About Amy

After going straight from high school to university for two years, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do and it’s very expensive to study if you’re not sure what you want as a career! So, I stopped (or quit, but quit sounds negative and I still think it was a good decision to stop going) and worked in that small town in the Midwest for one year.

Realizing I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a small town, I asked my friend from high school for advice finding an au pair/nanny job. I imagined somewhere in California, near where she was living, but when she got back to me a week later, she suggested I go to Switzerland. Not quite California, but ok. Sure! Why not? Nothing else to do but watch corn grow here! πŸ˜›

So, off I went to Switzerland. The job wasn’t the best experience in the world, but living in another culture, even just for a few months was amazing. Summer in Switzerland is beautiful.

I was hooked.

Unfortunately, I had to leave after 3 months because my tourist visa was ending and I didn’t have any idea where or how to travel. So I went home.

I was 21 at the time and decided I wanted to go back to Europe before I was 25 for a longer trip.

When I returned home, I moved to the East Coast with a friend and worked for a few years.

I still had in the back of my mind that I wanted to go back to Europe, but it wasn’t until I was 23 years old that I realized that meant I actually had to save money and make an effort to go back! Imagine that! Europe wasn’t going to come to me- I had to take the initiative to go there!

I’ve always been an independent person, but it took sacrifices to make my dreams come true and I called my parents. I asked my dad if I could move back home to save money for a trip. I thought that one month at home would equal about one month of travel money, so maybe 3 months at home for a 3 month trip. His hesitancy was encouraging when he said, ‘well, yes, I guess you can come home, but… well…. if you’re going to go to Europe, you should really go for 6 months or a year.’

Ok. Sure! Trade off! I give up some of my independence to live at home so I can get to travel longer and my parents get to see me every day for a year!

Well, one year turned into two but just 3 months before my 25th birthday, I packed up my bags and took a one-way flight to Europe.

I stretched my budget in ways I never knew I could and my one-year budget turned into 20 months of traveling with a good chunk of leftover change. It was a great experience and I am very glad I did it.

In December 2010, I returned to the States and a few months later, I returned to Europe. This time, not so much to travel. I had a job teaching English in Italy and enjoyed every minute of it.

After the summer finished, I traveled to London and met a nice English boy. After months spent in London with him, a visit together to the US for Christmas and time apart (so I didn’t overstay my UK tourist visa), we decided to get married.

I’m now living in London. Relocated to England. My travels abroad have become living abroad. Permanently.

Now I’m experiencing new culture shock through resident things…. not tourist things. Figuring out utility bills rather than bus schedules is certainly a different way to see the country.

It’s a lot to take in, but it’s fun and keeps me on my toes!

I think it’s great to travel. It broadens your perspective and teaches you how to look at things from someone else’s point of view. After traveling, you look at the news differently, you read wine lists different, you hear music differently. Traveling makes you more open-minded and respectful of other traditions and cultures. It’s something I think everyone should do at some point in their life.

10 thoughts on “About Amy

  1. Amy –

    Your site is packed with information. Thank you for sharing your travels. I can’t wait to read what you have to say next. To show you how much I like your blog I have nominated you for the Most Inspirational Blog Award. You can find more about the award on evonlagrou.com/2013/06/29/inspirational-travelor

    I hope you enjoy this experience of nominating others as much as I did! I look forward to following your travels.

    Good luck to you! Evon

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  2. Cal says:

    Hi Amy, i stumbled upon your blog when i googled for au-pairing in Europe. Thank you for sharing with us your “wunderbar” experience in the Swiss host family, that was shocking! And more importantly now i will be thinking twice about how to go about doing it properly. I’m originally from Singapore and been living in Australia since 2009, and took a year off to work as a flight attendant when i lived in the Middle East, thanks to my wanderlust, and having travelled since i was 20 (am nearing the scary 30!) means i am badly bitten by the travel bug and thus now looking for ways to let my soul roam once again. But i’m finding it tough, hope to find some inspiration from your blog! Please keep on writing and sharing! Am also very happy for you to read your heartwarming part about meeting your hubby in the UK πŸ™‚ Love,cal πŸ™‚

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  3. Jason and Alexa says:

    Great blog. Not only should people travel at one point in their life, people should travel at various points in their lives. I travelled at 20 and again at 30. And I plan to do it again at somepoint(s). I have seen Prague, Beijing, and Bali 10 years apart. Prague hasn’t changed, but what I am interested in has. Bali and Beijing were almost unrecognizable to me my second time. It is not good, or bad, it just is. The world just changes and so do you. Travel helps to reinforce this simple lesson.

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    • I agree! The world changes a lot… even within just a few years in some places. Others, of course, don’t change at all. I remember going back to Switzerland 5 years later and Bern was still exactly the same. πŸ™‚ Of course, there were new owners of the youth hostel, but they kept it the same. πŸ™‚

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  4. worldtraveller says:

    Hi Amy, It sounds like you had quite an adventure. My family and I have been living in Shanghai for the last couple of years, and my 18 year old son is lobbying us for a 3 month solo backpacking trip through Europe. He is very mature, and has travelled extensively through Asia, North America, and Europe. This would be his first solo trip. Two questions: 1. Based on your experience, do you think he is too young? 2. Is couchsurfing a viable option for him? Zaijian

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    • Hi Zaijian! It sounds like it would be great for him to try traveling on his own! If you’ve traveled with him and you think he has the travel skills and maturity, why not let him try it on his own? It is very different traveling with other people (especially family) than traveling on your own, but if you have traveled as a family before, he probably knows what to expect.

      If you want to check up with him along the way, try setting up a Skype account and have a set time each week to chat. Or, figure out a time when you can meet up with him along the way and travel together for a few days- but after that set time, go your own way! πŸ™‚ If he wants to have the trip to himself, let him do it! πŸ™‚ Of course, be there for him in case anything goes wrong and help him prepare for mishaps along the way, but he also needs to make mistakes and learn from them himself. πŸ™‚

      CouchSurfing is a great thing! If you feel you need to, ask him to tell you who his host is. If he gives you his host’s contact info (at least the first few weeks), you will probably feel better. But after a while, let him have his freedom and don’t be too overbearing. πŸ™‚ CS is almost better for younger travelers (well, travelers of all ages!) because in a hostel, you are just one person in a large hostel and if something happens, no one is there to notice something is wrong. But if you are one person staying with one host, the host knows if something has happened and might be more likely to help you than the staff or guests of a large hostel. It’s also a great way to meet other travelers (through the meetings and group postings), so maybe he will find someone who he can travel with for a bit! You can check out the article about CS I wrote for the blog Don’t Ever Look Back, 8 Reasons Why CouchSurfing Works for Me.

      btw- A family friend’s son went to Europe when he was 19 (I think) and had a great time, but he didn’t call or email as much as his mom wanted, so she ‘tracked’ him online across Europe by his ATM withdrawals! πŸ™‚

      I hope this helps! Solo trips are a great thing. I hope he has a good time! Let me know where he decides to go! πŸ™‚

      Amy

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  5. You are very well-traveled and very interesting. I look forward to catching up on your blog. My goal is to travel Europe before 30, along with other places. You’re very inspiring.
    Carly

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  6. G’day Amy, I share your philosophy about travel. It is very addictive the more you do the more you want to just keep looking round that next corner. Go have a look at couch surfing one of the best ways I have found to make the budget stretch and also meet the most generous and friendly people. Cheers Pauline…

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