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 or travelling and the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? The whole travel life. The coming and going frequently, the moving towns often and regularly. The face that we will rarely if ever 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 passion and understanding I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them. I find myself drawn to these sorts of people even if I've never even met them in real life, enter Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The whole wide World of blogging has given me the opportunity to (virtually) meet people I would never have if it wasn't for this passion project I have.
Which brings me to sharing October's WanderWomanWednesday! Sam from Samantha's Suitcase is an American who fell in love with a Canadian (we're pretty loveable if I do say so myself) who now call Nashville home! I can't remember when it was I first started following her, but can tell you that I always love reading her funny captions, seeing her incredible photos & watching her stories. From Paris to Belize, living and working in Japan to even Canada's own east coast, Sam is always up for an adventure, always happy to share tips and budget friendly recommendations all the while creating fantastically named presets to use too. Keep on scrolling to find out more about Sam!
Alright girl, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
Hi! I’m Sam and I’m from a tiny town in the middle of West Virginia. I live in Nashville now! Growing up I always wanted to get out of my town and travel, so that’s what I did. I met my Canadian husband in college and we got married then moved straight to Canada. While there we both needed a huge change so we up and moved to Japan to teach english in 2010. We ended up staying there for a year and then South Korea for another almost three! We traveled any chance we could while living overseas and now that we are back in the US with a mortgage, we still make travel a priority in our lives. Now I want to inspire and give practical advice to people who think traveling is out of their budget, when it doesn’t have to be!
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually not too shabby as an artist! Painting specifically. I don’t do it much anymore, but I've been wanting to dive back in because I know I can. Also, I don’t look like a sporty person, and I'm not really as in like playing sports (no way), but I love West Virginia University football and basketball.
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
Yesss! I always knew there was more than the very small town I grew up in and I wanted to get out there and see it. As with most small towns, most people don’t really leave. I love that town and it will always be home, but I saw my life way differently than most people there. So as soon as we had that chance to move to Japan, we took it.
How do you decide where to travel to?
Truthfully, flight prices dictate where we go a lot of the time. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $700 for an international flight (and that was to Asia this past spring, anywhere else I try and stay below $500) and $300 is the absolute max I'll go for a domestic one if I can help it. Because I just like traveling anywhere and everywhere and most places on earth are on my list, it doesn’t really matter where we go as long as the deal is good. There are some major bucket list places I want to hit that I know I'll have to fork out the cash to get there, but I figure I'll get there eventually and in the meantime, I'll keep chasing those deals and go wherever they take us!
What is your travel style?
Chill? We never ever check bags; carryon travellers only over here. I’ve mastered capsule packing! I do plenty of Insta and Pinterest research before we go somewhere, but typically don’t plan to where we have an itinerary. Just a rough list of places I want to see then we usually just fly by the seat of our pants day by day.
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
These will be those places that I'll have to fork over the cash to get to, haha! Anywhere in the South Pacific really (Cook Islands omg!), southeastern Africa (Tanzania/Zanzibar, Mozambique, Zambia...) and Greenland.
You recently left your job, what prompted that big life change and how do you see yourself moving forward job wise?
I was an international student advisor with an ESL school for 4 ½ years and I loved that job and the students. We had a change in management and it just wasn’t working out anymore and I became increasingly unhappy, to the point where it was affecting me physically with anxiety. I knew it was time to remove myself and focus on things that truly made me happy. Right now I’m working on some brand deals and working my way into social media management, however that won’t pay the bills for a long time. I’m still looking for work within the international student space because I do love the students so much. Fingers crossed!
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
That all the daydreaming will pay off!
Best & worst travel moment?
One of the best would have to be our trip to Morocco. I actually wrote a whole blog on how much I hate Marrakech, but do I ever love Morocco as a country itself, specifically our adventure out to the Sahara. It’s about a 12 hour drive through the most insane landscape and then bam, you’re in the freaking Sahara Desert. We spent the night in the dunes and then woke up to watch the sun rise over them. The Berber men built a fire and we were wrapped up in blankets watching the dunes change colours as the sun rose and it was a truly beautiful, legit cool moment.
We are lucky to not have too many bad moments, but there was one instance I thought for sure we were going to get murdered. We were in Langkawi, Malaysia and needed to get ferry tickets over to Koh Lipe, Thailand (our favourite island, I swear that place is amazing!). We went to get them that morning and the lady told us we needed to wait on the side of the road at a specific place and people would pick us up and take us to the ferry port. Kinda weird but ok. So, we did and these people were late and when they finally arrived it was two men in a beat up old car that didn’t speak any english so, although wary, we hopped in. Evidently, that morning, the ferry company had changed ports but didn’t tell any of the passengers, so there we were in the backseat of this car with two guys in the front taking us in a direction that wasn’t to the port where we thought we were going and I'm all like tearing up thinking we were about to be sacrificed in some tourist killing ritual. Obviously, I'm not dead and we got to the port, but even once we were there it was so much chaos because of the port change. We were taken to a coffee shop and met some person with a laptop asking to keep our passports. It was all very sketchy and to a tourist, terrifying. But it all worked out and we made it to Koh Lipe in one piece and everything was fine!
What’s next for you/the blog?
Now that I have the time since I’m not working a normal people job, I'm trying to give the blog more attention. I love, love writing (english major here), so in the next few weeks I'd like to pump out some posts and learn a bit more about SEO. I’m mostly just working on side hustles like collaborations, social media management and my new preset pack...all while applying to those real people jobs 😊
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so how has it changed?
Yes, and not always for the best. It’s hard to argue with the good parts, like towns that have grown economically because of the exposure is awesome. But now people travel just to get THE SHOT and the likes that come along with it and who cares about the rest. Do I wake up early to shoot the good locations and try and get the good shot when we go places? Sure. But I’m also a traveler deep down in my soul. I don’t travel for the attention. I travel because I want to immerse myself in the place I am visiting. My husband and I travel the same way we did before social media, we just have a better camera now.
Famous Last words for all the wanderers out there...
Go, for heaven’s sake just go! It’s not even close to as expensive as you think it will be!
To keep up with all of Sam's Worldly adventures be sure to give her a follow on Insta, save some wanderlust inspiring pins on Pinterest and read all about her travels on the blog! Click on the links below for more!
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