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  • Writer's pictureStephanie West

Travel Influencing?

Updated: Jan 6

Ok seriously, I didn't know this was a thing until recently. Why would I do it? If you read the last blog post then you would understand I have words I live by, brilliant, bold, beautiful, and empowered life. In 2015 when I was assessing what actions in my life made me feel close to that lifestyle I defined previously, one of the biggest was traveling!

EPCOT Park Walt Disney World
Spaceship Earth 2022

Beyond the parks.

Yes, there is no doubt I love Disney parks and have a big love for Universal Studios, especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I have traveled far beyond the theme parks of the United States.

World Travel

My first travel experiences were in the form of road trips around the united states and British Columbia. At the age of 16, I had my first experience traveling internationally when I went on a school-based trip to France. It was that trip that had me in awe of the larger world around me. The structures held more beauty in their details and more stories than I ever knew. I fell in love with the stunning cliff-side community of Eze in southeastern France. I have not been back since, but it is very high on my list! I went back to Paris in 2017 and expanded my exploration of France by stepping my feet upon the sands of Normandy battlefields and beaches. This was humbling, to say the least.

I also traveled as an active military member of the United States Navy. Wow, now that was something. I certainly saw things I had not before and have not seen since. Nonetheless, this was a huge eye-opener to the world and my place in it. I visited Dubai, Bahrain, and traveled through the Suez Canal, to Rhodes Greece, then to Rota Spain. I appreciate my education from this time in my life perhaps more than any other.

These are great examples of what wanderlust can do for us, but how does this fit into my "brilliant, bold, and beautifully empowered life"? Traveling is such an education. For Americans, it pulls us far outside of our comfort zone when we visit a country whose language is not primarily English. We experience traditions, cultures, languages, cuisines, and sites that fill us with life because we can live vicariously through theirs in these moments.

For those seeking an international adventure but feel a bit apprehensive, here are my top tips:

  • #1 - GET AN AGENT Look I know many people may be thinking, " I don't want to pay someone what I can do myself." Here's the thing, these people are trained and have access to information before most of us do. Furthermore, if something happens during your trip, regardless of location, it's SO much easier to get someone to fix it for you than try to troubleshoot it yourself when you are stressed.

  • #2 - Go for an all-inclusive-style vacation. This means that everything, transportation, meals, etc., are all included in your reservation and you can focus on what souvenirs you will purchase versus how to get from one place to another.

  • #3 - Stop and get an agent. I know, I already said this but here me out, again. It takes hours and hours to research, plan, book, and get every detail of a trip set up. Why not let someone else who knows more about it do it more efficiently. You can always ask them as many questions as you like and guess what? They are usually compensated by the company you are traveling with. In fact, I learned from my preferred agent that this compensation is usually built-in and either goes back to that company's sales department or to a business owner. Personally, I prefer to #supportsmallbusiness and take some tasks off of my busy, work-filled, mom-life crazy world.

  • #4 - Try visiting our neighbors. Take a trip to Toronto or to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. This can feel miles less daunting when we think we are just a border crossing away.

  • #5 - Consider a cruise. I learned from my agent that the cruise industry is one of the cleanest and is far more sustainable than most any form of travel. Many of them include meals and entertainment while alcohol, specialized activities, and excursions are usually an extra cost. This means you can customize your experience while maintaining the budget you wish.

  • #6 - Get your passport now. Even if you are not certain when you will travel, having this document is a powerful piece of identification.

I know it is not always easy to travel and right now things can feel crazier than ever due to COVID policies and international goings-on. The point is to find something that works for you. The point is to enjoy your life and live it brilliantly, boldly, and beautifully empowered.

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