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A Child’s Curiosity of the World

Guess what just came in the mail at my work????

Bella’s suitcase! Not just any suitcase…oh no….a BATMAN suitcase!

potterybarn suitcases
IT CAME! SUCCESS!!

I was just as excited when Gia’s Hello Kitty suitcase arrived a couple weeks ago. Bright Pink. Hard Shell. And on wheels. I think I may have rubbed off a little on Wayne’s two daughters. I am not sure when or how, but they have my extreme love of travel at 4 and 5 years old. Luckily they don’t read yet so I can tell you that Santa Claus has

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Chicago
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Cadillac Theatre Chicago

gotten them suitcases, embroidered toiletry bags with their names, travel stamps, stickers, pretend passports to stamp, travel coloring books, and I am thinking that luggage tags are in their near future! I never thought I would find Bella’s request of a Batman one, but thanks to Potterybarn kids…success!!!

In the time that I have known them, I have been to Japan, Ireland, and Ecuador. Their great-grandma took a trip to England and Scotland. Their aunt went to live in Abu Dhabi for a little while. This has all probably been a great influence. Gia says she wants to live in China and Bella always says something slightly different. I am so proud of their curiosity of the world and how much they want to learn about it. I was already planning on buying them

Family in Chicago
Family in Chicago

suitcases, especially for when they come to visit us in Chicago, but then we went to a store and they saw suitcases and have been obsessed with them. They are now saying all they want for Christmas is this dog toy thing and suitcases. I cannot wait to give them to the girls!

Annabella the Traveler
Annabella the Traveler

Their excitement makes ME so excited as well! I love to teach them about new places and showing them pictures of all the places I have been to. I cannot believe how much they are showing a passion and curiosity for it at so young of an age. It makes me feel so special to be a part of their growing up in this way. I even signed them up for Little Passports, which is so much fun and valuable to their education about the world!

The Mysterious “Round the World Ticket”

In 2008 I moved to Colorado. I will not admit that I moved for love. Some may say that I am kidding myself then. The truth is, when I graduated college I moved in with my mom in Chicago and it felt very anti-climatic. I was itching to travel or move and to do something interesting and spontaneous. Then in May of 2008, I met Byron on a

Colorado Living Westminster
When Jacqueline came to visit me in Colorado

graduation trip to Mexico, and he was from Longmont, Colorado. We were instantly drawn to each other. Always on the phone. Texting too. He visited me and I him. It felt like it was fate to see where that relationship might go, and I was still itching to find some new adventure. So I planned and saved and planned some more and moved to Colorado (about 25 miles from Longmont). My heart was broken a week later when we broke up and I was having an extremely rough time. He was my very first love and one of my best friends. It was a bad break up to say the least. I stayed in Colorado through 2011 with the help of his friends and family

First love
Byron and I with friends when he came to visit me in Chicago

(funny enough), and with the help of my mom who brought me home for a summer.

While living in Boulder in 2010, I was browsing around online travel sites to try and help in distracting from the sadness and a friend of mine from Chicago was talking to me on Facebook. He asked me if I had heard of gapyear.com. I hadn’t. This was where it all started. Gapyear.com was the starting point of my research. I went onto gapyear immediately and for the first time ever, I read about the famed “Round the World” Ticket. It was that moment, that I set my mind to go do it. I read all over gapyear.com. I went onto several other search engines. I browsed

Brisbane travel
Brisbane

around on airline sites for the “Multiple Cities” ticket. I finally checked STA Travel (which I was familiar with from studying abroad in Canterbury, England). I emailed and received a response from an extremely wonderful and helpful representative named Peter. He gave me advice and threw some rates at me. I used the information from Peter and compared other prices I found. I settled on what Peter had offered and I was able to purchase through them as I was on the “Youth Pass” (under 26).  I bought my ticket to San Diego/Sydney/Melbourne/Malaysia/Cairo/London in May of 2010 and left January 22, 2011.

Sydney Ferry Ride
Sydney, Australia Early in the morning on a Ferry

As for the “Round the World” ticket that people speak of with unlimited dates, times, and destinations, I have yet to fully find out all about it and any companies that sell them for a reasonable amount. Go ahead and type in “Round the World Ticket” into Google and see what comes up if you would like to start your

Malawi children
Teaching highfives to the Malawi kids

adventure. It does sound too good to be true, but I know it exists out there. As far as I know, gapyear.com, STA Travel, and some airlines have something similar to the idea of an “Round the World” Ticket. I will update you if I find out more of this golden magical ticket!

Turn a New Page of the Passport

Do you ever find yourself just staring at your passport? It’s not like it’s an award winning novel or anything, but do you ever find yourself flipping through the pages and staring at

On the ferry to go Shipwreck Diving in Australia
On the ferry to go Shipwreck Diving in Australia

each stamp so carefully it is almost as if you’re trying to memorize every line? I could be the only one, but there is something about my passport that I become mesmerized by. I am not looking at each stamp and thinking to myself “Hmm…what do I remember about that

Looking over Brisbane
Looking over Brisbane

place?” or purposely trying to pull a specific memory out of my stock in my head for that place. I just catch myself getting lost in it and really, really loving the amount of stamps I have collected.

I am preparing to go to Ecuador to visit my cousin Danielle in September. When I got the confirmation for my tickets, I happened to glance through the rules and restrictions/handy tips from the booking agency. Then, it caught my eye right away.

“Make sure your passport does not expire up to 6 months after coming back to the U.S. from overseas.”

Who would’ve thought that you would need to a passport renewal prior to it being expired??? What’s the point of having an expiration date then, right? I was totally crushed. This was to be my passport’s final journey. I still have 2 pages with no ink on the them! I have had this passport since 2004….horrendous picture and all. I am not sure if I really appreciate how picture depicts me out to be, but I love the passport all the same.

When flipping through it, I have every stamp from my travels when I was studying in England with my great friend, Elise….my visa’s to enter Ghana and Ethiopia when I joined

Elise and I traveling in Prague
Elise and I traveling in Prague

my mom on a “Round the World” business trip where I discovered what I would really love to do….Mexico where I met my first love, Byron…..my Australia stamps from my self adventure of my own “Round the World’ trip on my own….and the Immigration Permission in Toyko with my greatest friend, my boo, and life partner Wayne. Each stamp marks such a crucial moment in my life as it has ridden out. These significant events that make me the exact person I am in presently today. It breaks my heart that I have to say good-bye to this passport….it’s like an old friend.

Skiing in Hakuba, Japan with my favorite guy
Skiing in Hakuba, Japan with my favorite guy

I know the next ten years on my new passport will be filled with many more moments and adventures with Wayne and a new family, and hopefully with business as well! (fingers  crossed) But sometimes it is hard to let go….and sometimes it is ok to admit that it is hard entering into the next chapter.

Goodbye Passport. It's been an amazing 10 years
Goodbye Passport. It’s been an amazing 10 years

The new passport is a clean slate and I can load it up as best I can with each new place, but for now (still have a few more world wonders to get to)….I still love to graze through my almost perfect, not expired, stamped up, passport.