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.
With social media engagement at an all time high these days I find myself interacting with like minded people through Instagram, Facebook Groups & even on twitter. Which brings me to my post for today! A few months back I connected with someone on a Facebook group who was asking about life in Auckland, NZ & I immediately wanted to share my tips & favourite places with her. We bonded over the fact that I had, and she was living in NZ & from there we became Facebook friends & shared travel stories. Susannah is more positive than most people online these days, and even though we have never met in real life I always get a smile on my face when I see her posts. She’s recently left NZ with her boyfriend & has been exploring the hell out of Europe this summer, so I figured who better to get some Eurotrip advice from than the girl who has been jet setting since she landed in England earlier this summer.
Everyone meet Susie...
Having just recent returned from Greece (sighing with jealousy over here) I got the chance to (virtually) sit down & chat to Susie about what makes her, well her!
Alright girl, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
Where do I begin? My name is Susannah and I have loved to travel since I was a little girl. I grew up in Upstate New York and got my MA at WVU in Secondary Education. I'm a proud Mountaineer and Delta Gamma alum. After grad school I decided I wanted more than diving into a classroom in the states so I applied to teach English abroad in Thailand. I fell in love with traveling and teaching ESL but I learned the hard way that your health can take the backseat while traveling so when I moved back to the states I started as an online health and fitness coach and took control of my own health while spreading that passion to others. Since 2013 I moved abroad again to Australia on a working holiday visa- met my ever so charming English boyfriend and then moved to New Zealand with him when our visa extension didn’t work out down under. That brings us to our current travels which don’t really have an end destination but have brought us all around the U.S. and Europe this summer. We are currently in England seeing where in the World our ships sails off to next...
(Sa-nguanying School, Suphanburi, Thailand)
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
Well with a blog and a social media business it’s hard to keep anything secret about your life...but I would say a lot of people wouldn’t know about my love for Dave Matthews Band. I’ve been to 16 of his concerts. Since living abroad for the past 4 years my concert going has dramatically slowed down but if he came to any of the places I lived I would buy a ticket in an instant. I am in love with his music, their live performances, the vibes at the concert and his songs got me through a very difficult time period in my life during high school.
Did you always want to travel/what made you start travelling?
My parents were both teachers growing up so they had the summers off. Luckily, they both are very passionate about travel so they instilled a love to explore in me at a very young age. Even if we didn’t go on huge vacations every summer-- my mom taught us to be adventurers in our local surroundings going on hikes, visiting the finger lakes or exploring nearby towns. They took me to Paris when I was 16 and that really sparked my love for Europe and international travel.
There are very few Americans these days (in my experience) that are out there travelling as much as you. Why do you think that is?
I think that Americans don’t value travel as much other cultures. I luckily have met a lot of American friends that do have a passion for travel but only because I actively seek them. As a whole, I believe our society has engrained in all of us that working is the number one priority after you graduate from college and get a good education. Living abroad and making friends from around the world I realized this is much different other places. Different cultures encourage travel and celebrate it for what an eye-opening experience it is. In many European cultures it is completely normal to have a “gap year” between high school and college where the young person travels the world to find out more about themselves and what they want from life. I think since America is such diverse and prosperous country a lot of people don’t feel the “need” to explore outside our country lines but I think they are gravely mistaken. Traveling is always worth it to me, any expense, sacrifice, precious time off from a career-- nothing is more satisfying and awe inspiring then setting out across the world to experience something new.
(Koh Lanta, Thailand)
How do you decide where to travel to?
Honestly, I chose Thailand with my friend Jackie in a very random fashion. We wanted to teach in Spain but in 2013 at the time we were applying the economy was awful. We found an awesome teach abroad program to go through (CIEE.. highly recommend them if you are looking to teach abroad) and we looked through the countries they offered. Thailand looked magical, it was a low cost of living, teachers were highly respected and basically we just took a chance. From there we explored all over South East Asia and Australia because of proximity to where we were living. When I visited Australia I knew I had to live there. After that, it’s all been a matter of researching, meeting people, reading blogs, taking advice and literally just choosing a place and booking it. Ask lots of questions! Reach out to people. People are more than willing to help. Hey, it’s how we met! And you gave me awesome advice and now we have a friendship out of it!
Before you got together with Harry had you traveled with a partner before? How has it changed your travel style?
As I mentioned before, I moved to Thailand with a close friend from WVU, Jackie. We made a close group of teacher friends there and all traveled together on the weekends and school holidays. It was nice to have a friend on my first experience living abroad. Later I moved to Australia on my own. 2 backpacks and a dream. No job and no place to live. I literally didn’t know a soul. But I loved every second of it. Luckily, while I was there, I met a guy that loves to travel as much as I do. Since we built our whole relationship while abroad, it made us grow close very quickly. We have experienced more in 2 years of our relationship than most people have in a lifetime. Traveling with someone brings out everything, the good, the bad and the ugly-- but luckily for the most part we are very in sync about our traveling style and we have worked really well as a team.
(Jervis Bay, Australia)
You have a blog- what was the motivation/idea behind it?
I started my blog a month before I moved to Thailand in order to keep in touch with friends and family and let them know what was happening on my adventures. Time zones, opposite work schedules and spotty wifi makes it really hard to maintain close relationships-- at least the kind where you can chat all the time so I thought a blog was the perfect way to stay connected. I ended up falling in love with expressing myself and have grown so much in the past 4 years right in front of my blog’s audience. I am so happy with my blog and despite the fact that I do it solely for fun-- it is my biggest passion project and the thing I am most proud of.
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
Go your own way and keep listening to your gut. Half the battle is just doing it, you will figure the rest out on the way.
(Chaing Mai, Thailand)
What’s next for you/the blog?
Great question!! I would love to know myself… if you figure it out let me know. Kidding, but really I have no idea. My boyfriend and I are currently in England on a “staycation” and hoping to relocate here. Visas are a nightmare so it may be a longer process than I hope. As for the blog, I continue to create content that is true to my passion and my life. I wouldn’t consider myself solely a “travel blog” I write about a lot of things related to healthy living, mental health, relationships, and overall lifestyle. I hope to get better with actually using my blog for a profit because I know I have a lot of good content that I don’t necessarily “market.” My number one concern has always been the content of the pieces and I skipped over the SEO lessons. Writing is my deepest passion and I have wanted to be a writer since I was a child. I hope to continue to make my seven year old self proud and write with a creative and fearless attitude .
(Cheddar Gorge, England)
Famous Last words for all the wanderers out there...
You can travel the whole world and not experience an inch of it. Breathe it in. Get your hair wet. Eat the street food. Fall in love. Don’t go in hopes of seeing or finding- go and breathe it in.
Don't miss out & be sure to follow Susie's journey as it leads her to the most unsuspecting & amazing of places!
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