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I Am a Traveler

Hanoi

Until very recently, I haven’t really thought of myself as much of a traveler or explorer. I know that sounds a little odd coming from someone who just spent 4 months traveling around the world. I know that I’ve been truly lucky to have been afforded so many opportunities for traveling – I’ve been to almost 20 countries around the world – and that objectively, that’s a lot of traveling. But all truth being told, until very recently almost all of that traveling was arranged and led by other people – I had a family vacation to Germany, a choir trip to Japan, a college semester abroad in East Africa – and I felt like I was just along for the ride. I loved the opportunities and experiences, but I don’t feel like it makes me a “traveler” when I’m just following along. Several years ago work took me to a meeting in Italy so I scheduled a week of vacation on my own afterward, and I was so miserable and anxious that I came home early.

I’ve always been fascinated by other places, different people, and different cultures. But it has taken learning more about myself to feel comfortable leaving my home and exploring them. I have learned that I don’t like to travel on my own. I get overwhelmed making all the decisions and I don’t appreciate the exciting things as much when I don’t have someone to share them with. But that’s okay. I can be a “traveler” without traveling on my own. I’ve also learned that handling lots of logistics of getting from point A to point B stresses me out. But that’s okay, I can be a “traveler” by going to fewer locations and exploring them each more deeply.

Of course one of the things I’ve learned to love about travel the exposure to textiles – whether it’s is learning about Hmong fashion in Vietnam (like I did a few months ago) or finding the perfect day-glo pink stretch denim in New York City (like earlier this week).

Do you travel? Do dream of traveling? Do you draw sewing inspiration from traveling?

#IAmAWIP

Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on TwitterInstagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.

Comments 11

  1. You’re so right about the creative inspiration. As I’ve grown older, I don’t think of the ‘stuff’ I’ve bought. My best memories are of the places I’ve been to, the things I did and the people I met. That is all. x

  2. I’ve kind of developed a strong dislike of travel. I don’t know if its because I usually travel for work, which means alone and I generally have to be ‘on’ all the time, or because I’m an introvert. Maybe once I stop travelling for work and start with my man, I’ll start liking it. I hope so.

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      That’s a bummer, but I totally understand. I can completely understand how traveling for work (and being along and “on”) could make the whole idea of travel no longer fun. I hope that you enjoy it when it’s with your man – but it’s also okay to not be a traveler!

  3. Interesting.

    I used to be a traveller. My heart used to race with excitement at the thought of going to new places that I’d never been (all by myself, occasionally catching up with friends…never have been a group-type). But as I’ve gotten older, I long to stay home with my dog, so I can sew and garden rather than go to new places that are entirely different from anything I’ve ever known.

    That said, I have always collected a fabric or two from each country that I’ve visited. Not with rabid intent, or anything. But every time I look at them, it flashes me back to that moment in time. It’s like having a whole bunch of specifically keyed TARDISes around.

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  4. I absolutely LOVE travelling, and until I took up sewing a year ago, it was pretty much all I thought about. Now I divide my thoughts and longings between the two. I’m at my happiest when I’m travelling “alone”, backpacker style, in hostels. I say “alone” because in hostels you’re never really alone– new amazing friends to be made, stories to share, everywhere you go! It does always surprise me how few Americans (especially relative to the population size of the US) there are in the hostels, though– there seems to be some sort of cultural thing going on there, I’m not sure what, exactly. I’m Australian, and wherever you go in the world, you can’t escape us in the hostels!

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      I tried staying in hostels when I was traveling alone and found that it made my anxiety even worse because then I had to meet new people on top of figuring out all the travel details. But now that I travel with my husband I love meeting new people while we travel! We made some awesome friends that we ended up traveling with across Laos because we were at the same hotel and it was one of the highlights of our trip!

      1. I used to be super socially awkward and insecure, but two months of hostel travel right after high school forced me to open up, and made me a lot more confident in the end. But they most definitely aren’t for everyone– I think the important thing is to find a style of travel that works for you. And it sounds like you have, so that’s great!

  5. I love to travel and plan to visit every country in the world at least once in my life! I’m not a strict planner, getting a flight there and maybe a hotel for the first night is enough for me. This drives my boyfriend wild because he is an avid planner and can’t stand the thought of not knowing where to sleep the next day…

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      That would be so neat! I find that the more I travel, the more comfortable I am with showing up without a plan. I use to meticulously plan every detail, but now I find myself showing up and making plans as I go!

  6. Hi Erin,
    I’m your follower and I’m a traveller as well!
    Vietnam is full of hand craft and inspirations for sewer and crafters as well… this comment only to say you thanks for sharing aspect of yourself.
    Kate

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