Joy Meets…

Learn to expect the unexpected. A typical travel blog documents the places explored, adventures experienced, but not about the people we met along the way. You briefly see names of fellow travelers written in our entries but do not entirely understand who they are. Thus, in the spirit of the unexpected, this page is dedicated to people I’ve met along the way, fellow travelers turned friends and confidants. I have asked each of them to answer the following questions about travel, in turn illustrating their stories:

  1. What is the most important thing you have learned/gained from traveling?
  2. What inspires you to travel? Or, why do/did you decide to travel?
  3. What is your favorite travel memory or story?
  4. What is one place/activity on your ‘bucket list’?
  5. What place or experience surprised you the most while traveling?
  6. If there was one thing you could not travel without, what would it be?
  7. Where did we meet?

Let their stories inspire you as much as they have inspired me!

unnamedJoy Meets…Anne from California

1. Traveling is my way of learning about the world, but in doing so I end up learning just as much about myself. I’ve written a whole post on the “30 Things I Learned From Travel.” (link:

If I had to boil it down, I’d say this: things aren’t so important. People (and experiences) are.

2. It may sound completely obvious, but the entire world inspires me to travel. Each trip fuels forward my inspiration for the next. They say you should keep pursuing what you love (that may be untraditional..) until you “get it out of your system.” I’ve found, with travel, the more you do it the less you get it out of your system. The more you see, the more you realize you haven’t seen.

I didn’t really choose travel, it chose me. Once I found something I valued that much, there was nothing that could stop me from continuing to make it a part of my life. It’s now become a large part of not just why or where I live, but how I live.

3. I have so, so many — as any traveler will tell you. The greatest travel memories are never about places, as much as we’d like to think they are. They’re about small moments, the ones in which we connect to someone else or something larger than ourselves. One single moment that stands out is the sunrise over the Himalayas in Pokhara, Nepal. It was my first solo trip. The morning started out in the complete darkness, and the overwhelming feeling and scale of those mountains as their outline began to appear with the sunlight is something I will never forget.

4. One?! Some are to see, some are to eat, some are to have conversations, some are to photograph. Dying to get to Japan, Tanzania, Patagonia, and Bhutan.

5. The place that surprised me the most, and keeps on surprising me…is India. It’s my favorite country for this reason.

6. Besides the obvious, I would say my camera. More important than that, an open mind.

7. We met in college (Go Bruins!) and are sorority sisters, but something tells me we would have met somewhere out on the road regardless. 🙂

Ever wanted to balance life at home with life on the road…check out Anne’s motivational blog

1291407_10102597638503436_1284425323_oJoy Meets…Kat from California

1. I think the most important thing I’ve learned from traveling is how to stay positive and “let go.” For all the amazing memories I had while traveling I did have my moments where my emotions were really tested. My first encounter when I was charged double for my hotel because “they lost my reservation” was pretty minor, but at the time I had no idea how to control my emotions. Instead of going with the flow and finding a way to still enjoy my day, I made a huge fuss talking to multiple manager and was still left with a full bill. By the time I was dropped off in the middle of nowhere by a taxi driver in India, knowing very confidently I would now miss my flight to Nepal, my ability to just let go had finally begun to develop. Instead of causing a huge uproar I made a few friends at the local train station and slowly made my way to the airport. Although I missed my flight, finding the silver lining and just going with the flow literally helped me to just enjoy the ride.

2. I’ve wanted to travel ever since I was a kid. After graduating from college a lot of my close friends started traveling and suddenly the idea felt more like a possibility rather than a dream. Although I didn’t have money at the time, that inspiration led me to really starting to watch my pennies and save regularly. Within a few years I was able to make my first international trip a reality. Now what keeps me traveling is the opportunity to see more of this beautiful Earth and meet the many people who walk it!

3. Swimming with a whale shark in Thailand during my open water certification! I had seen large animals at the zoo, but somehow when they are behind a cage or a class wall there’s something almost artificial about them. There was nothing more real than the experience of swimming next to something that massive, with nothing but clear blue water surrounding as fishes swim past you through the coral reef. It is definitely an experience I’ll never forget.

