Despite starting Noelle Across The Pond in March of 2016, beyond my About Noelle Across The Pond page which offers a brief explanation of what led up to me starting this blog, I’ve never really shared much about my history of traveling (not to mention, writing about myself in excess makes me feel awkward). However, let’s change that today with me sharing a bit about where I’ve been and how I’ve been a lifelong wanderluster.
Greetings, I’m Noelle!
Growing up just outside Washington, D.C. in Virginia, my earliest travel memories are of summer visits to the beaches of Maryland and Virginia, along with annual summer trips to visit family and friends in New York state. Somehow, the travel bug bit me early in life, and even as a child I’d request for my parents to bring me on regional road trips during long weekends.
Having parents who are immigrants meant that international travel to their home countries would inevitably happen, so during my childhood I made the voyage to my mom’s native Switzerland at age 9 and 16. My dads native country, Algeria, was not safe to visit during my childhood, so my first visit there was in 2010, during college.
My dad’s lifelong obsession with soccer led to World Cup visits, and thus I found myself in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010.
In college, money I made from working part time and interning went on trips to Florida, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
When I first finished college, money was tight. My salary was enough for my living expenses, but not to eek out much more. I saved enough to splurge on a 10 day trip to Germany and Spain to celebrate my graduation a few months after it happened but more or less, for the first few years post-college, I only made it to Canada for a long weekend and Ireland for five days. My goal was one international trip a year.
Then, as I became more established in my career, I was able to allocate money for travel, and therefore my near-obsession began. Whenever I could get the time off work, and had the funding lined up, I booked a trip. I visited Panama, the Cayman Islands, took a cruise to the Bahamas, and went on a rail trip to Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Grad school a few years later opened the idea of working abroad for me, as I studied Scandinavian Products and Processes abroad in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
And thus, I selected England as where I wanted to move – easier to find a job since the language is the same, but a perfect jump off point to see more of Europe. I took full advantage of my thirteen months abroad, and made it to numerous countries throughout Europe.
And thus, that bring us to the present…
- Where is your favorite place you have traveled?
Switzerland is my favorite country for natural beauty; the lakes and mountains of Switzerland are stunning. Spain and Portugal I love for the wine, tapas, and architecture. London is my favorite city in the world, with Washington, D.C. as a close second. Copenhagen is also high on my list of favorite cities.
- Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want to travel?
I don’t think there’s an ethical way to travel to North Korea, so that is somewhere I will not go. I am also not willing to put myself in risk’s way to visit countries currently in conflict, like Syria or Somalia. If the situations were to stabilize in these countries at some point in the future though, I would reconsider.
- Where would you like to see the most and why?
Argentina is the highest place on my list right now – Buenos Aires and the Mendoza wine region in particular. New Zealand and Fiji are also high on that list. And someday, if I am brave enough and can afford it, I would like to go to Antarctica.
- If someone could only go to one place, where would you suggest they go?
I think visiting somewhere meaningful to you. Switzerland and Italy have been meaningful to me because my family is from there. England was very meaningful for me to see because I studied and researched it a lot before moving. Your definition of “meaningful”, of course, will be unique.
- What’s the first thing you do when you go somewhere new—any rituals?
I don’t have any unusual rituals. Mine are pretty normal – like setting my clock to match the time at my destination, writing a list on my phone of places I want to see, and looking at Google Maps to get a bearing for the layout of a new destination.
I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about me. Tell me about yourself in the comments below!