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.