What’s your site about and what are you working on this week?
My site is a travel blog (The Atlas Heart) that is about slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, festivals, and all the random bits in between. I like to use the term, seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens, since I try to portray as many different perspectives and cultures on my blog as possible. My goal is to keep an open mind and an Atlas Heart throughout my travels and tales.
This week I’m working on a massive write-up about my favorite traditional and wacky Kiwi foods to try in New Zealand, one of my favorite countries and a place that I lived in for a year.
For people who haven’t begun their journey, what is one thing you want them to know about the world?
That it’s smaller and more benevolent than you think. We’re always inundated with the negative things that happen every day, either through the news, the media, or your pessimistic neighbor down the street, and I believe once you really start traveling and seeing the seemingly “scary” big world for yourself, you instead start to see the kindness, the humanity, and the openness from people in every culture. Those types of moments unfortunately aren’t always considered news-worthy, but you’ll discover them just the same once you start traveling.
What’s the country you traveled to where you felt the most connected, and why?
For some reason, even though the culture was so different from my own, I felt such a strong connection to Italy and my summer spent studying abroad in Florence. Maybe it was due to it being my first real solo trip abroad, but I felt immediately welcomed by Italians, by the food, the cobblestone streets that I would always get lost in, and the overall vibe of the city. It’s a place that made me realize I wasn’t really living in the fullest sense of the word - there’s so much passion to be found everyday in the simplest of human interactions, and for that reason I’ll always have a deep connection and love for Italy.
What’s the travel experience that’s changed you most, and in what way?
Taking off and moving abroad by myself for two years after graduating from college. Well, it was only meant to be 6 months, but anyone who travels knows how hard it can be to actually stick to a time limit when you don’t have responsibilities to go back to at home. Moving abroad to Australia and then New Zealand and starting over in 3 separate cities, where I knew close to no one, tested my introverted self in the best ways possible. I learned how to truly take care of myself in a completely different culture and I also learned the important life lessons that everything happens for a reason and ultimately everything works out. I made some of the best connections, friendships, and memories during my time abroad. I grew more as a person in those two years abroad than I ever had before.
What adventure are you going to scratch off next?
O Canada!! I’ll be visiting Canada for the first time this April and again in the fall. After making so many Canadian friends abroad, I can’t wait to see my beautiful northern neighbor finally! ….And watch Canadian hockey, of course.