New Beginnings in a Wanderlust Nation

Hello loves! Thank you so much for all the love and support you’ve given Taylor’s Titillating Travels over the years. It’s been amazing and I’ve loved sharing all my stories with you. I will still be bringing you fun little stories, but I’m broadening my horizons. Soon we will launch Wanderlust Nation, a new website-based travel blog with more videos and varying media. I enjoy sharing my personal stories, but I really want to bring the focus on to inspiring others to travel in new ways. I am very sad to let go of my slightly suggestive title, but I think Wanderlust Nation is going to capture a whole new realm of traveling. It’s going to be slow going at first, but I hope you all hang in there! I’ll leave you with a little something I wrote. For me it’s hopeful, it’s saying goodbye to one chapter and opening another.

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These Days

I keep a suitcase packed by the bed
Ready to go at a moment’s notice, passport in hand
I’m nearing thirty and I’m still a teenage runaway
But I guess they just call it leaving these days

Most days the real world stagnates around me
And I escape to far off lands
Just a little movement to keep myself from atrophy
But I guess they just call it surviving these days

You tell me jetlag is a myth
But how do you know if you never leave the zone?
You stay tethered to the still life you’ve created
But I guess they call it stability these days

I’ve missed a funeral, weddings, and a birth
I miss the late nights at The Pub, paying for our youth
Those moments that remind us of what we all have in store for us
But I guess that’s what they call reality these days

I keep my family and friends close to my heart
Yet I keep stepping out, always leaving them behind
In hopes of forgetting the one thing I’m missing
But I guess that’s what they call loneliness these days

The rhythm in my soul keeps beating
A drumming pulling me on at an invisible pace
Away from the known into the expanse of the lives I haven’t lived
But I guess that’s what they call wanderlust these days

So I’ll see you when my feet hit the ground
And be gone before you can remember my face
Leave you with the memories of girl once etched in your mind
But I guess they just call me a gypsy these days

I just want you to remember my name

 

xoxo Taylor

The Truth of Becoming a Travel Writer

So, you’ve got the talent for writing, you’ve got the love of travel and adventure, but that’s not the most important element of travel writing. It has to be more than just a passion. It has to be a way of life you can live with or one you simply can’t live without.

When looking to get into travel writing you have to ask yourself, as I did with just about every profession I’ve ever considered (acting, flight attendant, teacher in the Alaskan bush), what are you willing to sacrifice? If you’re just starting out and don’t have a super high paying job with massive amounts of free time or work you can take on the road, then you’re probably going to be living on a shoe-string budget. There are bills to pay and equipment you’ll need before you even leave town. Once you’re in your destination you might be staying in hostels, which means giving up personal space, living out of a suitcase (that you can’t allow to explode all over the room), and trading in your comfy bed at home for the bits of cardboard that pass in most hostels for a bed. But you’re not just giving up the freedoms of having a place of your own. You’re exchanging your every day relationships with your friends for part-time friendships. Most travel writers tend to be gregarious people who make friends easily, so it’s not that hard to find someone to grab a drink with, but these are not people who know you inside and out and sometimes you’ll get somewhere in the middle of winter with hardly any other people in the same lodgings as you. Can you handle getting dinner or drinks alone? Odds are that you’ll be spending a large amount of time by yourself. So it’s important to know who you are and know your own mind.

Speaking of relationships, for some people the hardest adjustment deals with romantic relationships. If you’re lucky enough to have someone at home who doesn’t mind you being away all the time then you’re in great shape, but often times the men or women you meet might not take a relationship with you seriously if they know you’re not going to be around to cultivate it. Even if you find someone who is willing to do these things, there is an immense amount of work that goes into maintaining that relationship compounded on top of the work it takes to maintain a presence in the media world while traveling. Are you prepared to put forth that effort into a long distance relationship while working towards your goals?

Despite the aforementioned lack of outward glamour when you’re beginning, or for any writer who isn’t employed by a luxury travel magazine, you are trading all of those things for mountains towering overhead, awe-inspiring landscapes, beachside rides on horseback, city lights glittering in the night, new friends from every walk of life, evenings with a drink in hand listening to live music, afternoons in street side cafes, whirlwind romances, and endless adventure.

What it really boils down to:
“Would you be willing to trade all of this, from this day to that, for once chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they may never take our freedoooooom!” Wait a minute… that’s from Braveheart, but the point is the same. To rephrase, would you be willing to trade every bit of a normal life for the chance to tell the world how you lived free?

