Welcome to Awanderingsole.com– a site geared towards travel, running, volunteering, and free-spirited adventure.
My name is Laura Walker, and I am headed off for an 8 month Round-the-World (RTW) trip in March. Unlike most RTW travel blogs, I can’t really claim to have ‘dropped out of the rat race’. Yes, I quit my job(s) 2 days ago after being gainfully employed for 14 months, but I just got my feet wet in the ‘real world’. Although my About page offers you all of the details, here’s a brief synopsis of what brought me to where I am now.
1. Graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Interior Design and a Minor in Art History, May 2008.
2. Traveled and volunteered in Africa, June-August 2008.
3. Came home with only $200 and to a bad economy, August 2008.
4. Moved in with my sister in Columbia, SC to avoid living at home, September, 2008.
5. Got a job as a designer for a tile showroom as well as a side gig at a stationery shop, November 2008.
6. Obsessed over traveling again.
7. Ran the Chicago Marathon and got serious about planning my trip, October 2009.
8. Bought plane tickets & had the official discussion with my dad on Christmas night, including answering questions such as “What will you eat?” “How will you get clean clothes?” “How are you getting from Kenya to Rwanda?” Avoided heated questions at all costs, December, 2009.
9. Quit job(s), January, 2010.
So that’s where I’m at now. I have a rough plan- Italy, Jordan, east and southern Africa, southeast Asia, and Nepal. I know that I will be heading back to the orphanage that I volunteered with previously, Watoto Wa Baraka, and I have paid for a slot in the Rome Marathon, but that’s about the extent of firm plans. I have decided to run races along my route, not only for the joy of the experience but also to raise money for things that I care about. Check out my Sole Purpose page for more details. I will be posting my training runs along the way.
A Wandering Sole will primarily include my experiences from this trip, however I hope to include information from previous travels. Prior trips include: Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sweden, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Hawaii. Yes, I know, Hawaii is not a country but there’s plenty of great information on it that I hope to share. I often get asked if I’m going to be traveling with a tour group or at least a companion? The answer is No. I want the ability to go where the bus takes me on any given day. I want to be flexible in my plans. And, if you’ve ever tried to find someone to uproot themselves to go around the world for 8 months, it’s not an easy task. Of course I’d love to see some of the major monuments, museums, and touristy things in the places I visit, but I really love to go off the beaten path and truly experience the culture of a place and the everyday way of life. I also get asked, point blank, “Why?” My answer to that is, if you have the travel and adventure bug, you just have to. It’s an overwhelming driving force, that can’t be avoided. Travel for me is like an adrenaline rush most days. Then I get asked, “How?” No, I’m not a trust-fund baby, and I don’t have some rich great-uncle funding this trip. It’s coming purely out of my savings, and it wasn’t easy! I could have put a down payment on a house by now or bought a new car, but frankly, those things don’t interest me right now. I believe this trip will be worth every penny, as my previous trips have been. I’m also looking into other ways to finance my travel habits… hopefully there will be more to come on that subject.
So, my answer to the question is “YES, THIS IS FOR REAL!”