Candors of International Exploration

What sparked your interest in the international world?

Was it when…

… your boo suggested honeymooning in the Caribbean?

… It hit you that your retirement savings may not be enough to retire in your home country?

… you realized your investment portfolio needed true, international diversification?

If you have travelled internationally, congratulations! In the United States, that would make you one of the select 36% of American citizens who has a passport. Wow. Why haven’t the other 64% left?

People don’t travel for varying reasons…I’ve heard it all. Don’t have money. Can’t get time off. Scared of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Can’t speak the language. Zika (that seemed to disappear, didn’t it??). My family told me I am better off at home. And in the saddest of cases, they don’t care about what’s going on outside of their hometown.

But not you. You’re adventurous. You’re a risk-taker. And you’re excited to go international, right? Between you and me, we know that travel is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Our perspective, network, and appreciation of the world is immeasurably heightened once we step outside of our comfort zone and into a new culture.

For the past 7 years, I have been living the life of an Escape Artist. Living, playing and working (gotta put that in there in case the boss reads this) abroad has been everything you may expect, plus many things you may not expect. It’s exciting, engaging, challenging, surprising, and has plenty of WTF moments. But what I believe to be the most important is that it’s full of opportunity – both personally & professionally. I have never experienced a more incredible platform to continue to learn and grow than the international classroom.

A bit about myself. I’m a New York native, now New Orleans transplant with manmade roots throughout Latin America. Growing up, our family vacations consisted of Jersey Shore beaches, my grandfather’s condo in Florida, or all-inclusive Caribbean islands hotels. In other words, I did not get my sense of adventure from my parents (who just recently visited Latin America… and got stuck in the Darien Gap… LOL… Blog forthcoming…).

Between my sophomore and junior year of college I spent a couple of thought-provoking weeks in Nicaragua on a medical mission trip with a small group from my college which, unbeknownst to me at the time, truly began it all. A few months later, I hopped over the pond to Sevilla, Spain for a siesta semester abroad. When I returned, I began working at the International Office on campus which opened my eyes to even more global opportunities.

All of these international adventures plus meaningful on-campus experiences & relationships eventually convinced me not to pursue medicine, but rather to move to Nicaragua. After senior year of college, I left Pennsylvania for Managua, Nicaragua to complete a 3-month internship with an international real estate developer. After being asked to come on board full-time, I deferred my standing order with the Peace Corps and since have been an international vagabond.

The past few years have been nothing less than exhilarating, and during this Escape Artist series, we’ll be uncovering the fascinating world of new experiences prompted by travels and charting through the unknown.

To leave off with my favorite travel quote, “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.”