Inspiring Travelers: Megan Claire
Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure! Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.
Meg has recently launched “Mapping Megan”, an up and coming travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. She hasn’t been everywhere, but it’s on her list!
First off, tell us about yourself.
I’m Megan Claire and I’m an Australian travel-a-holic. My first international trip was a year 9 trip to Japan, however I didn’t contract the travel bug until 2007 when I took my gap year and spent 12 months working in the UK and traveling Europe. After coming home from the UK I started university (5 year Journalism and Law degree), however I couldn’t forget about my need to explore the world! While studying I managed to cross 32 countries off my bucket list, seizing every opportunity to volunteer, study and travel overseas.
It was while traveling that I met my husband Mike, and the one thing we love above all else are the reactions we get when we explain to people that he is from America, I am from Australia and we met in Africa; got married in Hawaii! The stars must have been aligned! We’re now living in Florida, and I’m working through the wonderful paperwork trail that is the US immigration process!!
So it’s safe to say that one of your passions is traveling? The main reason for this website is to motivate people to travel and also to let them know that you don’t have to be rich to do so. How do you manage to go so many places? Are you rich?
I wish! I’m not rich, but I am dedicated. I worked 2 full time jobs (with a few more on the side!) while studying full time in order to finance traveling each university break! I would get up at 5am for a 6am shift managing at McDonalds, spend 2 hours at uni around midday, and then head to a shift working hotel reception from 3pm-11pm. I would then go out to meet my friends for an hour or so and spend an hour studying before falling into bed and getting back up again at 5am!
I finished my university assessments on overnight shifts at either McDonalds or the hotel, and had Sunday nights free every week to be home and spend time with my family. I slept on my half hour breaks at work, and kept a pillow in the car for the times where I had an hour in-between shifts! Crazy right! I told you, I’m dedicated! Plus, once your body gets into a routine your pretty set! I did this for 5 years and traveled for around 4 months out of every year. I loved it! My thought process at the time was that the great leaders of the world only sleep for around 3 or 4 hours each night…mine just wasn’t consecutive!!
Do you have an example of a time when you went on a trip with little money? If so, did it turn out ok? Are you glad you did it?
All the time! I’ve only recently paid off my traveling debt, which I would pay off and then run back up again consistently! I would always travel budget to be able to pay for luxury activities done the line. For instance I would prefer to stay in 6 dorm hotels for a week with strangers while in Switzerland so I could spend $500 on skydiving.
That being said there have been trips I have gone on with very little money to spend at all, however it’s always been worth it because the experience you’re there for is about seeing the country. It’s not about drinking away $1,000 worth of alcohol and sleeping away hangovers during the days. I went on a camping trip to Africa with a group of Scouts and we spent virtually nothing, however we had the most amazing time camping in the wild among Giraffes and Elephants, and just walking the streets to see the villages and national landmarks.
So, everyone is probably wondering by now, where all have you been? You probably can’t name all the countries, but do you know how many there are?
32! I’m having a competition with my dad to see who can visit more countries than their age! I’m winning at the moment, but he does have a 22 year disadvantage! I have a list of the countries I have visited on the Destinations page on my blog.
So lets go back in time a little. your passion to travel had to have started somewhere. Where was the first place you went to? Were you scared?
Although I visited Japan in 2003 as a 15 year old, my Gap Year in the UK sparked my passion for travel. I was extremely scared and extremely excited at the same time. Spending 12 months away from my family and friends was quite intimidating, as was the fact that I had lived at home my whole life and now not only was I moving out, but I was moving to an entirely different country where I knew no-one! However as generally happens I made friends really quickly, and loved the experience so much that I didn’t want to come home after the year had ended!
My Gap Year came at exactly the right time in my life – I grew up considerably while I was overseas and really found myself and who I wanted to be. Since then I have tried to not let fear rule over my decision to travel because I know that if I do I’ll be missing out on something amazing. Fear is a manipulative emotion which tricks us into living a boring life!!
Would you say that it is safe to travel alone? What’s the advantages and disadvantages? People tell me all the time that they want to travel, but don’t have anyone to go with. Is this a good reason to stay home?
Absolutely it is safe, and “Absolutely not!!!!” is it a good reason to stay at home! Before I met my husband I used to travel alone all the time. My friends didn’t want to come so I was going to do it anyway!! It forces you to come out of your comfort zone and it forces you to interact with other travelers. I’ve made some of the most amazing friends while traveling – because everyone is like minded and very open minded, I’ve found it’s really easy to connect with and get along with other travelers. Everyone is always friendly and happy to be there! I remember I checked into my hostel in Munich, Germany, one year and met a guy my age who was about to go out walking around the city by himself. I joined him and the conversations we were able to have- it was like we had been best friends for ever!
Traveling is only unsafe, whether you are traveling alone or in a couple, if you’re not smart about it. Horrible situations do happen, but they’re extremely rare, and, honestly, are just as likely to happen to you in your hometown. Obviously don’t travel into warzones etc, but if you’re street smart you’ll be fine. Being “street smart” includes stuff like making yourself aware of areas to avoid, being aware of pick pocketing scams, leaving your passport and tickets in a hotel safe and carrying a photocopy on you, using only official taxi cabs and so on. The one rule of thumb I have always gone by is don’t ever put yourself in a situation which you can’t get out of…and I’m still here
If you wanted to inspire someone to travel, what would you tell them? In other words, what advise or tips would you give someone who really wants to travel, but who doesn’t think its possible?
It is possible. I started my travel blog with the intention of inspiring others to embark on their own adventure. Everyone has what it takes to travel – you just need to act on it, and you need to truly want to do it. There’s no point in waiting for an opportunity to arise…MAKE one arise!! Otherwise one day you will wake up and there wont be enough time to do the things you’ve always wanted. So do it now. You would be surprised at how easy it is once you decide to let yourself do it. I think fear is what prevents a lot of people traveling, but once you push past that fear you realize that the possibilities are endless – and to hell with anyone who tells you you can’t achieve something or live your dream!!
Do you have any travel plans in the immediate future? Or where is the number one place on your list?
My immediate plans include exploring every edge of Florida! For the next 7 months I have to stay in the US while my permanent residency processes, so we’re spending this next year saving and having amazing adventures on the weekends! I figure between the Everglades, Orlando and the beaches I shouldn’t get too bored of Florida anytime soon! It also gives me an opportunity to work full time on my travel blog and build up some content from my past experiences.
We hope to move to the West Coast (US) next year, probably Arizona, and are planning an around the world trip around the same time to visit my family in Australia.
Number one on both of our bucket lists is Antarctica – however that adventure might be a few years off!
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