ZipKick Bloggers: Heidi Wagoner of Wagoners Abroad
Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
I knew I was hooked on travel, just after graduating from University. I was selected a a National Traveling Consultant for my sorority and spent a full year traveling the USA and providing mentorship and coaching to many sororities around the nation.
After that I had the desire to explore internationally and did. I spent 6 months in Mexico and Central America. Visiting many Aztec and Mayan ruins had me hooked for a lifetime. Oh that feeling of walking through a jungle, to find an entire ancient city in front of you, built to perfection. How could they have done this so long ago?
But what cemented the travel addiction even further, were the people I met along the way. Once you begin to open your mind to the world and explore, you realize we are all just people. Prejudices, stereotypes, and they hype just melts away. Six years later my husband and I lived in London for 3 years and we traveled in Europe as often as possible. That was over 25 years ago and I am still traveling! For the past 3 years we have been traveling the world full-time! Yes, my husband and two kids as well. Now we all embrace the world and its people, currently based in Spain.
With unlimited resources, I would do exactly what we are doing now, but with perhaps a little nicer accommodations. We have so many places on our bucket list and we are going to get to them one by one.
What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
The first time I left my home country to backpack and explore, I was afraid of losing touch with family and friends. This was back in the early 1990’s, so the internet wasn’t part of the journey. It was old fashioned expensive phone calls as well as post cards and letters. I just kept in touch with everyone via snail mail and it worked just fine. A few years later, when I lived in London, I started a website (travel blog). This was 1997 by the way! That is how I learned to share my experiences with others and keep in touch. Of course now we have Wagoners Abroad and it is all about keeping our connections with people.
What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
I couldn’t live without google maps and we use booking.com often. I also use skyscanner or google flights alerts to get the best deals and help us decide where we are going to go. Of course we can’t forget all of the social media apps, which are part of my everyday life.
What place do you wish more people have seen?
That is a difficult question, as my true wish is that people will just try to explore out of their existing comfort zone. My true love has always been Mexico, and experiencing swimming in a Cenote. We have been to over 50 countries, each with their own charm and different flavor of love.
Get Lost! That is the best advice I have ever received and I live by it everywhere we go. When I was in my 20’s I lived in Tijuana Mexico and commuted across the border into the USA every day for work. A local in my neighborhood, told me to just explore the area and go ahead and get lost.
Not to worry about where I was going, but just enjoy the journey I was on. When the time was right, I could then find my way to a familiar place or back home. That advice right they, leads me down small side roads, little back alleys and even happened upon a small village, on the day of their “running of the bulls” in Spain. You don’t know what gifts will be presented to you.
When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
Most recently, we were visiting the Roman Ruins in Merida Spain. They closed for siesta at 2pm and we arrived at 1:45pm. We didn’t have any cash on us and we found out they didn’t accept credit cards. There wasn’t enough time to find an ATM and we were five hours away from our home.
We were just about to walk away, when a local man from Madrid stopped us, he said he wanted to purchase our tickets for us and he didn’t want us to pay him back. We just couldn’t accept his generosity, as it was over 20 Euros. He insisted, as he felt this was a site we should see. We finally accepted, with the caveat we would pay him back. He was right, it was amazing! We mailed him the money and thanked him for his kindness.
I have left my home country 3 times for long-term travel. I did this once in my twenties, again in my thirties and now for the past 3 years full-time, in my 40’s. Each time the desire has been the same. I crave change and new experiences. I desire to meet new people and understand local customs. There is no better way to fulfill these cravings than to travel. This time, it is open ended and we are a family of 4. There is nothing that will stop us from figuring out how to live our dreams!
I am a zipkick blogger because…
I believe in travel and my fellow travelers. I think it is addicting and the world is a better place when people have open minds and are willing to accept others who may be different. I support the travel tools which make it easier on others to travel.
Thank you Heidi Wagoner for being part of our ZipKick Blogger interview series!
Connect with Heidi Wagoner