“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien
Traveling can be sort of magical. It’s unpredictable and beautiful and sometimes downright confusing. But that’s the beauty of it — you never really know what to expect when you pack that bag and leave home behind. I really identify with this Tolkien quote (what can I say, I’m a little hobbity!), and have therefore loosely themed my blog around it.
I think one of the best things about traveling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries (although I also love those, too), and just see where the road carries you off to, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way.
It’s my goal to get swept off as often as possible.
Who Am I?
My name is Amanda, and I like to travel.
Oh, you already figured that part out? Okay then. Here’s the brief history of my life:
I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in a small Ohio town with a good football team and even better marching band (go Raiders!). Nothing incredibly exciting happened there, except for the time in the early 90s when my neighbor (who was a mob boss) got shot and killed in his driveway.
I was the geeky, smart kid in school. I liked horses and books and “Harry Potter.” I did competitive gymnastics and tried out for school musicals. I wore a lot of tie-dye.
It was in high school that I decided that I wanted to travel. I was obsessed with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and vowed that I would save my money so that I could go to New Zealand after I graduated. It was all over after that. I ended up going to New Zealand with my mom for two weeks in 2005, and I’ve been swatting at that pesky travel bug ever since.
Since that first big adventure abroad in 2005, I have been to more than 35 countries on 4 continents, and am always on the lookout for my next big adventure.
BUT, I’m not a full-time traveler or “digital nomad.” In fact, ever since I started this blog in 2010, I’ve either been working full-time, in school full-time, or working/freelancing from home. As much as I love traveling and having adventures, I also enjoy coming home to sleep in my own bed, drive my own car, and cuddle with my kitty.
When it comes to travel, there’s no “best” or “right” way to do it. You could fly 10,000 miles to have an adventure, or you could simply walk down the street and discover something new. Unlike some travel bloggers, I’ve never given up my “normal” life to travel long-term.
And guess what? You don’t have to, either. You don’t have to quit your job or leave your loved ones behind indefinitely in order to be a traveler. And hopefully this site and my stories will convince you of that.
Some more fun facts about me:
The important things:
- I have a journalism degree under my belt, which I hope to one day use to rid the world of bad grammar and “there, their, they’re” confusion.
- I also have a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism management.
- Contrary to popular belief, I do not travel full-time.
- I like to consider myself to be mildly adventurous and open to new things (though not necessarily when it comes to food).
- I have a minor in German, but can’t speak it at all.
The less important (but probably more interesting) things:
- One of my past jobs consisted of designing pages for a newspaper.
- I love the scent of freshly-cut grass.
- I have been bungy jumping four times, and am always up for doing it again.
- Fall is my favorite time of year, though I don’t like that it leads to winter.
- I took Irish Step Dancing lessons in high school.
- My favorite color is green.
- I really hate all things “Twilight.” (See here if you do, too.)
- To contradict the previous statement, I like chick flicks, no matter how corny or predictable they are.
- I can write my name upside down.
- I like crossing things off lists (like my bucket list).
- I am awful at video games.
Read these posts
Want to get to know me EVEN BETTER? Check out these posts:
- Why I’m Not Afraid to Travel Alone
- Where It All Began — It’s Carmen Sandiego’s Fault
- 26 Things Travel Has Taught Me
- 5 Ways Travel Has Made Me More Adventurous
- Long-Term Travel? It’s Not For Me
- Why I DIDN’T Quit My Job to Travel
- My Life as a Travel Blogger
- How I Make Money to Travel the World
A timeline of my travels
May 2011 — I tackled one of the scariest things ever — the highest bungee jump in New Zealand: The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Done
August 2011 — My sister and I embarked upon an epic, 3-week road trip across America before I quit my newspaper job and went back to school; it’s always been a dream of ours, and did not disappoint: Road Trip ’11: My 10 Favorite Road Trip Stops
November 2011 — I decided that I was probably never going to leave everything behind to travel the world indefinitely. Hence my travel/blog philosophy was born: You Can Live a “Normal” Life and Travel,Too
January 2012 — I stayed the night in a former-prison-turned-hospital, and stayed up half the night because I’m pretty sure it was haunted: My Night in Prison
March 2012 — I went to Iceland for my grad school spring break and almost died on the side of a mountain: The Time I Almost Died in Iceland
June 2012 — On my very first solo trip to Europe, I started out in Budapest, which happens to be home to some awesome thermal baths: Soaking at the Szechenyi Baths
July 2012 — After having dreamt about visiting for years (thanks to the book The Historian), I finally visited Rila Monastery, hidden away in the Bulgarian mountains: Rila Monastery, In Photos
July 2012 — I stood in awe during my first visit to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey: In Photos: Hagia Sophia
July 2012 — I splurged and bought a ticket to see some gymnastics at the 2012 summer Olympics in London: London 2012: My Olympics Experience
August 2012 — I got to hike on a glacier in Alaska: Ice, Ice, Baby: Glacier Hiking in Alaska
December 2012 — I headed off to Edinburgh, Scotland, to ring in 2013 Hogmanay-style, with fire and Vikings and dancing and polar plunges: Hogmanay: The Most Epic New Year’s Celebration You’ve Never Heard Of
January 2013 — I swam/snorkeled with sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles at the Belize Barrier Reef: Of Sailboats and Sharks
January 2013 — This self-proclaimed non-camper camped in the jungle in Guatemala and didn’t die: A Non-Camper Sleeps in the Jungle. With Monkeys.
