February 24

“Not all who wander are lost…”

The quote used in my post title can be found in one of my favorite novels, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, but it is also an idea that I embrace in my life. I love to wander the world!!! I have been on many travel adventures, and I have many more planned. With this post, I have decided to share some of my experiences with you all.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” –The Lord of the Rings

The first time I was swept off to a far away place, I was 17 years old and way over my head! I was from a small town, and I had only been on a few short road trips, but suddenly, I was off to EUROPE! Not a couple states over, but another continent! With a small group of classmates and a teacher, I was able to tromp all over England and France for ten days, hopping on buses and boats and railways to places I had only seen in books. London! Stonehenge! The beaches of Normandy! The Louvre! Paris! That was it. That was the moment that I became a wanderer.

(And yes, I will be putting in some pictures from that first adventure. You will get to see a VERY young Ms. Howie!)

I wasn’t able to return to Europe again for more than ten years, but I did wander around quite a few new states, from New York to Arizona and the Grand Canyon, and many places in between. But I longed to go further, to see new places. This was especially true in 2011. My dad lost his battle with cancer in January of that year, and when I was given the opportunity to visit Turkey, I knew that the trip would be a way to smile again after a lot of sadness.

Turkey was magical. Because of its location, the country has been a crossroads for Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries, and every building and street is a mix of all of that history and culture. In Istanbul, you can drive under Ancient Roman aqueducts, climb over the ruins of gladiatorial arenas, and shop in the Grand Bazaar, an underground market that dates back to the 1400s! My group also visited the coastal town of Antalya and swam in the bluest water I have ever seen and toured Ephesus, an ancient Roman city, and the small hut that is believed to have been the home of Mary, mother of Jesus, after her son’s crucifixion. In addition to the many new sights I experienced, I ate so much. Soooooooooooooooooooo much. Turkey has some of the tastiest food in the world, and I definitely took full advantage. This trip reinforced my love of travel, and I knew that I would not let another 10 years go by before I had another epic adventure.

(Here, I plan on putting on display some of the yummy foods and beautiful images Turkey shared with me.)

Only two years later, I was off to London for a second visit! One of my closest friends was living there while getting her master’s degree, and I flew over to visit her for almost two weeks! For this visit, I spent most of my time hopping on the Tube and strolling around the town without any place in mind. I wanted to see the whole city of London. I even got to hop a plane to Scotland for three days (Scotland has always been my dream destination, so this was HUGE!) My visit flew by, and as soon as I got on the plane heading home, I knew that I would be coming back for a third visit as soon as I was able.

**Yes. I went Loch Ness. Yes. I have a picture of the Loch Ness Monster. Yes. I will post it. ;D**

Every trip that I have taken has made me more determined to continue my wandering ways. I am currently planning a two-week trip to Scotland for this summer, and I plan to head to New Zealand and Australia for a MONTH-LONG trip next summer. My list of places to visit is long, and getting longer, and I am okay with that. After all, “not all who wander are lost…”

January 25

It’s Time To BLOOOOOOOOOG!!!!!!!!

Hey, my darlings! Are you ready to blog?

We will be off on our big blogging adventure together starting today! You will be writing about your interests for your classmates, and you get to write in (GASP!!!!) informal tone! I can’t wait to see what you choose as your topic (or topics.) Don’t forget to keep it school appropriate, but let your imagination run wild!

Ms. Howie