Travel: A Love Story from a Wild Bum Guide Architect

Guide Architect of the Month, Brittney shares her travel love story with us. Her words will touch you… and just may make you want to book a flight!

I find myself fascinated with my next destination at any given moment and it begs the question, “why am I so mesmerized by travel?” “why is this so important to me?” So I did a little digging in my own mind on where it all started for me. While it didn’t start with fun family vacations, or on an extensive study abroad trip, it was actually more of a love story for me.

Let’s start from the beginning. I grew up as a military brat. My dad was in the Marine Corps for the first 18 years of my life. He’d receive new orders and our family moved every couple of years. I didn’t realize it then, but being uprooted that often and meeting and associating with a whole new group of people throughout 5 different states created a semi-dormant gypsy identity in me.

My dad would get stationed or deployed overseas at times, and my mom, sisters, and I stayed back in the states. He’d always bring something back representing the country he just spent 6-9 months in. Like kokeshi dolls from Japan, or a didgeridoo from Australia. I saw photos of him living it up out there and thought it was so cool. 

While we didn’t “travel” as much as a family – since our cross country drives and moves to new states sufficed as such – we got our adventure-fix in through other activities. Dirt biking in the desert, boogie boarding in the ocean, sports, camping trips, etc. And those all attributed to my curiosity for new places and the activities I could do in them.

Fast forward to the end of my senior year of high school. My then-boyfriend, now husband, and I were starting our four years of long-distance. He went to college in Miami, and I in Lawrence, KS. We’d take turns flying out to see each other in our respective temporary homes away from home. Aside from the “holy wow I missed you so much and I am so happy we’re here” feelings, the feeling of hopping on that plane and stepping foot outside of my every day stayed with me. It was like we were in our own little world. I got to see his every day.

I was wowed by how different the cities and landscapes were. And I was cultured by the Hispanic influence there. The food we ate, the lingo we spoke, the activities – all so different. It was such a rush. A bunch of fleeting moments kept in a million little happy capsules, and I wanted more of it.

I would explore around my little college town and nearby big cities. Take road trips to border states – Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Texas. I’d do the most I could and capitalize on as much time as I had then. And my passion for the research and planning of trips grew. The anticipation of my next destination kept that “travel rush” alive. I fell in love with finding the coffee shops, happy hours, people to meet, one-of-a-kind quirks, sights to see, things to try – all of it.

I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since, and boy do I love the chase. I decided a while ago to lean wholeheartedly into any dream, idea, place I had in mind no matter how big or how small. And, I’ve been lucky enough to have a partner who wants the same thing(s). A large majority of those things happen to be traveling. Seeing and experiencing as many places as we can while we’re still here on this Earth.

I love to travel because it makes space for you to be as connected or disconnected as you want to be to the places and people you are visiting. It breeds perspective. Travel houses people and experiences – and I believe those are what make life worth living. And, for the obvious reason – I love to travel because well, it’s fun.

Now, why is inspiring others to travel so important to me? One of my favorite things about traveling is how different it can be done by different people. Everyone has their thing, right? Some like coffee, some like tea. Some like relaxing, others like a little adrenaline. Others like exploring through food, others through history. Whatever the case is, there’s a place for you. There’s a place for me. There’s a place for them. 

Although that is all true, It is still so easy to see photos or videos of someone else’s travels, and it’s even easier to feel like you’re missing out or not doing enough. I want others to realize that traveling, no matter how far, is just as possible and fulfilling for them as it is for everyone else. Visiting a new place is so good for the soul. And it’s such an awesome feeling witnessing others living in their own version of happiness.

It’s okay to romanticize your life. In fact, I encourage you to do so. Find what you like and incorporate it into your everyday life. You don’t have to wait for the weekend, or the summer, or the holidays. You don’t even need a reason or occasion to go. Just go! Even if it’s to a neighboring town, a new-to-you place in your own town, across the country, or across the pond. Every place has something to offer, and it’s waiting for you to figure out what that something is for you.

I’m grateful for where I’ve been. I’m in love with all the places I have yet to see and all the people I have yet to meet. And I’m in love with travel, for bringing me to them. Here’s to you, to me, and to all the places we’ll go!

Brittney Maddox

Brittney Maddox