March 2013 — I satisfied a lifelong dream and watched the Northern Lights dance above the frozen tundra in Manitoba, Canada: A Dance of Lights: Awed By the Aurora Borealis
August 2013 — I went on a rafting pub crawl in the most gorgeous town in the Czech Republic: That Time I Went on a Rafting Pub Crawl in Cesky Krumlov
August 2013 — Feeling like a true VIP, I got to get a really unique peek at the Colosseum in Rome: Behind the Scenes at the Colosseum
September 2013 — I spent 2 blissful weeks hopping around the Greek islands, eating way too much feta and soaking up lots of sun: My Big Fat Greek Islands Photo Essay
November 2013 — After traveling around Europe for 3 months straight after finishing grad school, I decided that long-term travel was NOT for me: RTW Diaries: A Confession, A Change of Plans
January 2014 — I spent the night on a junk boat in Ha Long Bay, one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting in Vietnam: Ha Long Bay: Just as Incredible as You’ve Heard
February 2014 — I got to explore the incredible temples of Angkor in Cambodia: Temples Galore at Angkor
February 2014 — I spent a week volunteering with elephants in Thailand: Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park
June 2014 — My boyfriend and I took a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls: Flying High Over Niagara Falls
July 2014 — I came clean about what this life of mine (as a full-time freelancer/blogger) is really like: My Life as a Travel Blogger
October 2014 — My boyfriend and I went in search of fall colors in northern lower Michigan: Things to Do in Traverse City in the Fall
November 2014 — On my way to New Zealand, I built in a stopover in Tahiti, which ended up being pretty blissful: Tahiti: It’s a Magical Place
November 2014 — I teamed up with Red Carpet Tours and spent two weeks visiting Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand: Exploring Middle-Earth With Red Carpet Tours
November 2014 — I went bungee jumping for the fourth time in NZ: Completing the Bungee Jumping Trifecta in Queenstown
November 2014 — I spent a few days in Kaikoura, New Zealand, and went swimming with wild dolphins: Swimming With Wild Dolphins in New Zealand
November 2014 — I walking around the top of a tower in Auckland; what a rush! Adventure in the Sky in Auckland
December 2014 — My friend Liz and I hiked the Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand: The Hooker Valley Track: The Best Half-Day Hike in New Zealand?
January 2015 — Since I’ve long been a big geek, I took advantage of some good timing and went with a friend to Harry Potter World in Florida: Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
March 2015 — I escaped the Ohio winter and flew down to Florida again, this time to go swimming with manatees in Crystal River: Swimming With Manatees in Crystal River, Florida
April 2015 — I went on my very first river cruise this year, to Eastern Europe with AmaWaterways: River Cruising: What’s It Really Like?
April 2015 — After putting off visiting for years, I finally went to Barcelona Spain – and fell absolutely IN LOVE: Everybody Was Wrong About Barcelona
April 2015 — I visited the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, which contains some of the most incredible architecture I’ve ever seen: The Place Everyone Will Tell You to Visit in Spain
May 2015 — I road tripped around Norway, which included driving the Atlantic Ocean Road (which is EPIC): Driving the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway
May 2015 — I became “Queen of the Fjord” after some daring cliff posing above Geirangerfjord in Norway: The Most Famous Fjord in Norway
June 2015 — I traveled around the UK with my mom, visiting places like the Scottish Highlands, York, Liverpool, and London: “When I’m 64 Tour” Highlights
Interviews With Me
In case you still haven’t learned enough, check out these interviews starring yours truly to learn more about how/why/where I travel:
- At Go, See, Write
- At No Place to Be
- At Finding the Universe
- At This is My Happiness
- At Yahoo! Finance Canada
- At Hello Giggles
- At VisitScotland’s blog about my Hogmanay experience
- At Misadventures With Andi
- At My Destination
- At NZ Muse
- At Flip Nomad
- At Travel Trolley
Want to get in touch with me? Here’s how.
Other Fun Stuff
Check out some of my guest blogs, as well as where else I’ve been featured around the travel blogosphere by clicking here.
Want to know what goes in my backpack or suitcase? Check out my Packing List page!
Curious about where I turn to search for flights or book a hotel? Head over to my Travel Resources page for lots of great tips and secrets.