“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list!”
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes by Susan Sontag. And it’s true. The list of destinations I want to visit is endless—seriously endless. I’m chipping away at it. But there’s always so much more to discover.
My love of travel began with road trips during childhood. We’d load up the cargo van my dad had customized himself. It was decorated in the classic 1970s style—shag carpeting and beanbag chairs (I never said it was pretty).
One year, we drove from our home in Florida up the East Coast to New England. Another year, we set out across the country, taking in the dusty plains and endless corn fields of the Midwest. We even made a stop at the oh-so-kitschy Corn Palace in South Dakota. Those road trips in the ugly van fueled my wanderlust.
When I married my first husband and had our children, we had to travel on a limited budget which meant road trips to visit relatives in other states—that was all we could manage. Yet, if you were to talk to my now-adult children, they would tell you I was always suggesting the “scenic route,” adding extra hours to our trips. (Yeah, they weren’t thrilled.)
After the kids were grown, I started life over as a single woman. I was determined to find a way to bring more travel into my life. My career as a tax accountant would help fund my travels, but with only four weeks of vacation, there wasn’t enough time to go to all of the places I wanted to go. So, I made a choice: I exchanged the big salary for a life on my own terms. I became a travel writer.
It worked! In the past eight years, I’ve been to 32 countries across five continents, and I’m not stopping anytime soon. In Antarctica, I watched as penguins waddled up and down “penguin highways.” In Tanzania, I witnessed mating lions—that’s not something you see every day. And I’ve just returned from a Christmas Market luxury river cruise on the Danube, where I cruised from Budapest to Nuremberg, with stops in Slovakia and Austria along the way.
I still love road trips and recently took one along Germany’s Fairytale Route, staying at castles that inspired the beloved tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
Because I average about 30 trips per year, you may be wondering how I can afford to do all of this travel. Truthfully, I can’t. There’s no trust fund with my name on it, and I’ve never won the lottery.
Instead, as a travel writer, destinations invite me to visit, providing complimentary flights, lodging, food, and experiences. The articles I write about all of those experiences bring attention (and more visitors) to the destinations, so I’d say that’s a win-win. Best of all, I get to keep on traveling.