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The Summer I Became a Nomad

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Mendenhall Glacier – Juneau, Alaska

Once upon a time I had a normal life. I had my friends I saw all the time and homework and a normal job at a photography studio. I would travel more than the average person (my parents worked for various airlines, after all), but mostly visiting family, trips with my parents, college roadtrips, and daytrips up north to go hiking (I really just didn’t want to go to class). One summer in college everything changed and I have never been the same. I called a friend who was working in Juneau, Alaska and told him I would be there the next day. While there I made friends with his roommates and visited them a few months later. I visited a friend who had moved to Colorado and made friends with his friends and the pattern continued, grew, and took on a life of its own. I had become a nomad. I started living out of a suitcase and was out of town anytime I could get away. It’s not that I didn’t like being home, but rather my true nature was revealed and I couldn’t be still. I had to see what was out there, I had to move and live. I collected every new experience and memory with joy. Eventually it just became how I live and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But maybe I’m wrong. There are a lot of large bugs in Alaska. Maybe one of them was a travel bug.

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Airports Can Be Fun!

Anyone who has been stranded in an airport can testify that it’s tedious, stressful even hanging out at the airport, especially if you have kids with you. However, the airport doesn’t have to be a boring place where you sit continuously signing into the wi-fi to keep yourself from going insane. There are plenty of ways to stay entertained while hanging out in the airport. Window Shop

Magazines

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The first stop in entertainment, and by far the most accessible, is to go window shopping. First, hit the magazine and book shop and peruse their travel magazines. Pick one adventure from one of the articles and then hit up a clothing shop with a mission to find an outfit for that adventure, something like: pick an outfit fit for sailing in the Bahamas or find the ultimate accessory for a visit to Paris. Ride the Train Plane TrainGet a different view of the airport with the airport trains. Take the train to different terminals and check out the fun activities there or maybe grab a bite somewhere new. If you have kids this is guaranteed to keep them entertained for hours. Pretend you’re on a ride at Disneyland and relax while people watching. Make Up Stories

People Watch

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Speaking of people watching, my favorite airport activity is to make up stories about the other passengers at the gate and passers by. Is the bearded guy who looks like a mountain man on his way home to Colorado or is he meeting his team before heading for an expedition in Antarctica? Is the girl with sunglasses really a celebrity or just hungover? What did she do the day before? The possibilities are only limited to your imagination. Exercise 10487556_10152542966196215_1961011593696387441_n So many airports are offering “walking routes” through the airport so you have no excuse not to get up and move those feet! Phoenix Sky Harbor has one in Terminal 4 complete with a little brochure, telling you about the sights and history of Phoenix. Not to mention the long windows offer stunning views of Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, and other surrounding landscape. Dallas/Forth Worth’s Terminal D also offers a walking route, with option step program, and even a yoga studio at gate D40. A yoga studio! What?! Other airports that offer post-security walking routes include Seattle’s Concourse A, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Atlanta. Philadelphia also has a few stationary bikes just across from the food court where you can burn that cheesesteak you just ate. Hit the Gallery Airport Art Almost every airport has an art gallery featuring local artists and various works hanging throughout the airport. Denver has by far the most terrifying artwork while Philadelphia offers fascinating glass working and odd little exhibits on your way into Terminal C. Freshen up at Duty Free

Duty Free

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If you’re traveling internationally stop by the Duty Free shop and try on a new scent (lightly, though, so you don’t gag your fellow passengers) and maybe a new lip shade. Heck, don’t even do your makeup before you leave, just hit the MAC counter, or Dior if you’re feeling very posh, and doll yourself up for that handsome stranger in the plane. Won’t he be stunned by that bold new shade!

6 Tips for Traveling with Babies and Kids

Recently a friend of mine asked me if I had any advice for traveling with babies. Not having any children of my own I had to really sit down and think about it, but I think I’ve seen enough traveling parents doing it all wrong to give you a few insider tips.

Check your suitcase.

We’ve all seen those parents trying to lug six bags, a baby, and a car seat down the aisle, hitting everyone in the shoulders along the way. To avoid looking like the lady in Labyrinth who carries everything she possesses on her back first thing to do is check your larger bags of clothes and things you won’t need. That gives you a few less things to lug around. Also, you won’t get stopped during boarding for having too many items.

Pack light and give your kids some credit.