4. Too many to pick from! I think the next thing on my bucket list is a meditation retreat. I did my first 10-day silent retreat while in Nepal, and it was such an incredible but challenging, life changing experience. I would love to go deeper into my practice with an even longer one maybe 2 weeks or a month!

5. How many angels you may meet in some of the most unexpected places. For example I was most scared to go to India after different tales I had heard people tell and the various news on safety especially for women. While there though I met the most incredible, sincere, open-hearted people of all my travels. Traveling opens you up to see that the world isn’t a scary place and that for every 1 bad person there are 10 amazing, incredibly kind people.

6. My camera. I’m pretty bad with writing memories in a journal so I always turn to my pictures to take me back. Of course sometimes you should just sit and let everything soak in, but I can say without a doubt that there isn’t a picture I look at now that I regret taking. Each one brings me right back to the moment, helping me remember the energy in the air and the feelings I was experiencing at the time.

7. UCLA Delta Gamma

Want even more inspiration from Kat, check out her website

22158_942964748946_661616_nJoy Meets…Adam from Canada

1. I was always a shy person around strangers growing up, I couldn’t truly be myself until I felt comfortable around new acquaintances. While traveling didn’t solve this dilemma for me, it made me realize that all travelers are in the same boat and made it easier to open up after the ice was broken. If you are a person in your teens or early 20’s, you learn to take care of yourself pretty quickly once you hit the backpacking trail, as I did when I set out for my first trip in S.E.A. when I met you, Desiree and Carol. 🙂

2. Coming from a 1st world nation as awesome as Canada is like winning the earthling jackpot. Having said that, while Canada is an awesome nation, it is in NO way, shape or form the BEST nation in the world. To think that of your motherland is naive and short sighted. Sure Canada is great a many things, but Thailand’s beaches are better; Croatia’s coastline along the Adriatic Sea is more sublime than Canada’s coastline for tropical frolicking; Germany’s beer and sausage is more delicious; Hungary’s history is much more complex and devastating; Colombia’s people are more beautiful and incredibly good dancers; the architectural beauty of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona is unrivaled; etc. etc. What am I trying to say? Each and every country in the world has a unique strength, beauty, feeling about it and to not go explore and experience that is robbing yourself of many memories and experiences that could shape you as a human being. This is why I want to travel, to explore the world available to us. How would the world be different if Christopher Columbus didn’t go backpacking?

3. This one is very tough. I’d have to say one that you were a part of actually. The craziness night in my life had to be the one where we went to the Snake Village in Hanoi and got ultra wasted on “Snake Wine”. I’m sure you know the rest of the story. 🙂

4. Having traveled to 34 countries now, I’m happy to have already checked a lot of places/things off my bucket list. I would have to say that one thing that is still on my bucket list is to do a trek in Nepal or take the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to the Japan Sea. I just heard of a friend of a friend who went camping on The Great Wall of China. That’s be pretty awesome too.

5. The one place that will always stick out to me is Cambodia. Though Duncan and I only spent 4 days in that country, it was pretty unforgettable. Having spent the past 9 weeks getting hassled for every dime and cent by locals in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, the people of Cambodia were amazing. The atrocity they suffered under the Khmer Rogue a mere 30 years earlier was truly shocking. The fact that the Cambodians in Phnom Penh were so hospitable and genuine truly took me aback. Guys on the bike engaged in genuine conversations and offered their services in a non-aggressive manner. When you declined, they understood and told you where to find them if you ever needed anything. It makes me feel joy in my heart just thinking about it 5 years on.

6. Being a cheeky bastard I’d definitely have to say a backpack. But in all seriousness… It was 5 years ago since my first trip and at that time about 99% of backpackers were romping around without a laptop, let alone a phone. I could still travel without a phone, but as technology grabs a hold of us all, I think it’d be difficult to travel without a computer of some sort.

7. I remember the day we met like it was yesterday! I had just woken up from another long night of drinking at The Rock hostel on Phi Phi Island in Thailand. I was walking to the washroom when 3 attractive girls walked up the steps looking a little bit skeptical. I greeted you guys and you asked me if the hostel was decent to which I replied with great enthusiasm that I was having the time of my life. Apparently that sold you guys and over the next few night a good group of us form and drank and danced the nights away on the beach. I do believe we met up 3 more times during that trip (Full Moon Party, Vang Vieng, Hanoi) and had a blast at every stop. Safe to say that I was lucky enough to make some friends that I’d feel confident saying will be in my life (thought a very small amount 🙂 ) and memories for the rest of my days. The fact that Carol joined my camp at Burning Man last year is a testament to that!

