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Travel Tuesday: Calling All Wanna-Be Travelers

Travel Tuesday: Calling All Wanna-Be Travelers
Travel Tuesday: Calling All Wanna-Be Travelers

Including me. Yep, I said it. I’m a fraud. I write about traveling and I’m basically just a wanna-be.

I mean, can I really call myself a traveler if I’ve never left the U.S.?

The average person would argue, no. I have yet to experience diverse cultures and societies. I have yet to see true poverty in person and to marvel at historical landmarks built before America was even “discovered” by Europeans. I have yet to be in a place where an entire race of people speak another language and I am the one trying to desperately communicate and understand what is going on. I’m no world traveler.

But I am hungry for travel.

Mt. Healy Overlook, Denali National Park & Preserve, September 2013

I have seized every viable opportunity since I was 15 years old to see as much of the world as I can, as far away as I can. Normal obstacles have prevented me from stepping foot on foreign soil. This is not a pity party or a plea to my woeful childhood. My parents did everything they could for us. Travel was unnecessary and just not within our means. Once I graduated and began to attend college, I realized how expensive the “real world” was, and taking out thousands to study abroad was not feasible. With scholarships, work, good grades, and one loan, I was able to pay for college. I couldn’t justifying adding thousands for a plane ticket, trips, food, alcohol, and shopping in a foreign country with my peers.

Instead I made use of what I could afford. Road trips with friends. Trips around the U.S. to visit my now-husband. Weekend excursions around the Midwest to see places I’d never been. I’ve been to Hawaii & Alaska. It may not be a European backpacking adventure or a mission trip to Latin America, but how many people can say they’ve been to both of the non-continental U.S. states?

Maui, Hawaii with my very best friend in 2010.

I’m proud of the traveling I have done, and I intend to do much more. I know it’s my determination to continue to see the world within my means that makes me a traveler. That drive is what makes anyone who desires to experience new places and new things a traveler.

In the past, I have felt so uncultured and inadequate watching my college peers make month or semester long trips to South America and Europe. I have felt envious and annoyed at my situation. If I’d only taken out the big loan and studied abroad in college, or if only my parents had sent me on a church trip to a foreign country or on one of those high school abroad programs. And then I remember where I’m from. The tiny small town in Northern Minnesota with plenty of kids who have wished to travel and to experience more but lacked even the opportunities to leave the state or the Midwest. They have not been able to see the things I have in Florida or Arizona or Colorado or Washington D.C., much less Hawaii or Alaska.

Perspective. Perspective. Perspective.

I am a traveler. A U.S. traveler for now.

I’m no expert on foreign airlines, but I can tell you how to survive a 6 hour red eye on a flight to or from Alaska. I can’t tell you which Caribbean islands have the bluest waters, but I can tell you which ones in Maui do. I’ve never been to the Louvre, but I can guarantee the Holocaust Museum in D.C. is the most moving, heart breaking museum I’ll ever visit. I can’t show you pictures of living in a flat in Roma, but I can take pictures of my backyard and the birch trees that stretch to the clouds and the mountains of the Alaska Range peaking over them in the distance.

I’m not cultured or a world traveler.

But I am open minded, saving my pennies, and will be someday.

Camille Mae (2)

  • Anonymous says:

    YES! You are a traveler! I am not a “world” traveler, but I am a United States of America traveler, like you. We have done the best traveling because we appreciate our country enough to enjoy the wonders it offers! I have never felt the need to travel overseas, there is too much in the USA that I need to see yet.

    • camillemae says:

      It’s so true! The US has so much rich history and beautiful places and cities to see. Oceans, forests, deserts, mountains! We have a little bit of everything here 🙂

  • saraelena says:

    I’m only just entering my beginning phase of world traveling. Until last year, I’d only left the USA once to see my brother in Latvia, but I was 18 and not yet fully able to appreciate it. It wasn’t until I drove around this country for 5 weeks that I realized I would never be the same. I knew, instantly, that Id be a “traveler” forever. I went on to spend 2 weeks around Europe last year which was wonderful…But the parts I loved the most were the same obscure, in-between bits that I still pine for on my USA road trips. Not the “major sites”, but the sunsets and endless roads, the dizzying silence of the country, the genuine conversation with a local. These are the things I need more of. If it wasn’t for my falling in love with travel within this country, then Id never have gotten to the point where I wanted to see the whole world. We have a lifetime to discover more, and a thousand empty roads on home ground and beyond that we haven’t yet covered.

    • camillemae says:

      I adore your response. Every bit of it is true. I fall in love with the way the trees look in the winter and the sight of mountains towering over me. Regardless of if I’m in a foreign country or exploring beautiful America, I imagine that urge to see more and soak in more and live deeper is universal.

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