I've been asked the following questions by many people:
Q: How long will you be gone, and where are you going?
A: Please see above.
Q: What inspired you to plan this trip?
A: For as long as I can remember, I've loved to explore new places, whether in person or through books or videos. It's likely that I inherited some of my wanderlust from my parents, who are well-traveled and took me along on many adventures (or sent me off on my own). My particular desire to travel around the world originated in high school: I can still recall standing in a bookstore in Palmerston North, New Zealand and flipping through a book on how to plan a year-long trip. This worldwide whirlwind voyage not only fulfils a longtime dream, but will also likely inspire my next adventure.
Q: Are you excited?!?
A: YES! I'm excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to travel around the world. I love to meet new people, experience different cultures and explore new places. I'm blessed to have such supportive family and friends, who have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Thanks, everyone!
Q: Are you nervous?
A: Yes. Leaving my family, my friends, my home and my job and taking off with only a backpack is more than a little stressful. Meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and exploring new places can at times be scary, or lonely, or both. But, I have amazing memories from every trip I've taken, and I try to remember that even the not-so-fun times (hitchhiking in the middle of Mali, plane engine blowing out on the way to London, tent flying away on the Lost Coast) tend to make great stories.
Q: What has been your favorite country to visit?
A: I have a deep attachment to New Zealand, which is not only spectacularly beautiful, but also has a staggering array of candy and ice cream to satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth. Other favorites (cities, countries and/or regions) include: Thailand, Paris, Slovenia, Prague, Halstatt (Austria), Hong Kong, Sydney, Victoria (British Columbia), and New York. I'm also partial to the beautiful Northern California coast. Ask me again a year from now!
Q: What are you most excited to see?
A: It's funny, the two sights I've wanted to see for the longest time - the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall - are straight out of Sesame Street movies I saw as a child: Don't Eat the Pictures and Big Bird in China. More than 20 years later, I am following in Big Bird's footsteps.
Q: Where have you been previously?
A: This map will give you a rough idea of where I've traveled before: