A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas & the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? This whole travel life. The coming & going frequently, the moving towns often & regularly. The fact that we will rarely live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. So when I meet people who share this same passion I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them.
Currently hailing from Washington DC, Kelsey is an Insta-friend whose feed got me hooked straight off the bat with her colourful wall art shots, her passion for adventure, and the fact that she is a huge advocate of #WeekendWanderlust. Her zest for life translates so seamlessly to her online work & it’s easy to want to be her friend with the clever captions & awesome instastories. She's currently nursing a post-surgery/repaired ankle but that hasn't stopped her adventuring or her positive attitude, which is something I always notice about her writing and content. So there we have it folks, this months WanderWoman is Kelsey!
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
In the last 9 years, I’ve lived in 9 cities in 4 countries on 4 continents. I now work full-time in Washington, D.C. but I would love to live abroad again!
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
In the first 20 years of my life, I never thought much about travel. I was playing varsity soccer at my university and then quit for various reasons. I decided to take advantage of my newfound freedom by studying abroad in New Zealand for five months in 2009. After traveling within New Zealand and to Fiji and Australia, I was hooked and haven't looked back since!
(McAfee Knob, Virginia)
How do you decide where to travel to?
Anywhere that has a couch for me to sleep on! Just kidding… but not really. I love visiting friends all over the world. I’m also always reading travel blogs and articles, so a lot of my destination inspiration comes from what I’ve read.
What is your travel style?
I’m picky about who I travel with and where. I like to travel with people who love wandering around, taking photos, and trying new foods. It’s also always nice to travel with people who will cooperate with me taking and asking for A LOT of photos. I’m perfectly happy traveling by myself, but I have people in my life that want to travel with me so I haven’t been on a true solo trip in a while.
As for budget or luxury, I like both! I’ve stayed at my fair share of hostels and I’m not scared of sharing a room with strangers. On the other hand, I’ve been playing the credit card loyalty points game for a few years now and I’ve gained status with some hotel brands to get free stays and upgrades. I’ve also flown first class a few times because of status through credit cards. I love the comfort of luxury travel, but only if I can do it affordably.
(Union Market, Washington. Like I said, not even injury can stop her adventurous spirit)
What was the motivation/idea behind your blog KelseySocial?
I started my blog when I was studying abroad in order to tell friends and family what I was up to. I loved writing travel stories and sharing pictures so much that I never stopped! Since June of 2009, my blog has gone through two name changes and quite a few facelifts!
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-traveling self?
There are so many people in the world outside of your current circle - go meet them! The word “FOMO” hasn’t been created yet, so I’ll tell you… don’t have a fear of missing out on anything! Instead, go create your own adventures. You can pick up where you left off if/when you return. But I warn you, everyone else may be the same but you will not be.
(Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)
Best & Worst travel moment?
I have so many great travel moments that I can’t pick a “best.” But, luckily, I only have one “worst.”
My worst travel moment was from when I was living in Ecuador in 2012 and needed to fly home to get my wisdom teeth removed. One tooth had hit a nerve and was causing a lot of pain and loss of hearing in one ear. I arrived at the airport in Quito six hours early because of the limited bus schedule from my town of Canoa. I found out that my visa was missing a signature so they wouldn't let me leave Ecuador to go to my home country. I waited in the airport for four hours for the man who could sign off on my visa, but he never showed up for work and nobody there would contact him. I made a last-minute decision to take a taxi to a government building to find someone to sign my document. I cut the long line of people, got my visa signed, and made it back to the airport in time. Since boarding for my flight had already started, they wouldn’t let me through security. I lost $500 on this flight when I was only making an Ecuadorian teacher’s wage of $290 a month. I didn’t have the money to pay for a hostel or a new flight. My cell phone had been stolen in Manta a few days earlier and my last time in Quito I was robbed at knifepoint. All of this brought up a lot of emotion so I cried in the airport for a little while before calling my parents for help. My mom helped me get a hotel for the night and a flight the next day. I got home, had the wisdom teeth surgery, (woke up from anesthesia only speaking Spanish), and returned to Ecuador three weeks later. I have since repaid my parents and I while I don’t like to ask for help, I’m so glad I have parents that were able to get me through a tough time.
(Shenandoah National Park)
Top 3 spots on your bucket list?
New Zealand - I’m just dying to go back but I know I want to give myself a significant amount of time there.
Swiss Alps - My travel plans tend to revolve around mountain scenery. I want to explore this incredible mountain range by road trip but specifically the mountains in Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
Columbia - I never had the chance to visit Columbia when I was living in Ecuador. I miss speaking Spanish and I’d love to explore the northern coast of Columbia while eating seafood and dancing salsa.
What’s next for you and the blog?
I’d taken a little hiatus to blogging while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it. Now, you’ll be seeing more posts focused on weekend wanderlust as well as social media tips and tricks for the travel blogger.
Famous Last words for all the wanderers out there...
If you want to go badly enough, just go. You can figure out all the complicated stuff later (money, time, career, relationships, etc.). Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back!
You can find out all the fun adventures that Kelsey gets up to in the New Year on her blog http://www.kelseysocial.com/. And for everything else in between be sure to click over to her social channels by searching @kelseysocial!
Double tap her adventures on Instagram
Send her a friend request on Facebook
Re-tweet her adventures on Twitter