This woman is a machine! Great mum, fabulous blogger and still has time to travel. Not your regular American woman, come see how Colleen is Living The Dream.
What was the first country you visited? Who with and why did you choose it?
I was born in the U.S. and the first country I visited was Mexico with my family when I was about 9 years old, shortly after we moved to Arizona from the Midwest. My parents rented a motor home and we explored the Southwest for a couple of weeks, including a quick stop at Nogales.
I really fell in love with travel when my family took our first trip to Europe when I was 15. Our family of five traveled to London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, and the Swiss Alps in a crazy jam-packed trip a la the Griswolds. Then I took a solo flight to meet up with a close friend in Greece. I spent a couple more weeks there with her Greek family swimming, sunning, dancing at discos with other teens, and playing a zillion rounds of Backgammon.
It was during that European trip that I decided I must learn to speak French. I vowed to study in France one day, which I did during college. I love France for its curly cue architecture, scrumptious pastries, mellifluous language and sense of style.
When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired that change?
The largeness of the world first occurred to me during that first trip to Europe, and Paris in particular. It seemed so fancy and utterly different from my usual life. I wanted to experience more of that! When I lived in France during my junior year of college, I visited around 20 different countries over long weekends, during school breaks and in the subsequent summer. I thought I would always live abroad but that wish (thus far) has not come true. I have always squeezed travel into my life, no matter my budget or time constraints, whether that has meant nearby road trips or luxurious foreign travel. Currently, I typically travel once or twice per month…sometimes with the whole family…sometimes with one or both kids…sometimes with my husband or a friend…and sometimes all by myself.
Do you have a base you travel from? Or is it continuous travel? And why do you choose that style?
I live in San Diego, California with my husband and two kids. We have a big dog, a cat, a new puppy and my husband has a demanding sales job that keep us from continually traveling. Plus, I like having my own space, my own bed and building relationships with others in our community. Lately we have been talking about moving somewhere new. Oregon (a state we have never even visited) is topping our list of possible new home destinations!
How do you fund your travel lifestyle? Is it something you do when travelling or are you a saver?
I earn money from freelance writing, speaking engagements, teaching writing classes and the sales of my book The Travel Mamas’ Guide - this extra income finances our travels. My husband pays the mortgage and the major bills; I pay for travel! As a travel writer, I am thankful that I often receive media discounts on hotels and attractions. We have also done home exchanges as a way to save money during our travels.
If you could tell yourself one tip before you started your travel lifestyle, what would it be?
This is something I have to remind myself on every trip: travel is not always going to be easy, but it’s always going to be worth it!
What does 'Living The Dream' mean to you?
To me, living the dream means living the life you want. No one’s life or career path is perfect all of the time. I don’t know if I always feel that I am living the dream, but I do know that I feel that I am on the right path and that it is one that I chose for myself. Living the dream means doing some very serious self-reflection to understand what it is that brings you joy… what work doesn’t feel like work because you love it… and spending time building relationships that are positive… and filling free-time with activities that bring peace, wonder and fun. There’s nothing worse than getting up each day, dreading what lies ahead… the boss you can’t stand, the job for which you are unsuited, the boring tasks that chip away at who you are and who you want to be. My dream is continually changing and I welcome what wonderful things the world has in store for me.