Portrait of a Belle

Question of the Month: What Makes You a Travel Belle?

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The Travel Belles, online magazine for women, women travel writers

Karen Regn and company living large in Cozumel

This month we asked a few of our regular writers:

What Makes You a Travel Belle?

Let me know in the comments if you notice any themes.

(If you click on any of their names it will take you to their fancy new biography pages with links to all of their TTB articles.)

Amanda Summer

I was born on an Air Force Base and my family moved overseas when I was 6 weeks old, so I’ve been on the road ever since. As a child, my dad liked to keep things interesting when we traveled: sometimes we’d stay at a budget motel one night and then occasionally find ourselves at a 5 star resort the next, so I learned to be ready for anything.

When I got married and had children, my husband and I decided that – instead of buying a bigger house or newer cars – we would invest in travel, so that’s what we did. We’ve taken our kids kayaking in the Andaman Sea, rafting down the Maekok River and driving across the desert in the dark of night to see Abu Simbel just after dawn. I’ve been told I’m a gypsy and as a new empty nester, that suits me fine my advice for life is travel light, keep your heart open and don’t put off that trip you’ve always wanted to takeyou will never regret it.

Cailin Szczesiul

While I have traveled since I was a young girl, it was mostly to my family’s second home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  It wasn’t until recently that I started travelling abroad and exploring new countries and cultures.

I believe a Travel Belle is someone who has a passion for life and a desire to learn and explore. My husband and I like to joke that we work to travel, and it’s true.  I am constantly planning our next trip and researching new places to visit.  I think what makes me a Travel Belle is my aspiration to experience different cultures, my willingness to learn and my ability to find humor in every travel experience, no matter good or bad.

Karen Regn

What makes me a travel belle?  Because I’m always broke! ha ha…  No really, I will spend my hard-earned pennies to satisfy my wanderlust.  I recently finished an engagement teaching English in Japan, where for four years I traveled non-stop using Tokyo as a springboard to fly to destinations throughout Asia.

Give me culture shock over a nice comfortable existence any day.  Give me sand between my toes, mountains to hike, oceans to cross, and local characters to meet.  Beyond travel, the only thing I’m even more passionate about is writing.   Between my two hobbies, you’ll never hear the words “I’m bored” escape my lips.

Kate Turner

Since the age of 15 when I stayed with a family in France’s Auvergne region on a school exchange, I’ve constantly been planning my next trip. I enjoy nothing more than visiting new (and familiar) places , experiencing new cultures, tasting different cuisines and meeting people.

Kathy Ayer

What makes me a travel belle? Before I buy anything, especially the expensive items, I calculate how many travel days I’ll have to give up to buy it.  My most cherished possession is my passport.  I’m usually writing down plans for my next trip on the plane home from the last trip.  My friends make bets on how long I’ll last at home before I take another trip.  I’ve changed careers twice in order to make travel a bigger part of my life.

Yes, I have wanderlust.  It’s my aunties’ fault.  When I was 14 they took me to New York.  Until then, I was completely a west-coast girl who had never been east of Nevada.  I loved the city, all the different ethnic foods available on that little island, the history, the pace, the architecture, everything.  I decided I was moving there when I was old enough.

Fast forward a few years later.  I traveled to Italy and France for the first time, and fell in love all over again, mostly with Italy, but also with France. I decided I was moving there. Eventually, I did for a little bit of time in both countries.  This feeling repeats itself whenever I travel to a place I really love.  I want to make myself a part of it, especially the food, and learn all about the place as a local.  I find myself going back to those special places again and again. I would like to live in Italy again, for a longer amount of time than the last. After that, I have a feeling Greece will be my next “have to move there” destination.

Krista Bjorn

I’ve been traveling since I was a little girl and it is second nature to me. I’ve moved so many times that my ties are with people not places. Each trip, each encounter with people from different cultures and countries makes my life that little bit richer and expands my world beautifully. It allows me to face my fears and experiment with different ways of living, relating and believing. I always return home with a lighter heart and freer mind, and those are treasures beyond reckoning.

Leslie Coff

When I was a little girl my family took a lot of driving trips.  I loved the movement of travel.  I loved to detail our adventures in our travel journal (I was the designated travel writer for our family) with pictures and stories and mileage traveled.

As I have gotten older (as if!) I have found that I adore the excitement and the change of going to a new place.  I love to map a new city in my head —  just by discovery.

I love that things go “wrong” and that our favorite word when we are traveling is the “F” word:  “Flexibility”.

I love to pretend that I am a resident, to shop at the local markets and to cook with the indigenous and local foods.  I am passionate about the smells and colors and look of the market foods, of the mannerisms of the residents.

I love when my head floods with a new language (or one I learned long ago and mistakenly thought I had forgotten).

I read recently that when you expand your mind you expand your heart.

Tuula Mattson

I guess I caught the travel bug early. At about 13 or 14, I found myself staring out across the Pacific Ocean & dreaming about far off places like Hawaii and Florida. I think it had a lot to do with the popularity of Miami Vice at the time, but I moved shortly from teenage fantasies of cruising to Key West to planning escapes to Italy & France. Thank you very much Don Johnson.

I enjoy being spontaneous when I travel, having fun, and never taking myself too seriously. A super-luxurious trip for me is having a glass of Spumante & a cheese plate after trekking through a Northern Italian hill-town.  I prefer to get my hands-dirty, hob-knob with the locals, and stumble my way through any Latin-based language that is acceptable without getting doused with a cappuccino.

Laughing, learning, and diving headfirst into life’s little adventures are what makes me a travel belle.

About the author

Margo Millure lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a portrait photographer, writer and founder of Travel Belles. Learn more about her at www.MargoMillure.com.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Tuula

    This answers are all so fun! I really love Karen’s…and would have to agree…being a travel belle sometimes means being broke, well, at least about 50% of the timel! Thanks for sharing lovely ladies!

  2. Margo Millure

    I agree, Tuula! I love how everyone expresses the positive impact travel has on many aspects of their lives, especially their attitudes. Thanks for participating 🙂

  3. Nicole

    I love this & I love these ladies. I so totally get them. 🙂

  4. Karen

    My favorite part of being a “belle” is getting to know all the other contributors and readers who participate. Love getting to know everyone’s pursuits, personalities, and talents. Oh, I hope I didn’t inadvertently answer next month’s question! 😉

  5. Mary R

    What a fun post! I always love to read about other peoples’ travel inspirations and motivations. It’s great to know of other people who put aside material possessions for experiences (even though many of my friends and family do not). Keep traveling, belles!

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