Wednesday Women: Natalie

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Meet Natalie.

I’m a tea lover, literature nerd, former college professor, parent to two little kids, and restless soul. I grew up (and still reside) in Charleston, South Carolina, but I am determined to see as much of the world as I can. I’ve been blogging not-so-seriously since 2010, and pretty seriously since 2013. I mostly focus on how to travel more deeply through an immersion of history, literature, culture, and the arts, but some family travel and general lifestyle slips in there from time to time as well.

What inspired/inspires you to travel?

I’m one of those people who constantly needs to be challenging myself to be happy. For me, that goes hand in hand with learning about a new culture, visiting somewhere I’ve never been before, re-visiting an old favorite locale, and reading a novel or history about where I’m traveling. Traveling goes hand in hand with learning for me, and I just can’t get enough of both.

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Where is your favorite destination to date?

I will always, always love the British Isles: I studied abroad in London, and have visited the UK and Ireland more than half a dozen times. There’s something about the combination of culture, literary history, and sense of community that keeps drawing me back there.

How do you prefer to travel? Solo or With a group? Why?

Over the years, I’ve done just about every time of traveling as I’ve gone through different phases in my life: solo, couple, and family. These days, I’m all about incorporating my kids into the learning and cultural exploration that comes along with traveling, so that’s fun to see the world through their eyes. I also love a getaway with my husband, who’s my absolute best friend and such a good travel buddy since we complement one another well in what we enjoy seeing.

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Do you think there is a difference traveling as a woman?

As for traveling as a woman, I know that I tend to take fewer risks when I’m traveling by myself than when I’m with my husband or family. I’ll call it a night earlier, take better lit paths, and avoid certain destinations or locations. I tend to be overly cautious (to a fault), but that goes into high gear when I’m by myself.

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How do you plan your trips? When is your next one?

I tend to plan my trips WAY in advance because I’m one of those nerdy people who enjoys the planning almost as much as I do the actual going. Planning far in advance also helps me save money in our limited travel budget each year and helps my family maximize the days that my husband (who works in a location-based finance job) will get off for vacation. We tend to start our planning around the dining room table by talking about places that have been intriguing us, and we even include our preschooler in the planning! (She’s quite the traveler already and loves hotels more than anything else in the world.) We are staying put in Charleston, South Carolina, for the rest of 2016 since our second baby is making his arrival in November, but we have plans to go to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for our daughter’s birthday (she’s obsessed with rockets) and to London, England, sometime next year.

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Any advice you would like to give to your fellow travelers?

If you’re hesitating about traveling, just go! I have worried about scheduling, budgets, and family matters while planning trips, but I have never regretted going on a single one. Somehow, everything I worry about prior to leaving manages to work itself out by the time we leave.

Want to know more about Natalie?

 Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown

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