We all have a story to tell. It’s what, as humans, makes us unique and beautiful. It’s these stories that are worth sharing – stories that spark interest. Stories that we can empathize with. Stories that inspire us to see new places, try new things, and be better people.
For me, I feel most energized and inspired when I travel. Whether it’s just a short jaunt across the Sound to visit the Olympic Peninsula or a long plane ride to the far reaches of the globe. Each place I go, there is always a moment where I think to myself – I can’t believe I’m here. These brief flashes in time – something I’ve dubbed as “snapshot moments” – are things that have left an indelible mark my soul, moments that are now part of my very fabric.
One of my earliest memories was when my mom took me, my sister, and my brother to Disneyland for the very first time – no small feat for a single momma. We were very much on a budget, but it felt like absolute luxury to me staying at a Howard Johnson hotel just outside of the park. After a long first day of hitting as many rides as we could and watching the Main Street Electrical Parade, we all piled back in the trolley to go back to the hotel and swim for a while before bed. My snapshot moment from that trip was being outside after the sun went down and it was still warm outside – such a weirdly wonderful feeling for a girl from Washington State. To this day, when I feel a warm breeze after the sun sets, it brings me back to that very moment swimming in the HoJo pool. Just a few short months ago, I was in South Carolina visiting some family. I insisted on sitting outside, even in the humidity, because to me, it feels like a vacation just like all those years ago in Anaheim.
As soon as I turned 16, I got my first job working at Toys R Us. Since I was pretty much a big kid, myself, it suited me perfectly. I saved my paychecks for the next year to pay for my own trip as an exchange student to France. It was first my international trip, and I was equal parts nervous and excited. Yes, I had taken French for a few years but was far from fluent. I loved my time in Paris, La Rochelle, Nante, and Normandy. I saw the iconic Tour Eiffel, L’Arc Triomphe, Versailles, Sacre Coeur, Mont St Michel, and so many castles that I lost count. It was exhilarating and overwhelming. My favorite moment, however, may seem quite insignificant. One evening I couldn’t find our French teacher, who accompanied us on our trip. With bravery I didn’t quite feel, I walked up the front desk of our tiny boutique hotel and asked the clerk, “Où est le chamber de Mme Leroux?” A clunky way to ask where my teacher was, but I actually communicated what I wanted to in another language! “Le prof?” he responded. “Oui.” It so was empowering!
As the years rolled by, I’ve been lucky to check more and more places off my bucket list, and as I mentioned, each place holds a bunch of great memories. However, it’s usually one memory that tops them all. Finding a hidden restaurant with a diving board in a cove on Menorca, hiking the bamboo forest on Maui with my nephew, in broken Spanish, chatting about music with the owner of a pub in Barcelona, seeing the beauty of Hells Canyon for the first time, riding with hundreds of other cyclists along the streets of Fort Collins for Tour de Fat… I’m beyond blessed for these experiences.
When I started My Snapshot Traveler, I wanted to not only write about my experiences, but highlight memorable moments from other travelers. Since I launched my site six months ago, I’ve been so fortunate to connect with folks who visited Machu Picchu, trekked in the Himalayas, took their first breath in an underwater dive, and saw the Grand Canyon for the first time… Each story resonated so deeply with me.
As I said, we all have a story to tell. And I would love to hear from you! If you have a travel story – it doesn’t have to be from a far-off land, just a place and time that was special to you – please consider sharing it with My Snapshot Traveler! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Happy Travels, friends!