When I was young, I wanted to be a blueberry farmer when I grew up. Due to a tragic event, those dreams transitioned into a desire to be a veterinarian. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school, when I was a foreign exchange student for seven months in Austria, that the plan changed again-this time for good. The experiences that I had altered my life and significantly influenced my future; I truly believe that all young adults should live abroad for some period of time. My body may have returned to Oklahoma (my dad is military; I’m originally from Texas), but the rest of me stayed in Europe, and my heart continued to travel the world…since then it’s just been waiting for the rest of me to catch up. At FSU, I studied International Business in the hopes of landing a job that would allow me to travel after graduation. In May 2009, I eagerly walked across the stage and into the real world; I’ve been discouraged ever since. Don’t get me wrong, for the past couple of years I’ve had a great job-by society’s standards- at an International Freight Forwarding company in Miami. I even got to take a solo last minute business trip to Cartagena last year, which gave me an entire weekend to explore. But that’s the problem: once wanderlust gets under your skin, it never leaves and short bursts of feeling travel-alive only seem to make it worse. So I complained. I wrote about my discontent, I schemed a way to produce my own show for the Travel Channel, I whined to my best friend so many times that she finally refused to listen any more insisting that I “Stop talking about it and do something!!”
One day, a search for one thing led me to an answer for another. Funny how life works that way. The search was for a Greek yogurt popsicle, and the answer that I found was a RTW ticket. As soon as the knowledge of its existence infiltrated my life, I knew what I had to do. That was the end of June 2011, just a couple of days before my 24th birthday. Every day since has been spent planning, dreaming, and yes: finally doing something. 🙂
On March 14th, 2012, I will spend my last afternoon on U.S. soil before departing for my first stop: Auckland, New Zealand, where I will spend ten days. From there, my itinerary is as follows:
I booked my entire trip (including traveler’s insurance) through STA Travel. They offer incredible rates as well as unbeatable customer service. If you’re planning a big trip, especially if you’ll be under 26 for the duration of your travels, I highly recommend them.
When I first decided to take this trip, I didn’t really know where I wanted to go and what I wanted the purpose to be. I could’ve happily made this all about travel for travel’s sake, but I really wanted there to be a more substantial motive. Sometime a few months after the RTW ticket discovery, I came across the U.S. Sommelier Association website and noticed that they were holding a six-week certification course in Miami. My time in Europe, combined with the fact that my parents have lived in Northern California for the past 3 years, had turned my like for wine into love, but I never considered taking it further than casual consumption. That changed as soon as I signed up for the Sommelier Certification course, which I succesfully completed a couple of months ago.What I learned besides how to taste professionally and specific varietal information is that wine is unbelievably fascinating. It contains almost all aspects of life: science, history, passion, lore, geography, superstition, art, obsession, patience, dedication, tradition, business and knowledge.
Whatever you are looking for, whichever subject interests you, I believe you can find something that pertains to it in wine. Every day I am around wine or “wine people”, I discover something that reiterates my interest and reconfirms my decision to make this tasty liquid, and the process of how it arrives in my glass, the initiative of my trip. The countries (with the exceptions of Thailand, UAE and Peru) were all chosen because they are major wine producing regions—found between 30º and 50º on either hemisphere. I also coordinated the times that I will be in each location to their specific harvest period, which is when I feel that I will be of most use and exposed to arguably the most important aspect of winemaking. Other than that, my plan is to explore, to become integrated into the fascinating cultures, and to enjoy feeling alive and inspired every single day.
Whether you have advice/suggestions pertaining to wine or wineries along my path, have a question, or just want to chat, I’d love to hear from you! You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.