March 31, 2012 Breezy

How The Journey Began

breezy paris

Self-portrait on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

When I was little the only thing I enjoyed reading were National Geographic and Ranger Rick magazines, Jacques Cousteau books, and almanacs. I’d dream of exploring the world and documenting my adventures. I’ve worked towards that goal tirelessly, becoming a freelance photographer/videographer to have the ability to travel and take assignments that fulfill my dream.

Apart from a few family trips to Ohio, I didn’t really do much traveling until I turned 21. It was then that I fulfilled a lifelong dream of touring Europe, and the “travel bug” got me for good. It was a whirlwind six country tour from London to Rome spanning two weeks (UK, France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City). Afterwards I realized I had to find a way to travel more often; no matter what I had to do to achieve that goal. Traveling was too important to me to put aside as a once-a-year or retirement luxury.

Amsterdam Flevo Festival

In front of a crowd of 15,000 at a festival in the Netherlands.

Just two months after my first trip overseas, I got the opportunity to go back to Europe – on tour with a band I was working for. We played two festivals: one near Amsterdam, and one near Frankfurt. I got to explore a little bit of each city on my time off. Even though I was traveling for work, my appetite for travel was only growing – a few hours in Amsterdam wasn’t enough!

After that my next adventure came when I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on a company retreat with the record label I worked for in Nashville.

Cabo San Lucas Arch Lands End

Arch at Land’s End in Cabo, Mexico

We took a boat out to the arch at “Land’s End” and I surfed at a reef break (my first time surfing in the Pacific) called Zippers while my co-workers took bets on if they’d be taking me to the hospital or not. I survived intact and even caught a few great waves!

Going freelance & a year of non-stop travel…

The following year, in March 2010, I decided to quit my job, move to Los Angeles, and go freelance so that I could travel even more. I traveled to Los Angeles for the first time in March 2010 to scout out where to live and to purchase a car. I then drove my newly purchased Prius on my first cross-country roadtrip back to Nashville with my friend J, which was an extremely eye-opening trip, because I realized how much I loved roadtrips! We visited the Grand Canyon, skied in Colorado and pulled up beside the St. Louis arch in the middle of the night after a 16 hour stretch of driving.

Riding in the luggage rack on top of a bus in Haiti

Riding in the luggage rack on top of a bus in Haiti

In April of that year I traveled to Haiti on an aid/volunteer trip just a few months after the devastating earthquake that destroyed the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

A few weeks after that I officially moved to Los Angeles and drove across the country yet again. Then my friend Liz moved out to LA a few months after me, but decided it wasn’t for her and asked me to drive with her on her move back to Nashville, marking my third cross-country trip in just a few months time.

As if three cross-country road trips, a trip to L.A., a trip to Haiti and a move across the country wasn’t enough, I went on a whirlwind adventure to the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida, Costa Rica, Washington D.C., Buffalo and Seattle in the month of September thanks to jetBlue’s insane “All You Can Jet” promotion (which was an unlimited airfare pass for one month for only $499). I did all of that travel for under $1,000 – including the airfare, lodging, and food.

At the end of 2010 I had planned to “move” to London with my friend Lauren-Michelle, an American friend who was living in Ireland at the time and needed a roommate for a month in London. On December 28th, 2010 I flew to London to live there for a month to see if I could live there permanently and get a job. I didn’t get a job, or a visa, so I had to go back to America when the month was up. I made some incredible lifelong friends during that time though.

Africa

Africa clean water well

Pumping water at the well we had just drilled in the village of Gbentchal, Togo.

In February 2011, after returning from London, I began talking to the same crew I want to Haiti with the year before about going to sub-saharan Africa. Vacations are great and all, but there’s really nothing like a volunteer trip to a third-world country. All the other travel I had done before couldn’t prepare me for what this trip ended up being. In August, 2011 I traveled from Nashville to Accra, Ghana then on to Lome, Togo only to travel 14 more hours over 2 days to get to one of the most remote villages in the world on the edge of the Sahara desert in the northern most region of Togo on the border of Burkina Faso. Once there, I witnessed the opening of the first well in a forgotten tribal village. The following year, I got to return and see a school being built, and the progress the village had made in a year; not to mention experiencing insane thunderstorms in a tent, seeing black mambas, our van getting stuck in a river, meeting shamans, tribal chiefs and kids who had never seen a white person before.

That’s how the journey began, and it’s going to continue throughout my life to some of the most amazing places on earth. If you want to see where I am now or read up about more of my adventures, you’ll have to read the rest of the blog and please stay tuned for more adventuring to come 🙂

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