Feature Friday | Carey from Carebear Abroad
Feature Friday with Future Friends
I strongly believe that people who love to travel are the best kind of people. This series will introduce you to some of the amazing women travelers with whom I have been fortune enough to connect. Women travelers who are overcoming adversity and crushing societal norms are a huge source of inspiration for me and I believe their stories will inspire you as well.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? When and how did you start traveling?
Hi y’all! The name is Carey, but you can call me CareBear. I am an American, southern Georgia Peach at heart, currently living in Prague, Czech Republic teaching English. I am a traveling addict (with no need for an intervention)
I have been happily infected with an incurable case of Wanderlust. I had always traveled a lot with my family growing up, along with two study abroads to Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago during college. In September of 2013, I took a spontaneous trip to Croatia on a whim that changed my life. There is always those things you want to do, but you’re scared and fearful, and then something just clicks in your brain and it all seems right in that very distinct moment. That’s exactly what this trip did to me. I felt I was already living the dream. I was happy living in Newport Beach, California with a great job and a great life. But I always wanted MORE, and questioned myself, could I be even happier? Traveling makes me happy, really, really happy. Whenever I return from a trip, I could never explain the feeling to someone who doesn’t travel. So I decided to take a trip where I didn’t have to “return” anywhere. Booked my one way ticket to Europe, and here I am almost two years later. I haven’t regretted one decision I’ve made…… well, maybe that one night in ..ahhh…nevermind…that’s another story for another time. 44 countries down, countless plane/train/bus rides later…. and still plenty more to explore.
Describe the moment you fell in love with travel in as much detail as possible. Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see, smell, hear? Transport us to that moment.
It started at young age for me. The sense of adventure has always been in my blood. I think the most defining moment and sense of lust began after my first study abroad trip to Brazil in college. I was with about 30 other students from my university, including a few of my best friends. We went to Sao Paulo, Rio De Janiero, and a tiny town called Parachi. It was the first time I had traveled without my parents, so that really meant something to me. A sense of pride to be on my “own”. What I encountered was a rich culture with a unique language. I ate the most wonderful food like Churros and Banana Fritas, and Acai bowls galore ( mind you this was in 2007 rightttt before this superfood got its fame). Anyone that knows me knows that I love my food! I have one fond memory that is still very vivid in my mind. We are exploring a small village outside of Parachi and we took a hike through the rainforest with waterfalls to end up in a little tropical beach paradise. My good friend got sea urchins stuck to his foot as he tried to climb to the top of a massive rock for a good picture. He was treated by the local people with what they called their “local remedy” of drinking a special green tea and herbs, and well ….we really don’t know what else was actually in this. I went with him to the Brazilian hospital after we returned just to make sure he was ok. And by “hospital” I mean a shaq with poor conditions in what felt like the middle of nowhere Brazil. I remember this day like it was yesterday…. and it was almost 8 years ago.
Where is your favorite place in the world? What stands out about this place that makes it your favorite?
This is hands down the hardest question to answer. It is so unbelievably hard to make a decision because each place I visit is special in its own way. The people, the time in your life, the experience, the food… I mean soooo many things factor in on a decision like this. BUT I’m going to give you a few because honestly it is impossible to choose just one!
- Favorite country: Croatia, because it changed my life. An unexpected trip to Croatia is what gave me the courage to move to Europe. If you haven’t ever had the adriatic sea’s grilled squid, you would also know why 😉
- Favorite city: Istanbul. This city truly is where the east meets the west. The energy , the vibe, the eclectic mix of cultures, it’s just a happening city in an amazing country that I think is underrated.
- Most interesting city: Jerusalem. I don’t even know where to begin with Jerusalem. I will say it’s so intriguing due to its clash of cultures all living amongst each other. Walking in the old quarter and passing an orthodox jew, a muslim, a christian, a tourist, and an israeli female police officer carrying a machine gun at the age of 18. Interesting to say the least…
- Favorite Memory: Zakinthos, Greece. An unplanned and uncoordinated visit turned out to be the most unforgettable memory I will always cherish for many reasons. Sometimes no plans are the best plans! To explain in detail about this memory would require me to write a novel..so I will save you on that 🙂 But I do have a youtube video with some of the highlights there. You can find a link to my Youtube channel below.
- Place I will never get tired of going: Italy. I always have an amazing time here and I simply can’t get enough of visiting Italy.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from traveling? How has learning this lesson helped you in your life?
Patience, understanding and acceptance. I am probably the most impatient person you will ever meet. There are countless lessons, but the most important virtue I will take away from my travels is to have better patience. A good friend that believed in me to travel more always said “ It’s not right or wrong, it’s just different” and this really speaks to me. Just because one nation does it one way and another does it different, doesn’t make one right or one wrong. Accepting this and understanding it has given me more patience when things do not go my way to be ok, move on, and more importantly learn from it.
Have you ever traveled solo? If so, what was the best part of the experience? If you haven’t, why not?
Yes, but not as often as you might think. I know everyone is gung ho these days on “solo travel”, and I certainly encourage everyone to do so if you can. But I really enjoy going with one or two other people, you can split costs and something I have learned is that the memories you create are sometimes better when shared. I also really enjoy group tours like topdeck or contiki because it’s almost a combination of both. You can go “solo” but you meet others and start new friendships, actually I would say you create more of a “family” all over the world. I have traveled by myself to usually meet up with people , and perhaps for a day or two I am on my own. I must admit I really enjoy these times, no commitment, no one to please, you can literally do WHATEVER YOU want to do. For most people those moments are far and few between, so I think It is nice to mix it up a bit and do both if you can.
If you could give one piece of advice, about anything, to a large group of people, what would it be?
JUST DO. Just do whatever it is you want to do and whatever it is you love. Belief and self-confidence are two very important qualities to acquire.
Be sure to check in every Friday to meet other awesome women travel bloggers and future friends! If you follow a female travel blogger that you love, please send suggestions my way so that I can reach out to her! If you are interested in being featured yourself, please shoot me an email: [email protected]