I’m traveling! And writing! Right, so, that actually wasn’t much of a surprise.
Proclaiming it feels a little different this time, though. I’ve always inexplicably understood that I need to write, and I need to see the world – discover new places, taste new foods, watch Turkey disappear from the tenuous confines of a hot air balloon, and earn my Diver’s License in Thailand. These dreams have guided my decisions my whole life, beginning in Bordeaux, 2008. Even then, I remember telling my friends about my abstract goal of becoming a travel writer.
On the flight back from London in 2011, I sat next to an actual travel writer. He guzzled three half-bottles of red wine, and, with stained lips and erratic gestures, described his treks through South Africa and Indonesia.
He repulsed and intrigued me, and he may have been full of shit, but I found his stories captivating. I wanted to take his unusual career path and mold it into my own life. Since then, it’s taken a long time for me to make some progress towards becoming a bit more like my airplane companion (though hopefully not just like him – one bottle is enough). After leaving Paris, I felt more motivated than ever before to create something substantial and useful out of this blog, so I’ve spent hours upon hours building the platform, saving money, and attempting to create my own career path moving forward.
I have a long way to go, but finally, after a year, I feel like the hard work is paying off.
Alors, new adventures? They’re happening. In case you’ve just been dying to know…here’s what I have planned for the next, oh, couple years of my life.
1. Ottawa Take Two
Some of you may remember my previous trip to the Canadian capital last October. I visited my best friend for a much needed girl’s getaway weekend without any expectations. I didn’t expect to adore Ottawa as much as I did!
So just next week, I will jet off towards the northern land once more, and I can’t wait! There will be wine. There will be beaver tails. And there will be French. I honestly couldn’t ask for more.
Be sure to follow along on Instagram @bonvoyagealex for the #OttawaTakeTwo adventures!
2. Los Cabos, Mexico
I somehow found myself working at a hospital a couple summers ago and co-wrote a research paper on melanoma (mildly random, I’m aware). As such, I am the first person to petition for ample amounts of sunscreen. But…I’m pale. Exceptionally pale. And all I want more than anything right now is to lounge in the sunshine. Swimsuits…sunlight…sand…salty winds…despite all my frigid European traveling (really, Scotland?), I can be the best beach bum if given the opportunity.
My cousin is getting married in Mexico in just a few weeks, so I will finally have the chance to swim in the ocean again!
In preparation, I’ve been taking “Spanish lessons,” or eating guacamole and watching Spanish soap operas every week.
Pictures and posts to come!
I’m not sure this counts given that I live in Milwaukee, but for the first time, I will be exploring Chicago as a tourist. I’ll have a Scottish visitor in June, and have promised a complete tour of the city. Given my expat tendencies, you can’t exactly call me patriotic, so I’ve struggled to fill up an agenda, but I’m pretty psyched about what I’ve (somewhat) planned. Second City shows, deep dish pizza, the Sears Tower, baseball games – we will be embarrassingly American.
Also, I turn 23 around this time, so you can expect another not-even-quarter-life-yet-crisis coming up in about a month. (I’m not kidding. My friends say I have a lot of feelings).
I can’t quite describe how grateful I feel for my upcoming move to London. That lively city seduced me four years ago, and I immediately knew I needed to live there someday.
This past January, I finally found my ticket: grad school. At the end of August, I will move to London to work on my Masters in Creative Non-Fiction Writing, a program I actually discovered via travel blogger This Battered Suitcase.
I’ve been describing my application to grad school as a bit of a whim. To be fair, I did make the decision while hopped up on painkillers in the hospital one night, just hours after having my appendix removed. Truthfully though, the decision, or non-decision, has been brewing in my mind for years. I think a part of me always knew I’d study in London, it just took some time to get there. And I can’t wait to get started!
While living in London, I’ll be traveling all over the English countryside. Of course, I’ll have to stop in literary places – Emily Bronte’s home? Yes please. Would you expect anything else from a book-loving traveler?
But I also have plans to visit new countries. Jordan, Greece, Romania – we’ll see where I end up.
And, bien sûr, I will finally return to Paris.
My French cravings have returned in full force, (inspired somewhat by Kate Mosse’s book Sepulchre), and I can assure you that Paris will be one of the first trips I’ll take once settled in London.
As you can see by my excessive use of exclamation points, I’m quite excited about these future trips.