How it All Began

When I was 15, my high school English teacher decided to chaperone a literary travel tour of England to stop one of her Senior students from blowing all the money she had saved for travel on clothes instead. I can’t say this girl made the best life choices. She would later sneak out of my hotel bedroom window in a suburb of London to go meet a boy she had met on the Internet and this was before the days of MySpace let alone internet dating…think about that, I will highlight it for emphasis: PRE-MYSPACE! But I won’t judge her because this England trip was the start of all my travels.

While riding around on our swanky E.F. Educational Tours coach around the English countryside, I turned to my teacher and told her my dream had been to always go to Italy (you know the dream I had had for all of 2 long years in my adolescence). I wondered if she could host another tour there. In the way only a teacher can sigh, she took one long breath while staring out the window and responded that she couldn’t even think about it for next year, but perhaps the year after that. (I know these sighs now that I, too, am a teacher. More on that later. That sigh meant, “God, wouldn’t that be great to go to Italy but you guys are driving me to my last nerve and I would have to be an idiot to do this to myself again.” *See girl who snuck out bedroom window from above.)

Luckily, I was a Freshman and I could wait it out and two years was just long enough for my teacher to have post-trip amnesia and plan another one to Italy. This time she had the sense to bring along her teacher friend, Ms. Culbertson. Her reasoning was that with two of them it would be easier. Unluckily for her, boys signed up for this one and there was drinking involved. (Ms. Culbertson wrote a fictional YA book based on it, Instructions for a Broken Heart, check it out.)

Because of the self-sacrificing trips of my English teachers, it was official. I was hooked. I had to travel. I had to add more stamps to my passport. I had to drive around in large coaches where the seats felt like dog hair shaved too close and hotel rooms were always carpeted in a dusty shade of rusted metal brown. For the next ten years, I would sign up for more independent, group travel than one girl in her 20s should (most people would assume tour groups were reserved for the over-60 set). I would choose a profession that allowed me to travel for 6 weeks at a time and sometimes over holiday breaks as well. I would quit waitressing jobs when opportunities came up to go to Caribbean islands for free and give up my car so that all my expenses could go to my next plane flight (the two equaled out in carbon emissions in my mind.)

And that has lead me to here. Writing a travel blog. I have ten years of travel experience, 22 countries visited, a degree in Creative Writing that’s never been used and a love of reading that accounts for the travel book suggestions peppered in as a bonus (I became a Teacher-Librarian, after all). If that isn’t reason enough, I don’t know what is.

Here are the things I will promise to deliver:

  • A quick read once a week
  • A sense of place or at least my experience of it
  • A travel suggestion or two (by way of links)
  • A book to read either about the place or just for fun while you travel

I hope you read Goode Travels with a sense of wonder and abandonment. I hope you enjoy it and have a laugh or two. Let’s be honest, I hope you share it as well, cause we now live in a post-post-MySpace era. More importantly, I hope it inspires you to travel and see the world, hop on an airplane, a rickshaw, a bus and the closest interstate to your home. Get outside, see something new and tell people about it, cause that’s what I’m going to do.

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