Bring only what you absolutely need onto the plane. If you have kids old enough to wear a backpack put a few entertainment items in there and help them pack. When I was a kid my parents would make me carry my own bags. All of them. I learned really quickly what I needed and what I didn’t. I have them to thank for my being a pro-packer.

Walk Around

If you have a fussy baby get up and walk around the aisles (if the seatbelt sign is off). Your fellow passengers would rather have you moving around than listen to a screaming child. Just don’t stand in the galleys. The reason for this is, one, should an emergency occur there aren’t enough oxygen masks for you and your baby. There is, however, one additional oxygen mask at every row of seats. Two, there are many moving parts and sharp corners in galleys and should something not be stowed properly, you or your child could be injured.

Preboard

Most airlines call for passengers with small children to board early. Take advantage of this! It will give you a few additional minutes before the aisles get crowded to get your family together and everyone strapped safely into their seats.

Bring your own supplies

Most airlines don’t carry diapers or wet-wipes. Bring what you need and you won’t have to stress. Likewise, if you or a member of your family has a special dietary restriction or medical condition do not forget to bring their special snacks and medication. Selections on the plane and airport or not usually “special diet friendly” and you never know when a passenger is going to bust out a bag of peanuts or other allergens.

Please use the facilities

Don’t forget to take your kids to the restroom before you board. Either you’re going to get stuck by the lavatories while everyone boards or everyone will hate you when you get up to take your kid to the restroom on taxi and they have to stop the aircraft and delay take off. Also, most aircrafts have changing tables that drop down in the lavatories. Everyone will thank you for not changing your baby on the seat or tray table, which is unlikely to get cleaned before the next flight. Ew.

Another Year Over

2014 was not they year I thought it would be. I had a really rough 2013, so I expected 2014 to be filled with pizzazz and sparkles falling from the sky every time something amazing happened and I expected it to happen a lot. I was going to do everything and I was going to do it with gusto. Looking back I realized I spent most of they year healing the physical and emotional wounds from the previous year and that’s really ok. I also had the whole year to really pin down what it is I want to be focusing my attentions on. All of this brought me to where I am right now and I couldn’t be happier. So, this year we’re going to get really crazy. I have decided to invest the majority of my efforts on this blog (read: traveling like a mad woman), one or two new travel show projects (you’ll all see it in the coming months and I cannot wait to share it with you), pitching some ideas to some people who matter. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to 2015.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

The Art of Packing Like a Pro

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Once upon a time I took a 2 ½ week trip to Europe with my high school. All my classmates, lugging around suitcases the size of coffins, were astounded when I showed up with a standard sized suitcase and backpack. “How did you fit enough clothes and toiletries in there?” they asked. Through many years of travel and my mom making me run numerous times through the Chicago airport I’ve gotten the hang of packing precisely what I need and packing it well. I would like to impart to you a few tips on the art of packing.

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Multi-Use Items

When packing go for not only colors that go together, but also layers and items that can be worn numerous times, like jeans. For ladies, bringing a few camis or light shirts you can wear under other items means you can reuse a few tops.

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Michael Mohr

Roll It

I know there are people who swear by packing cubes, which I have yet to try, but I prefer a simpler method. Bring clothes that don’t wrinkle easily and roll them as tightly as you can like they’re a sleeping bag. This creates more space for the important things (Tip: When returning with fragile souvenirs, roll your clothes and socks around them for protection).

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Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

I rarely forget items because, one, I never really unpack. Two, my method of packing is infallible (at least for me). I start from the top and work my way down. What does my hair need? A brush, products, and a hat or headband, etc. Face? I have eyes so I need glasses, contacts, blah blah blah. I go all the way to my feet and then worry about what goes in my backpack later.

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“Take Only What You Need to Survive”

Often times people don’t know what to expect so they bring everything but the kitchen sink and end up not even touching half of what they bring. Know the environment you’re going to and rethink every item you’re bringing. Can you live without it for a few days? Probably. My best example is a hair dryer. Almost every hotel or accommodation has one and with the right product you don’t actually need one. So don’t waste the space.

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Don’t Skimp on the Skivvies 

The one item you’re allowed to bring way too much of is underwear because you never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere and your grandmother would be so disappointed if you weren’t wearing clean undies. Plus, it’s a pain to wash them in the sink and I guarantee they won’t dry as fast as you want them to.

I hope you all found this helpful. Share your favorite packing tips in the comments below!