For our Travel Blogger Thursday series this week, we interview Jessi of the travel blog, Outbound Adventurer. Jessi is a self-proclaimed travel geek who feels as though travel and education are related (I would have to agree!). She travels and blogs with her friend, Tara.
What inspires you to travel, and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
I’ve always been a restless person. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a family that embraced travel, and as I entered into adulthood I wanted to keep those habits alive. More than that, though, I’m an educator and a lover of education. I taught high school English for five years, and I work at a museum as a curriculum coordinator now. I’m a huge proponent of experiential education and learning, which is exactly what happens when you travel. I want to visit as many places as I can and absorb the lessons they have in store for me.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
There are so many wonderful places in this world, and many of them call to me. Right now, for instance, I am severely craving a crisp, Appalachian autumn. Overall, though, my favorite destination has to be the Balkans region; specifically Croatia. It’s a wonderful, young country filled with both rich history and overwhelming beauty. Slovenia is a close second, and was a complete surprise to me. It’s unique in its beauty, and I love the mixture of Austro-Hungarian, Italian, and Slavic cultures.
When did you start to travel and where did you first visit?
I was too young to remember my first travels, but I’m pretty sure my family took me to Niagara Falls. Growing up we had an RV, so we took a lot of road trips to places like Colorado and Yellowstone National Park. We also went on a few Caribbean cruises. As an adult, my first big trip was to Paris. It was a graduation present from my dad, who often went oversees on business, and the two of us spent three days exploring the city together. It’s one of my most cherished memories with my father.
You write your travel blog with Tara, how did you both meet?
Hah, well, true to our geeky selves, we actually met online, on a forum dedicated to our favorite children’s book series (Animorphs), which we have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with. We spent a number of years only knowing one another in that capacity, until we finally met in person in Buffalo, New York back in 2010, when both of us were traveling in the area at the same time. It was St. Patrick’s Day and our meeting involved a lot of spontaneous Irish dancing and green beer. In 2011 we started dating long distance (she was in Colorado, finishing up her master’s degree in, I kid you not, fossilized dinosaur poop, and I was teaching in Texas). We finally managed to settle in the same place (Houston) in mid-2012.
Why did you start your blog, and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
I’ve always been a writer. Every year for the past eight years I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and, during the month of November, I write a 50,000 word novel. In 2010 my friend and fellow blogger, Marie over at Ardent Camper, began a copywriting firm. I taught English for five years, and my bachelor’s degree is in English. I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with half started stories, journal entries, poems and vignettes. It’s a true passion of mine, and it only made sense to couple it with my passion for travel.
Not surprisingly, the writing itself is what I enjoy most about blogging. As awesome as the community is, as great as some of the perks are, at the end of the day it is just me, a blank screen, and the words that I create to tell a story. For me, that’s everything.
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
I’m a big fan of magnets. They’re practical, thin, light, and don’t take up any room in your luggage. I try to collect at least one magnet from each city I visit. In lieu of that, I try to go for clothing, fabric, or something useful or culturally pertinent. The challenge is being able to fit my souvenirs in my backpack. Sometimes all I bring back are pictures and stories – but often times, that is more than enough.
Where do you plan on visiting next?
I’ll probably head home to Michigan and Ohio for the holidays to visit my family. After that, Tara and I are looking forward to spending some time in Arizona this upcoming January. We’re excited to do some hiking and camping in Sedona, and to explore Phoenix.
Thanks so much for sharing your stories with us, Jessi! If you’d like to keep up with Jessi’s adventures, please hop over to the Outbound Adventurer blog, or follow on social media:
Every Thursday, we’re going to be featuring a fellow travel blogger and highlighting their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.