Hey, I’m Renne! I’m a quirky, fun-loving gal from Atlanta, USA and I have an insanely incurable travel addiction. I’m a little different from the travel bloggers you might be accustomed to though—my story isn’t one of epic proportions. I didn’t quit my job. I’m not an expat. I don’t volunteer abroad. I’m just a regular ole’ 9-5er who refuses to sit in a cubicle 365 days of the year.
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My story may not be glamorous—but surprisingly it’s somewhat unique. You see, I live in a country where my situation raises eyebrows. Why? Because here in the U.S., at least half of American workers don’t even use a single vacation day. Crazy…I know.
HOW MY TRAVEL ADDICTION BEGAN
10 years ago, I experienced a life-changing adventure that did two things—first, it turned me into a travel addict, and secondly, it gave me a best friend for life. Here’s what happened.
When I was in college, international travel was not on my radar. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. One day, after seeing that one of my classes was canceled, I saw something that caught my eye as I was wandering around campus aimlessly trying to find something else to do. It was a kiosk advertising a study abroad trip to EGYPT. Although traveling wasn’t something that was on my mind, this immediately grabbed my attention. When I was a kid, Egypt just happened to be the one country I was slightly obsessed with. And here it was, right in front of me, being handed to me on a silver platter. I couldn’t resist. Clearly this was fate. It sounded like the adventure of a lifetime, so I saved up every penny I could from the little job I had at the time, and paid for the trip. I was prepared to embrace my inner Lara Croft and set off on what I hoped would be something similar to a Tomb Raider movie.
Back then, that trip was the most incredible adventure I had experienced in my entire 20 years of living. I explored tombs and temples, climbed a pyramid, rode a camel, cruised down the Nile River, learned about ancient Egyptian history, and overall felt like a total badass for being a 20 year old exploring a side of the world most American kids my age had only seen in movies like The Mummy. I also met a girl on the trip I instantly clicked with and we have been best friends ever since—she’s even going to be the maid of honor in my wedding in a few months!
This was a pretty important and life-altering chapter in my life. It was what inspired me to step outside the little box I was in and truly start living. I made a promise to myself that no matter what kind of job I ended up getting after college, I would never let it stop me from pursuing my newfound passion of exploring the globe. So far I’ve kept that promise to myself. This year, I have traveled every single month—and many people don’t understand how. It’s simple really. I make travel a priority. As I always like to say—don’t quit your daydream. I will quit my dayjob before I ever quit my daydream.
MY FAVORITE TRAVEL STORIES
One of my favorite memories was when I was invited to St. Lucia to participate in Carnival. Kim, a friend of mine from high school wrote on my Facebook wall and said, “You should come to St. Lucia and experience a Caribbean Carnival!” Well, Kim didn’t actually think I’d do it—but I did. Without hesitation, I bought a plane ticket, sent her a message, and said “Hey! I got my ticket. What now?” Kim was shocked but delighted that I was seriously interested in coming to her country to experience her culture.
This was one of the most amazing, authentic, and culturally immersive experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. Since Kim was St. Lucian, she was able to get me a costume and entry into the actual Carnival parade that the locals participate in every year in St. Lucia. I quickly learned that this was a huge deal in their country. From the moment Carnival is over, they spend the next year excitedly planning the next one. It meant the world to me that Kim, her friends, and her family welcomed me into their country and allowed me to partake in such a huge cultural event with them.
Another fond memory of mine is when I evolved into a more conscious traveler. Last year, I traveled to Bali and was not prepared for the amount of litter I saw on one of the beaches I visited. Of course, not all of Bali is like this, so please don’t let me taint your image of a place that is often synonymous with paradise. The particular area I went to, however, was not paradise.
Seeing all the trash opened my eyes to the widespread issue of the destruction of our beautiful planet. Although there were many reasons for the litter woes in that area, I wanted to figure out how I could do my part to make sure I don’t contribute to the trash problem around the world. I began to notice the bad behaviors that we tourists sometimes exhibit when visiting other countries—and now I work hard to educate tourists on how to travel ethically, sustainably, and responsibly.
Renne Simpson is the writer and YouTuber behind the blog Travel Lushes. Her passion for both travel and content creation resulted in her desire to show the world that people of all ages, races, and income levels can travel the globe. You can find her on , Instagram, , Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat (travellushes).