When I first started this blog, it was to be a record of my travel stories and photos for myself, to share with my friends and family back home. As it grew, it became a well-nourished child, taking from me every ounce of attention and instilling my desire for its healthy future. I wanted to tell good, interesting, sometimes humorous stories with vivid images, and I hoped you’d all like them enough to sign up, come back and read more.
I still do.
What I never did intentionally, however, was be inspirational; it never even crossed my mind. Yet that’s what I hear from so many of you on the street, via email, and in your post comments – that I’ve inspired you in some way, some how. I hoped you’d travel, too, of course, and dip your feet into unknown waters, but I never considered my words could be the inspiration you needed to do so.
Today in class (I’m now in my first week as a grad student at Colorado State, for those of you who haven’t been following along) we discussed whether or not all pieces of writing were meant to be persuasive in some way, and I argued not. Now that I’m sitting here writing this, I think I might be wrong. Perhaps I didn’t set out with the purpose of being inspirational with my words, but the fact that I have feels like an accomplished goal. I’m flattered.
This might be the biggest compliment a writer can receive.
I’m happy you’re reading, but I’m ecstatic you’ve taken something from what I’ve given you and sought to make your own dreams come true, to face your fears, to live the life you want.
I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, by Katie, who is a fitness professional and dreamer by day, but a travel writer and explorer by night. Katie has already covered a significant portion of the globe, from North and South America to Europe, Africa, Australia and beyond. She leaves today to embark on a bike ride through India and Nepal. She hasn’t yet discovered me hiding in her suitcase.
Follow Katie on her quest to see the world and seek adventure at Katie Wanderlust here.
In order to accept this award, I need to share seven random facts about myself, and then pass the torch to 15 bloggers who inspire me. So, with a huge thank you to Katie and a proud and humbling acceptance, here it goes:
7 Random Facts About Jessica
-When I feel like having a night alone, I grab a bottle of wine, a bag of Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M’s and pop in Sex & the City (I have the box set) while I paint my nails. Girly much?
-I lived in Los Angeles for three years, where I saw numerous celebrities and never once cared…until Jake Gyllenhaal shook my hand and introduced himself. Hot AND modest? I don’t think any words escaped my mouth.
-I used to do background acting, before I realized how much I prefer to stand behind the camera.
-I got my driving license (in special permit form) at age 14 due to a rare rule set in place for rural farmers who live a certain distance from the local school. Check out my farm girl skills here.
-I have one brother and one sister, both younger and taller than I am.
-The barn on our family ranch used to be a one-room schoolhouse, and my great grandmother was a student there. The chalkboards are still in place, above piles of hay.
-I have a tattoo of the Three Sisters Mountains in Oregon. Find out why here.
15 Inspiring Blogs Worth Reading, in no particular order – they’re all fabulous!
20 Years Hence – Steph and her boyfriend Tony have galavanted around most of Asia, and are currently in Indonesia. Steph writes with a sincere passion for the art, and every post sucks me in from the moment I start until the very last word. That’s hard to do.
Expat Edna – Edna is something of a wonder woman. She’s currently living and working full time in Paris, chasing her dreams as a sports reporter (she covered the London Olympics – I’d say she made it, but she’s too modest!) while juggling her popular blog, constant travel, and a long-term relationship (she’s recently engaged). How she does it? I have not a clue.
Third Eye Mom - Nicole is recently back from an awe-inspiring trip to India, where she volunteered at a school and an orphanage, making my own trek through the fascinating country seem selfish. She writes poignantly about some of India’s hardest hitting truths, including rape, suicide and the like, as well as more uplifting stories that urge her readers to travel, teach, volunteer or anything that might make the world a better place.
So Many Places – I almost can’t wait to click the link when I see a new email from Kim in my inbox. From personal essays about trekking the Himalayas to her popular Dear Life segment where she takes 5-10 minutes of her day to simply look around and be grateful for what she sees, Kim is following her dreams and encouraging others to do the same. Here’s my Dear Life.
