Hello all, and welcome to "Jolene Goes."
For a while now, friends and acquaintances alike have encouraged me (with quite some enthusiasm) to begin a kind of travel blog. I always found that to be a romanticized notion, with implications of limitless time and wealth. However, over the past few years I've made quite a reputation for myself amongst my peers for traveling and going places.
I grew up with parents who always encouraged me to try new things and go new places. I feel that they themselves transcended a lot of barriers and stereotypes both as individuals and even as a couple. Because I am biracial, I grew up in a household that celebrated diversity, did not see color, and practiced being open-minded and adventurous. Both of my parents exhibited an interested in traveling; my mom traveled a lot when she was younger, and my dad traveled well into his adult years.
In my teens, I joined a synchronized figure skating team once I realized my career as a singles skater wasn't so successful or glamorous anymore. I really enjoyed the team dynamic, and even more than that, I enjoyed the traveling we did. Because the skating season is obviously winter, we traveled between the months of November/December and February. Some time between 2004 and 2006, we went to Boston for a competition and I fell in love for the first time, not with a person, but with a city. I didn't know I could have so much affection toward a location, and it was a new, exciting experience for me. A few years later in 2008, our team went to Europe, and thus began my love affair with Europe.
Of course back then, we didn't have smart phones, social media or so much fancy editing software. I didn't tag all of my locations or search hashtags to see where the hot spots were. I was incredibly wide-eyed and naive; I only knew that I had tasted something that made my soul leap. More recently, I attended a Bible school where I was privileged enough to travel overseas 3 times during my 2-year program. I learned a bit more about traveling, but the trips were already planned (for the most part), so I just soaked everything in when I was actually there.
Once I settled down a bit and started working, I felt that pull at my heartstrings - I wanted to go somewhere. For the first time, I (kind of) had the means, as well as the desire to, well, go. Thus began the first of many trips, both internationally and locally, furthering my sense of wanderlust. Over the span of my trips, I found myself enjoying and even investing more and more into my photos, trip documentation, and planning future trips. I've learned so much, and I am always learning - how to save money, how to avoid tourist traps, how to make the most of a short time in any given place.
I've also learned, mostly, about myself.
Sometimes we become so entangled in our little bubble, so trapped by our day-to-day life, that we really lose sight of the beauty of life. When we are caught in a mundane cycle, sometimes our vision becomes as narrow as our routine. By traveling, I'm not only enjoying seeing the sights, but also expanding my own horizons.
I am by no means an expert nor a professional. I haven't even been to that many places! I just want to share my passion for adventure and maybe help some of you with yours.