When I was a little girl, my parents gave me a beautiful globe that I loved to spin. I would stop it randomly with my finger and look up the place I landed on in our hard-bound encyclopedias. I was fascinated that so many countries existed in the world and were seemingly so different from the “small-town USA” life that I knew. My curiosity was heightened during sophomore year in high school when an English teacher organized a group trip to Europe. Mom went along as a chaperon with a few other parents and together our group visited five countries in two weeks. It was a whirlwind tour that took us from London to Paris and saw us climb through a Swiss glacier and cruise down the Rhine river in Germany. I enjoyed the exposure to other cultures so much that I signed up for return trips to Europe with that same teacher for the next two years. By the time I entered college I had been to seven countries and was keen to see more. I set a goal of visiting 20 countries in my lifetime, which then seemed ambitious.
Fast forward through college, during which I only made it to Mexico and the Caribbean on spring break trips, and my first year in the corporate world when I could barely afford to pay rent. Following a long-held dream, I moved to New York City, where I didn’t know a soul, and made a nice life for myself over the next few years. Though I took only one international trip during that time – to Japan, my first Asian country – I traveled quite a bit in the States for business and pleasure. A move to the DC-metro area lowered my rent considerably and gave me the means to start traveling in earnest. With Mom once again as my partner, we set about visiting most of western Europe.
Putting aside a career in marketing, I moved with my husband to Shanghai in September 2011
and spent the next two years exploring China and the rest of East Asia. I discovered a particular fondness for the climate, cuisines, and friendly peoples of Southeast Asia and I hope to spend a lot more time in this fascinating region. Now, I’m excited to call Riga, Latvia home. There’s a whole big world out there and I hope to see most of it. I’ve already surpassed my goal of 20 countries and am off to a good start!
In honor of my past career in Marketing, here is a by-the-numbers look at Ferreting Out the Fun:
- Countries Visited: 31
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited: 58
- U.S. States Visited: 29
- Countries Lived In: 3 (USA, China and Latvia)