My wanderlust started at a young age. I grew up traveling often with my family, as both of my parents are from Europe, born and raised in the former Yugoslavia. Growing up in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio we traveled back to Serbia regularly to visit my grandparents and other family and vacationed to sunny destinations frequently to get away from the cold winters.
Coming from a European family, the mentality of enjoying life and vacationing often was instilled in me at a young age. By the time I turned 18, I had already traveled to numerous different countries and beautiful destinations all around the world.
My mom worked for an airline so we were fortunate enough to be able to travel for reasonable prices to some amazing places. I definitely get my passion for travel from my mom, who has been just about everywhere in the world, and had a lust for travel long before it ever became a trend. As time passed, my love for traveling and exploring kept getting stronger the more I experienced the world, as it does with most people.
At a young age, my mother would often tell me that she wanted me to live abroad in Europe one day. Something that I had no interest in it at that time. Things changed drastically after college when the travel bug hit me especially hard.
It started with my experience of living in Italy for the summer. I completed an internship where I was contracted to live on a military base and teach while earning college credits. During my first experience with the program, I was staffed in Aviano, Italy. I made endless memories and met some amazing lifelong friends, all from different paths and places around the world.
During that internship, I was able to travel all around Europe and add more notches to my already lengthy travel resume. Almost every weekend we would take trips to see and explore new countries and cultures. Aviano was a central location in Europe, only 45 minutes from Venice, so a number of destinations were just a train ride or quick flight away. That summer included travel to Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Slovenia, and all over Italy.
After Italy, I did another internship with the same program. This time I was stateside at the Navy Base in Key West, Florida for 6 months. That is when my love affair with the sunshine state of Florida began. Living right on the water walking outside to the smell of the ocean never gets old!
Just like the first experience, I met more incredible new friends and made endless new memories. This was also the time that my love for sunsets really came to be. In the evenings and on weekends I worked a beer tub on Mallory Square where sunsets are a nightly ritual and street performers are aplenty.
After these experiences (and a second summer spent in Italy) I went on to get my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Next, I settled into the real world, finding a teaching job in Tampa, Florida where I lived for 8 years. My wanderlust didn’t stop there, as I always made sure to maximize my summers off and holiday breaks to explore new places. I added loads of new countries to my list of places seen, checking off many of my wanderlust wishes and revisiting some of my favorites from the past.
Through each of these experiences, I learned the value of meeting new people, learning new things, and experiencing new cultures. Something I will never take for granted and hope to continue to prioritize. Now as always, my wanderlust remains as strong as ever and my gratitude for each new experience indescribable.
Lastly I’ll leave you with one of my favorite travel quotes….
“Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” ~Ibu Battuta
You create the story of your life…make it a good one!
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