Infinite Satori - Though she only posts a couple times a month, every one makes you think, feel and get inspired. Unlike me and some of the other bloggers on this list, I think Satori actually aims to inspire (I could be wrong), and that’s exactly what she does. Her latest post, titled, “25 things I’ve learned in all my 25 years of living,” in particular is worth a read. If only I had such brilliant thoughts and motivating words at 25…Check it out here.
J. Dombs Travels – Jennifer and husband Tim have a philosophy on life I think everybody should adhere to: wild, crazy adventure by day, and a bottle of wine (or three) by night. They’ve visited 43 countries (43!) and they both have full-time jobs. They’re kind of amazing, and you’ll find lots of inspiration on the blog to make it happen for you, too.
KarisAbroad – A fellow lover of Thailand, Karisa is currently teaching English in Bangkok and traveling around Southeast Asia. She has a thirst for adventure and a desire to see the entire world. Basically, if you like my blog, you’ll love hers.
Travel Photo Discovery – Perhaps more widely known as Noel Morata Photography, Noel’s blog is a visual escape into faraway lands. If you’re toes are beginning to itch and you can’t quite satisfy the urge, click over to this blog and go virtually through his stunning images. If you’re also a photo blogger, make sure to check out Noel’s Travel Photo Mondays, a link up for fellow travelers!
Nomad Notions – Jenna is a yoga instructor, fellow ESL teacher and kindred spirit. She’s been teaching and traveling for the past four years, minus a hiccup where she attempted grad school in the U.S. but couldn’t stop staring at her world map. Judging by how much we have in common, this doesn’t bode well for me. Jenna is currently working with some adorable little kids in Taiwan, teaching yoga, and loving life. Her guest post is coming soon.
Sarah Somewhere - Sarah is traveling the world endlessly and adventurously with her boyfriend, Tyrhone. In January, she did something I’ve thought about more than once – drove 3,500 KM across India in a rickshaw (or tuk-tuk, as they’re called in Thailand). How badass is that? Now, they’re calling Mexico home, Playa del Carmen to be exact. Tune in for the adventure, stay for Sarah’s beautiful writing.
This is My Happiness - Jenna likes to immerse herself in culture, art and what she calls “quality travel.” Her blog reflects her openness to experience new things, to dig deep into understanding new places and to share her passions with the world. She’s also an ESL educator in The States, and an advocator for teach abroad experiences.
Mapping Megan – Along with a thirst for adventure and a pretty stamped-up passport, Megan has a fascinating love story. She’s from Australia, her husband, Mike, is from the U.S., they met in Africa and got married in Hawaii. Pretty amazing, huh? Just check out their new site to see what I mean.
AfterGlobe – A year ago, Kimmy and Drew had a harsh reality. They realized they were working away their lives in some form of the American Dream, instead of actually living their own dreams. They made a pact to travel the world….but first get out of debt. They’re currently living in Portland (shout out to fellow Oregonians!), though you’d never know they weren’t already world travelers with as much of this country as they’ve managed to see. Theirs is truly an inspiring tale for anybody wanting to quit his/her job and see the world.
Mish Lovin’ Life – Michelle and her boyfriend Vernor are recently back from six months of globe trotting. They’ve chosen to temporarily settle in San Francisco while they decide their next plan of action, and the journey has been a rather hilarious one. Mish posts almost daily with updates on her life, and every post will cause you to laugh out loud. Sometimes humor is all it takes to inspire, but her blog is so much more.
Peanuts & Pretzels – Josh and Liz are an adorable married couple exploring the world together. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and I love them for that. Plus, any blog with a page dedicated to beers around the world is my kind of blog. Every glass is full of inspiration.
Bloggers, to accept this award you must do the following: a) mention my blog in your acceptance post like I did Katie’s above b) post the award image c) share seven random facts about yourself and d) nominate 15 of your most inspiring bloggers.
Keep on inspiring!
Readers: Which blogs inspire you? Leave a link in the comments below. I’m always looking for more!