is that I need to explore. I need to expand my horizons, I need to search and find and do something that I haven’t yet done.

At this moment in time, I feel stuck. For the first time in 3 years, I’m not planning a trip. I haven’t picked a location that I’m dipping into. Well, let me rephrase that. I have dozens of locations picked out but no definitive plans set. And I’m lost.

I’m at my best when I’m planning. I’m at my best the morning before an International flight, waiting in the airport for the beastly machine that will take me away. I’m at my best when I take that first step onto new ground, the one where you can literally feel yourself being drawn into something new, something fresh, something exciting.

All I can say right now is that I’m not at my best. And I so wish I was.

Traveling As An Overweight Female

This is probably going to be one of the hardest posts I’ll ever write but I think that it needs to be talked about.

I’m not skinny, I never have been, I’m not making excuses for it either but I don’t let my weight interfere with my passion for traveling.walkingintikal

What I really want to address is how to travel as an overweight female. Little things that most people might not think about like; worrying if I had reached the maximum weight limit for ziplining in Costa Rica, the embarrassment of not being able to buy any kind of boots in Italy because my calves were just a bit too big or even having to almost over plan what you’re packing to go to the jungle because you know it will be hotter than Hades but you’re self conscious about the way your arms look in tank tops.

This will not be a self-depricating post. This will not be a pity party. This will be about how to empower not only myself but hopefully find other women who experience the same things.

Let’s begin with pre-trip. Packing is a bitch.

There’s always the “what do I want to wear?” question but sometimes I find myself double guessing my choices because of how I will look. I want to wear things that make the most sense like tank tops in tropical climates but sometimes I find myself putting in t-shirts instead because I’m self conscious about my arms. I’ll pack capris or even pants instead of shorts because I’m not ready to show the world my legs. I’ve found that in a way, I’ve stopped caring. I have to embrace how I look and how I’ll look in the things that I pack. I need to be comfortable and if that means I have to be uncomfortable about the way that I look a little bit, then maybe that’s okay.

Besides packing, there’s the actual flight itself. In all reality, airlines sell you 27″ of seat space, that’s all you get. So if your hips are a little bigger and you’re slightly pushing into the seat next to you, that’s not really their problem but rather, your super uncomfortable one instead.

I’m not hugely overweight by any means but I’ve noticed, especially as a female, that I get judged. Constantly. I’m not the norm of what people perceive travelers to look like. I defy that norm. Proudly. But there’s always that defeated feeling that comes along with traveling.487367_10151301257193222_2019882356_n

Every time I plan a trip, I always make a goal to lose weight before but it’s not always easy. I work a full time job, I write, I go to school and I try to maintain a blog. No, there are no excuses but I feel as though I go into the trip excited about the possibilities but sad that I didn’t reach the weight goal I had set myself. I’m sure we’ve all been there. “I want to lose 10 pounds by my cruise” or “I’m studying abroad for 3 months and I want to be super skinny!” But when departure date arrives, we’re not as close as we had hoped we would be. And to that, you kind of have to brush it aside and realize that we have all been there. And it’s okay. You’ll still have a great trip.

993337_10152125797348135_1286637229_nIt’s not so much the big things when it comes to traveling as an overweight female but it’s the culmination of little things that seem to fester. On my most recent trip to Belize, we climbed ruins. A LOT of ruins. Ruins that were 50 stories tall and ruins that had more stairs than I could count. Of course, wanting to experience the view from the top, I climbed them all. But I could feel myself trying to prevent myself from breathing hard because I didn’t want people to think I was that out of shape. Granted, even the skinny mini’s were huffing and puffing but I felt like there was a stigma because of my weight. People expected me to huff and puff. Which, looking back, wasn’t true at all. We were all just happy to get to the top.

But here’s the thing. They’re not judging me. They’re more focused on not falling off the ruin, not dying, on just being able to breathe. So this silliness about everyone staring at me is just nonsense. But it’s hard to push those thoughts away.

Now, the epitome of uncomfortable. The bathing suit.
I love going to the beach. Absolutely love it, but I loathe having to wear something that makes me feel like I’m constantly having to suck in or wear extra layers or whatever. Luckily, I’ve found a suit that makes me feel awesome. I’m totally happy with my body in it and I’m not always so worried about how I look. swimsuit

But, it’s not always that easy. So here’s my advice. Find a suit that you feel stellar in. I know it will take some time to find and you’ll have to battle those fitting room demons but just do it. Don’t be afraid to go a size up. Don’t be afraid to try something on that you don’t think will look good. To be honest, the suit I love is one that my mom picked out and I literally made a face at her for picking it up. Shows how much I know.

No matter what, try to love the body you’re in. I know it’s not always easy and sometimes it’s just downright hard but I promise you that you’ll be so busy on your trip, it won’t really matter.

I know that someday I will be comfortable in my own skin and I’ll be able to take on the world headfirst but until then, I’m completely content with having a few reservations. I know I’m not the skinniest, nor will I ever be, but I’m happy with who I am. And that’s all that should matter.

2 Weeks and Counting!

Only two more weeks until I’m off on my next adventure and I have to say, I absolutely can’t wait. There’s so many things I want to try that I didn’t have the courage to try the first time and that got me thinking, is it better to visit somewhere twice? Are there things I would do differently if I had the chance to go back? Is that place better served as a memory as is?

I know I will definitely go back to Ireland and take my time wandering that country but there are some places like Alaska that I feel I’ve seen most of. Although I know there are things to be done and sights to be seen, I feel content that I got the most from that place. If I were to go back, the magic I felt the first time might not be the same.

We had spectacular weather for the week in Alaska, clear skies all day, every day. I think we had one “misty” day in Denali. That’s it. If I were to go back, fate would hand me severe weather and torrential downpours the entire stay.

But, I digress.

In Belize, I was pushed so far out of my comfort zone the first time that I’m wanting to take more risks this time. I want to go cliff jumping, I want to snorkel with the sharks, I want to free-dive, I want to get a closer shot of the howler monkeys that live within the ancient ruins.

As to whether or not I actually go through with all these things will remain a mystery until I get there but, I’m hoping that I take those chances and open myself up for new opportunities.

My New Job And New Dream Destination

Say hello to Stephanee, the Travel Representative/Marketing Director.

Fitting, right? 🙂

I very recently started at a travel agency that focuses primarily on international flights and I absolutely love it. Not only is it my perfect environment (I talk about travel all day, very day) but its an environment that encourages travel. A lot of agencies, unfortunately, are tied to their desk and only get to live vicariously through their clients.

As I’ve gotten to know the company more and as I’m working everyday, I’m starting to dream of new places that I want to go to. I get requests from people looking to go anywhere from Tehran, Iran to Bali, Indonesia. It’s thrilling and always keeps you on your toes but it mostly makes me want to go with them. Norway Fjords Waterfall

The new destination that’s on my mind is definitely the Norway Fjords. I’ve been seeing pictures and it’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s rocks forcing their way out of the sea and standing proud in all of their glory. There’s waterfalls that fall heavily into the surrounding sea and trees clinging to the edge as though they’re deciding on whether to jump.

I’m hooked.

But, if you’re looking for a place to go and want a good deal, call me!