Why a Travel Blog? Part I
In my last post, I discussed why this blog is called Voyage la Vie. So how did I get here and why am I writing this travel blog?
It is my goal to serve you – as readers – to make the most of your vacation and travels. To carve out more intentionality with your travels. This space is intended to be a collaborative travel community. I’ve had periods of time in my life where I’ve traveled abundantly, and none at all (not counting the pandemic). I’ve seen first-hand how valuable a mental reset vacation can be, how sometimes the best thing for us, is to get out of our own way and experience something new.
I hope you will find details here that inspire you, or that provide you with that bit of insight you need to “take the trip”.
It’s worth it.
So I guess I’ve been on this journey to launch a travel-focused community and travel planning services…since I was a kid. Though it took me a while to realize it. For as far back as my memory serves, I have spent my time planning and coordinating events, programs, and projects that bring people together. I have also wanted to be self-employed since I was about 12. Probably longer. But I had never quite pinpointed WHAT to do. I knew I had the personal entrepreneurial drive, but I struggled to identify what that looked like. And I was stuck.
Or so I thought.
I can now see how deeply the mentors and influences in my childhood, paired with extensive professional experience in the nonprofit and association management industry, and my passion for travel, needed some time to come together.
Growing up in Minnesota, our family did the typical Minnesota vacation. We went to the lake. I have wonderful memories with friends and family at various lakes, cabins, and resorts across Minnesota. Though we didn’t jet set across the country or to Europe as a family, I caught the travel bug at a young age through first-hand experiences. I didn’t go to Europe, but Europe came to me.
My mom was a high school French teacher. And every other summer, she and her colleagues took students to Europe, usually for about 3 weeks. From the time I was born, this was all I knew. Mom went to France and surrounding countries every other summer. This was the 80s and early 90s. We were lucky to get one phone call, and some anxiously awaited, and often mail-delayed post cards during her travels. And no, not once did my siblings and I ever feel abandoned. My grandmother and my dad were 100% supportive, and I’m forever grateful for this “non-traditional” first-hand example of “take the trip” in my young life. And yes, she was mom-shamed by some. I’m so glad she didn’t let that stop her.
Movers and shakers and educators ahead of their time. This is how I would describe my mom and her colleagues. It wasn’t really a “thing” yet, to take groups of students to Europe at the time. Teaching a combination of French, German, and Spanish, the students who were lucky enough to call them Madame, Frau, or Senora, still share with us today when we see them, the impact this experience had on their lives. And I was lucky enough to learn from these women year after year.
Beyond taking students TO Europe, this group of talented educators, built a program of exchange teaching assistants coming TO Minnesota, as well as direct exchanges with schools so that students could come to Minnesota. Over several years, we hosted countless parties and other gatherings for traveling students and adults. A mixture of language, culture, people, and connections I cherish.
Some of the exchange teaching assistants, as well as my mom’s colleagues with whom she coordinated exchanges from the south of France, remain lifelong family friends. I’ve had the privilege of getting to stay with them in their homes, and immerse myself in French culture as I went to Europe in college and beyond, and it’s had a lasting impact on how I approach travel.
Not surprisingly, in my 20s, I hopped “across the pond” every chance I got, and even had the privilege as a young professional, of chaperoning two high school France trips with my mom and my high school French teacher.
Though I didn’t first go into a travel-related industry professionally, my early travel experiences heavily influenced my work in professional association management, and nonprofit consulting.
Stay tuned for parts II and III – why am I qualified to inspire your travels, and how did all this Europe talk lead to a Disney travel specialty and…credit cards?
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