My very first international trip. My very first (gulp) SOLO trip! But I was determined to see those Northern Lights. Well, I was disappointed that they weren’t dancing for me for the first 5 days….but my last night there, just like God had planned it all along….they came out to play. And it was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life!
I had this odd thing on the bucket list that I bet nobody else had. Sing an Irish drinking song in Ireland with a real Irishman. Well, it happened during wonderful (and incredibly inexpensive) trip to Ireland! (Proof in the last video) OH! And I had my first Guinness there too. For reals! Hope these pics will make you wanna book your next trip there!
From Stonehenge to fancy tea at Harrods, it was an experience to remember! If I had just waited a month later, I could have caught a peek of the new Duke & Duchess of Sussex! Oh well….
Hey there, my friends! Welcome to my new Travelin’ With Karen blog! My hope is to inspire you to start living YOUR dream of traveling too. And if I can do it, anybody can. It all happened by accident, actually. So, I thought I would take this moment to share the backstory on how this whole crazy thing got started!
In 2017, a dream came true for me. I got to see the Northern Lights, aka the Aurora after I made my first international (and solo) trip to Iceland. For years, I thought international travel was out of my reach…or rather…my pocketbook. I believed I would have to save thousands of dollars just to make one trip. And I planned (someday) to make that happen. Or, I talked about it a LOT. And yes, I could say that I was a little jealous of friends who traveled some of the most awesome places on earth…but I never took the time to ask them how they did it, how much it cost and stuff like that.
All of that changed when my daughter wanted to go to England so badly.
Gabby wanted to visit a friend of hers but also felt that this was financially out of her reach and it broke her heart. With as desperately as she wanted to go, I would have done anything in my power to help her. I casually chatted with a friend about this and told him that I would more than be happy to add to her trip fund, but I didn’t know how long it would take her to save up the rest. Again, my mind was in the THOUSANDS. This friend dropped some info on me that I never thought about before. He said that if she flew out of DC or even took a weekend trip up to NYC with me and flew out of JFK, she could get a round trip ticket for about 5 hundred bucks or less and advised us to keep our eye out for sales. I quickly called her and relayed this information. Within a couple of days, she had booked her plane ticket and spent two wonderful weeks in England with her friend. That was January of 2017.
After she got back, I began thinking about AT LEAST making that ONE trip in my lifetime. I had some reservations, though. And a boatload of excuses too. Did I want to travel alone to a place I knew nothing about? Within a couple of days, a new airline came on the scene and WVEC posted the story on Facebook with the title, “Where Do You Want To Go?” It was WOW Air based out of Iceland. The first thing I thought of was the Northern Lights! What a perfect place to get a good view of them! So, I followed the link and found a round trip ticket out of Baltimore for less than $400. Immediately, I called my daughter and asked her if I should book the ticket. I mean, she had someone to meet her when she went to England. I would be doing this thing totally alone. She told me to get off the phone and book the ticket. And I did.
I shopped for accommodations and tours of Iceland. I watched tourism videos on YouTube. I started a conversation with the owner of the Bed & Breakfast on LinkedIn. By the time I was ready to leave, any fears I had about traveling alone had vanished.
And for the record, I spent just a little over a thousand dollars for that trip…all inclusive….for the week.
A couple of things happened to me after that first trip abroad. First, I got the bug. And I had a list of places I wanted to visit. Second, I wanted to do these trips as inexpensively as possible so I could share what I saw, what I paid and what I learned so I could inspire other people to start crossing those things off the bucket list!
So…that’s how it all started! Keep your eyes on this blog! In the days to come, I’ll be sharing my experiences and photos from Iceland, Ireland and England! Plus, the final price paid and tips for traveling on a shoestring!
BTW, this Fall, I have another trip on the books. This time…GREECE.
Now, the question for you is this: Where do YOU want to go?