My name’s Natalie and I’m originally from Boise, Idaho. While there are many things that I love about my state, growing up I always felt that Idaho was just a little too small for me. It never seemed like I quite fit in. I had a curious spirit that wanted to see and experience the rest of the world. Coming from one of the least ethnically diverse states that’s 93% white, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to experience diversity and culture, yet I craved just that.
My first travel experience overseas occurred in my junior year. I took a Spring Break trip to Spain with my high school. When it came time to go to college, I only applied to schools on the East Coast as I wanted to live somewhere completely different from what I’d known all my life. When a faculty member at my high school told me that I wouldn’t get in to any of the schools that I applied to, and even if I did I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to them, I was more determined than ever to take that chance.
After high school I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study overseas in Cuernavaca, Mexico during the summer. After that I moved to New York to attend Hofstra University. While in school, I received a scholarship to study in Shanghai, China the summer before my senior year. These experiences made me realize that I wanted to spend a more significant amount of time overseas, so my senior year I began looking for jobs in Spain and received a position as a Language and Cultural Assistant in Madrid.
After receiving my B.A. in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology, I spent the summer backpacking through Europe. While I was supposed to go with a friend, she had some medical issues our senior year that kept her from joining. Rather than cancel the trip, I spent 3 months backpacking through Europe by myself. Then I moved to Spain to start my job.
I spent a year in Spain and traveled to several other locations while there: Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Morocco, and all over Spain. While the experience was great, I found that I really missed volunteer work, which had been a major part of my life before college. After completing my contract in Spain I decided to move back to the States short term while I applied for the Peace Corps.
I was accepted into the Peace Corps and made the move to Madagascar less than a year after returning to the States. While it was a fabulous experience where I learned a lot, it was cut short when we were evacuated due to a political coup. Feeling as if I hadn’t quite helped as much as I’d hoped, I decided to join AmeriCorps. Before moving to L.A. to serve two terms, I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador with Partners of the Americas as they were looking for another teacher to facilitate a workshop on how to teach English as a Second Language at the Catholic University in Cuenca.
I have traveled, studied, worked and volunteered in 25 countries to date. Peace Corps has a third goal that many are unaware of: “To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” I’ve had truly incredible experiences that I’d like to share with others. I’m hoping that through this blog I can ‘bring the World home.’ Some of my posts will be retroactive for trips I’ve already taken, but I will also include current and future travels as well. I appreciate feedback and look forward to comments, questions or suggestions for future posts. I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me.
*I am a writer and travel blogger. If you are an editor or publisher and would like to discuss freelance writing for a newspaper, magazine or book, please send me a private message through the contact page.
When you set your mind to something, you usually succeed. When you set your mind to something, and someone tells you that it’s unlikely you’ll succeed, you find a source within to get it accomplished!
Sometimes on adventures with you, but mostly living vicariously through your awesome emails, I am looking forward to this journey again in more detail as well as seeing where your new journey’s take you! Blog On Lady! Blog On!