It’s hard to believe that only one year ago I called my dad on my way to work and asked him a question that has changed the course of my life. The question was this: Should I apply for the Digital Vagabonding Roads Scholarship?
Applying for the scholarship meant that, if I won, I would have to quit my full-time job to road trip for the whole summer, writing and photographing my journey as I went. The idea of applying for a scholarship that would force me to leave the confining, restricting and suffocating but comforting full-time job in a full-time crappy economy was a scary one.
My dad, who worked in Corporate America for the same company up until the day he was forced to retire, said one word in response to my question: Yes.
And so I applied.
I received a call from Pat the Digital Vagabond a few weeks later telling me I had been named an honorary Digital Vagabond Roads Scholar. I would not receive the full scholarship, which was sponsored by both Pat and Matador Network. Rather, I would receive a partial stipend and a ticket to Burning Man at the end of the summer.
It was a good middle ground for me. I had been hoping to escape the cubicle sooner than later, so I dropped my hours at work down to part time, began planning long weekends with my scholarship money and created Kaleidoscopic Wandering to record my travels. By the time I left Burning Man at the end of the summer, I had made the decision to try my hand at full-time freelance writing. So far, I’m doing okay, and Kaleidoscopic Wandering has stuck by me the whole way.
In celebration of my travel blog’s one-year anniversary, I wanted to look back on where I’ve gone over the course of the year, and share with you my travel plans for the coming year.
Travels June 2009-May 2010:
My Digital Vagabonding Roads Scholarship took me to:
- A little town called Rosamond in California, home to an awesome wild cat research center
- Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Great Basin National Park
Then I ventured out to Burning Man on my own, where I met some very cool people from Matador Network.
Shortly thereafter I got my first press trip to Honduras, where I swam with dolphins, went zip lining, learned about agritourism and learned the very important lesson of carrying two cameras when I travel.
Within a week of returning home, I packed my bags for the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers’ Association conference at sea. While aboard the ship, I received my first spa treatment and learned a thing or two about cruising. Our boat stopped at Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas (though my sister and I spent the day hiking on St. John) and the Bahamas.
Within days of being home, I was packed up again for a girls weekend in Joshua Tree National Park (again with other awesome folk from Matador). Last weekend, my husband and I rounded out the amazing year with one more final (itty bitty) road trip, this time through Mojave National Preserve.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and I have my dad to thank for giving me a confident YES when I asked him that question 12 months ago. I knew then that I should pursue my dreams, but hearing it from someone who took me on my very first plane ride helped me take that final leap, which led me to create Kaleidoscopic Wandering so that I could share my travels with you.
Travels June 2010-May 2011
The coming year is a little hazy, but there are a few trips in the works. At the end of June, I’m going to New York City for the first time for Travel Blog Exchange, where I’ll finally get to rub elbows with many of the friends I’ve made over the past year online.
We’re definitely taking a road trip through Arizona and another one to Canyonlands National Park. We’ll spend a few days in San Diego, and then I’m going to Vietnam for two weeks on my own (thank you Wanderlust and Lipstick).
There’s a pretty snazzy trip I hope to take in September but don’t want to jinx my chances, so suffice to say it involves lots of wine. Over the holiday season, we’ll probably hook up with my sister, her husband and my parents for a rental home getaway (we’re thinking Sedona).
And in 2011, my husband and I both turn 30. We decided long ago that we could both choose a trip to celebrate the milestone. It’s hard to say now where we’ll end up … we’ve tossed around Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Morocco, Costa Rica.
Really, though, the year is young. I’ll just let the open road take me wherever it winds.
I’d like to hear from you … Where have you been the past year and where are you going in the coming one? And what would you like to see from Kaleidoscopic Wandering during the next year?