Kaleidoscopic Wandering Turns One Year Old!

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:

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.

In early December, I went on my second press trip, this time to Huatulco, Mexico, where I ate amazing food and swung on a rope swing above a waterfall.

Over the holiday season, we traveled to the Seattle area. We took Seattle’s underground tour and visited Lake Quinault.

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.

In late March, we took the train from Los Angeles to New Orleans, where I fell in love with the city’s cemeteries.

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?

22 Responses to “Kaleidoscopic Wandering Turns One Year Old!”

  1. Lola

    Congrats on a fantastic year so far and what is gearing up to be an equally exciting next 12 months!

  2. Hal Amen

    Congrats, JoAnna! You’ve packed A LOT into a year, and I wish you the best for the coming one.

  3. James Schipper

    Congratulations! You’ve done a lot this past year. I can’t wait to see what you do this year. I’m glad your dad gave you the advice he did.

  4. Gray

    Congratulations on your 1 year blog anniversary! It feels like you’ve been around a lot longer than that. Wow! You’ve done a ton of traveling in a year. And aren’t you forgetting a trip? (Hint: it’s at the end of the month.)

  5. Leland

    congrats on realizing your dreams of traveling and writing….u r the envy of a lot of people….just remember to take me on a trip with u sometime….ur fun to travel with…

  6. Candice

    Hey, don’t forget our fantastic meet-up in less than 3 weeks! 😉 You should see my NYC guidebook, it’s received a beating.

    Congrats though, wow, it’s amazing how far you’ve come in such a short time! I had no idea, I thought Kaleidoscopic Wandering was older.You’ve used your time well.

    • JoAnna

      @Gray and @Candice ~ I’m SO embarrassed that I forgot to mention New York City! How could I forget?? I’ve added it into the post. Hopefully you can forgive me … ???

  7. Krista

    Congratulations!! I’m so glad you were brave and took those first steps. 🙂 A year ago I was road-tripping through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and Greece, in the Fall I went to Germany, France and Holland, and this year I hope to go to Australia. 🙂

    • JoAnna

      Wow! You had a busy year too! I would love to do more traveling through Europe, especially Eastern Europe.

  8. jessiev

    YAY!! congrats!! i’ve really enjoyed following you this first year – looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

  9. Akila

    Happy anniversary! There are so many people who started blogging around the same time as us and I love seeing how far we have all come. 🙂

    • JoAnna

      It’s a good felling, isn’t it, Akila? I’m so stoked by all the awesome people in the travel blogging community I’ve had a chance to meet over the last year. Here’s to another great year … cheers!

  10. Michael

    You’ve done quite a bit in just a year! Keep the travels going and congrats. Good to hear you’re doing so well.

  11. Trisha Miller

    I’m grinning from ear to ear – I can’t help it, I just get deliriously happy for people who are following their dreams – all I can say is “congrats!” and “you go, girl!”……I’m sure we’ll all enjoy enjoying your experiences vicariously through your writing. Big hugs!!

    • JoAnna

      Big hugs back Trisha! I’m so excited we got to hang out for a bit this past year and I can’t wait to catch up in New York!

    • JoAnna

      I don’t think it goes to me, though I did have a pretty kick ass year. 🙂

  12. Carrie

    Congratulations! I’m astonished that time has passed so quickly. I didn’t realize that I’d been following you for well over a year, but I remember you getting geared up for Burning Man, and I remember loving the stories you shared about your trip there. Congratulations again! Here’s to another great year of travel stories and adventures!

    • JoAnna

      Thanks Carrie! It’s been a great year … here’s to another!

  13. Heather

    Very cool to see everything you’ve done in just a year!

  14. giuliadventures

    Congratulations 🙂
    my blog was born just a few days ago but I hope to get where you are! Great… and best of everything for the following year/s!


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