I knew she was bound for greatness! Meet this week’s featured traveler: Michelle Owens

Michelle and I went to high school together. I remember her as a go-getter and eager person and was always impressed by her drive and efficiency at such a young age. As drama club president, I once asked someone to make a card for a guest speaker and Michelle eagerly volunteered. She made a detailed card by the next day (I think) and I was like “woahhhh this girl is on-top of it!” Since then, Michelle has continued to be ‘on-top of it!’ She’s been around the world a few times and continues to excel at everything she does! We recently reconnected as she prepares to re-launch her blog. Check out her submission and stay inspired!


Name: Michelle
What city do you call home?
Unknown Places

 

michelle

What was a defining moment that made you decide to be adventurous?
On my first trip to India, when I was 16 years old, I noticed the three happiest young children I’d ever seen. My defining moment was when it became apparent to me that their eyes were lit up from joy they found in playing with a water bottle. This gave me a new found appreciation for “the little things.”
I decided then that I’d never stop exploring and learning from others.
Where have you been/lived?
I have been to 25 countries and counting! I have “lived” in Canada, England, Spain and Australia. Lived, meaning had a place which I paid rent, attended school, had a job, or was there for more than a month.
Can you share a memorable travel story?
One of my scariest (looking back now it’ funny) stories from traveling was when I was living in Spain. We had a tour guide take us out on his local horses for an afternoon of exploring. Long story short, my horse went totally crazy and starting jumping up on its’ hind legs, making crazy noises and running fast for short lengths. It wasn’t until 30 minutes later when the owner was finally able to slow him down for me to get off that he said to me in broken English “Oh sorry, I forgot this horse doesn’t like English speaking people”…..

michelle1

Share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling.
I was traveling in Thailand, Chiang Mai specifically during Songkran. This is the biggest water fight in the world- it is a festival that runs for days.
My friend and I decided to participate in a cooking class on our first day. We arranged the tour through our hostel and they informed us that we would have transportation to and from the kitchen both ways!
Early in the morning they picked us up, we met some awesome fellow travelers and had a great day learning some amazing Thai recipes while laughing and making new friends from all over the world.
When the time came to head back to the hostel, our ride never came. We waited and waited until we finally decided just to start walking.
Forgetting that this was the middle of Songkran in central Chiang Mai… we were instantly SOAKING WET. We stood out like sore thumbs as very obvious foreigners and were attacked by water buckets, water guns (even by police officers…) you name it. Us, our electronics, and everything we had on us was instantly soaked.
We both became extremely frustrated and walked and walked without saying a word to each other… we were hungry, hot, soaking wet, and just wanted to get back.
As we walked past a hole in the wall bar in the city, we looked in and noticed a few individuals from our Thai cooking class as well as our Thai instructor having “buckets”.. if you’ve been to Thailand you know exactly what I mean.

We looked at each other and had this moment of realization like “screw this… We’re in Thailand! we were completely lost and decided to join in on the fun and figure it out later. Somehow after a few buckets we found our way home at the end of the night đŸ™‚
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow!

What has traveling taught you?
Travel has taught me that as cliche as it is, life is too short. I’ve started to enter the corporate world and cannot help but notice people around me who spend years and years and years, sometimes most of the years of their life saving, waiting, and planning for retirement or for an “amazing” life and great adventures that they will “one day” take. What if that day never comes?

The best advice I’ve received from some wise elders is that they wish they didn’t spend so much time chasing the career, the stability, the money.. because it really amounted to nothing.

I’ve learned that that one day may never come. That countries which I visited 10 years ago are now completely westernized, or “unvisitable.” There will never be a perfect time.
I’ve learned that it is so important to mentally BE where you PHYSICALLY are.
Read it again.
Trips, experiences, people, they come and they go. Just like that. I’ve been in beautiful places all over the world and been thinking or worrying about someone or something somewhere else. In the blink of an eye- that moment I was in ended. I was too busy mentally being somewhere else that I didn’t get that moment back nor take the proper time to enjoy it.
Just be people. Just be.

michelle2
What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
Have loose plans. Things change. Stay in hostels (even if you have the money) at least for one night. In popular places like Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada… most travelers are on a similar route. Engage in conversations and ask questions. The best conversations happen during lost WiFi signals.
Change your itinerary based on “off the beaten path” recommendations, and then write down your tips for others.
The travel community is one of the largest, yet close-knit communities and families that someone can be apart of.
Document your thoughts, tips, experiences and recommendations.
There is no worse feeling than trying to remember that amazing hole in the wall pub, no-name bed and breakfast, or local tour guide and not being able to.
There is no better feeling that being able to send someone a link to a personal guide of a wonderful city somewhere else in the world.
Where can people learn more about your adventures?
www.blondeonworldtour.com

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