Thanks for visiting my blog and for willingly dedicating two minutes of your time to find out more about me - (because that either means my posts have sparked enough interest for you to want to know more about me, or you’ve clicked on this page by accident… in which case that’s awkward). Either way, read on to satisfy your curiosity…
My name is Laura. I am an English literature graduate, former brand manager for Camp America, ultimate culture vulture, amateur photographer/go-proer, self-confessed chocoholic and I guess it goes without saying: a travel lover! Not to mention the latest addition to my bag of tricks - becoming a radio presenter for a community radio station in my hometown of Birmingham, UK. Find out more about that here.
So yes, I am another millennial who has been bitten by the travel bug, and at this point in time, helpless to cure it. My goal in life is to combine my love of travel with being a journalist. I guess my dream job would be presenting on the BBC Travel Show!
I first caught the travel bug when I was 19. At this age, I boarded my first flight by myself and flew out to New York to work on a summer camp for two months. I worked on a camp which catered to underprivileged children from the city, with most children coming from homeless shelters. It was this trip that showed me how amazing it can be to step outside of the tourist “bubble” and experience real life in a different country. (Admittedly, with it being my first time in New York, I couldn’t leave without ticking off all of the obligatory touristy bits too!). I met some incredibly inspiring people from all walks of life. One of my favourite things about travel is meeting people from all over the world, from every background. Whether it be a common inability to eat a s'more without getting it all over your face, or a shared love for Nicki Minaj (with pretty much all of my kids, as you can imagine being in New York) - that one thing connects you to somebody from the other side of the World and makes you realise that we are all people, diverse as we may be.
When I started University that September, I signed up to become an area brand manager for Camp America. This involved me promoting CA around local university campuses with other brand managers by delivering presentations and putting on promotional events to sign more people up. In short, I was a real-life Michelle from American Pie – you know – ‘this one time at band camp…’. I loved exchanging stories with the other brand managers and felt empowered by sharing my experiences and advice with prospective applicants. This adventure brought about a lot of firsts for me – first time flying on my own, first work abroad visa, first time travelling without my family. But most importantly, it was the first time I had ever experienced anything like this, and I loved the way it made me feel and the confidence it instilled in me.
‘So much of who we are is where we have been’- William Langwiesche
Three years and copious amounts of coffee later…
I emerged from my student digs with a first-class Bachelor of Arts degree, a few pieces written in the uni newspaper and two impressive work placements with ITV under my belt. My next assignment: TRAVEL! My grandmother has always said to me (being well travelled herself) that travel gives you an education like no other, and from what I have experienced so far, I believe these to be very wise words.
Since graduating last summer, I have wasted no time in setting-to on some big must-do adventures and I have just returned from 5 weeks’ backpacking through South East Asia (some might say: every twenty-something’s rite of passage). I was back home for two days before getting itchy feet and I have already begun saving for the next adventure in between being a Miss Birmingham finalist and applying for positions with local newspapers.
One surprising fact about me?
Last year I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). For those of you who don't know, GAD is a form of anxiety centralised by chronic worrying about even the littlest of things. GAD is different to other forms of anxiety because worrying cannot be pinpointed to one certain thing - like somebody with claustrophobia for example whose anxiety is very specific. Every case is different, but for me when I don't have it under control I struggle to sleep, I can withdraw into myself and it affects my self-esteem. Last year I was at my worst with it, and over the past few months my dream to travel has been my focus at the end of a very rough road. Does this sound like somebody who throws caution to the wind and travels the World?
In addition to travel pieces, I will be writing extensively about mental health issues in relation to travel – such as why I believe travel has helped me to come back to myself. Some of you may doubt your abilities to travel if you do suffer with a mental health problem, and I’m here to reassure you on that one. I will even be revealing why I am glad I have been through it, it is part of my story and if it is a part of yours I hope you find me #relatable. (fun English nerd fact: relatable is not a real word, so I was told by my university professor… in front of the entire class…*sinks into chair for the rest of the seminar*).
So, if I haven't just bored you off with that awful fact, enjoy reading, there are some interesting bits to come and I am all ears to your experiences or any travel questions you may have. If this blog is not enough and you want to stalk me some more, then send me some social media love and give me a follow on Twitter and Instagram.
I will leave you to look at the cute baby monkey eating pineapple on my shoulder, which should hopefully distract you from the slight underboob situation happening there... ;P