IMG_5727Joy Meets…Mark from Texas

1. I learned that there is so much more out in the world. I knew about other cultures but actually living and being right in the mix of everything was very eye opening.

2. I decided to travel because I would see pictures or movies of other places and I really wanted to go. Never knew anyone that traveled like we do so I just decided to jump head first into it. Now that I have traveled, the thing that inspires me the most to continue traveling is meeting new people.

3. This is a tough one. Well besides the obviously answer which is the day I met you, I would have to say the lost city trip in Santa Marta. Everyone in that group was awesome and seeing the lost city was amazing.

4. The beaches in Thailand

5. Colombia surprised me the most. Everyone says it’s very dangerous but that was the safest place I felt traveling.

6. I couldn’t travel without some sort of camera. I like to show people, especially my friends, that’s there a lot of cool things outside of Texas.

7.We met in Cali, Colombia.

1965063_10101244518087877_1407571547_nJoy Meets…Brieanna from California

1. After living in a state of being constantly out of my comfort zone, I’ve come to place where I feel less apologetic and more proud of who I am, flaws and all. We’re all going to die and our time on Earth is short. Before this trip, I wasted so much money and effort conforming to contemporary beauty standards and presenting myself in a certain way. I’ve learned how to feel genuinely confident with myself despite make face being sweaty and my hair a frizzy unruly mess.

If someone thinks I’m generic, vapid, ugly, an airhead or whatever, who gives a %#@! No matter who you are and where you come from there are going to be some people who don’t like you. There is absolutely no reason to expend energy trying to be someone you’re not. Internalizing that reality has improved my quality of life immeasurably. And much to my delight, I’ve found that the people I’m interested in getting to know are almost always accepting of me just the way I am…shinny face, hippie clothes and all.

2. After two unsatisfying starter jobs, I found a company and a career that I really loved but the hours were exceedingly long and it consumed my life for 4 years. Despite the fact I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of the work I did, the monotony of the routine started grading on my soul. Every morning I would wake up with a growing anxiety deep inside my stomach. It sounds dramatic but I could actually feel my youth slowly slipping away.

I knew there was more to life but I was so afraid of leaving my bubble of security. I felt guilty that receiving an outstanding salary to do work I loved with people I love wasn’t enough for me to feel whole. I was scared what would happen if I left my ridiculously attractive lawyer boyfriend (who treated me like a queen for over 6 years), my beachside apartment, family, friends and dog.

I spent years dealing with this inner turmoil and many hours gazing at travel blogs without taking any action until I accepted the reality that my time was running out. Our window of opportunity to backpack around, stay in hostels and explore developing countries in a budget manner is small and if I don’t go travel the world now (when I’m without kids, a mortgage and massive bills) I’d never do it.

3. One of my favorite travel memories is doing a self-drive safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa and watching my childhood dream come true before my eyes. Seeing lions, leopards, elephants, zebras and rhinos in the wild, a few feet away from the tiny little car I was driving, was more magical and exciting than I ever imagined.

4. Going to Antarctica and seeing the Northern Lights.

5. The overwhelming generosity and warmness I’ve received in poorer countries from absolute strangers has been overwhelming and continues to surprise me on a daily basis. For example, I rode through central Sri Lanka on a “third class” train and sat next to a large family: grandparents, grandkids, etc. The kids were without shoes; many of the adults were missing teeth and had the appearance of leading a rough life. Despite that they spent the entire ride laughing together, cheerfully chatting me up (despite the fact I didn’t know a word of Tamil) and invited me to eat all the food they bought.

6. One thing I couldn’t ever travel without is comfortable walking sandals! I’m currently in South East Asia and will be exploring the area for the next 4-7 months and not an hour goes by that I don’t appreciate my hideously ugly, remarkably unfashionable but damn comfortable Teva shoes I dropped $130 for when I was in Australia.

7. We originally met while going to UCLA (thanks to the best sorority of all time, Delta Gamma) but we also recently met up while traveling in one of my top 3 favorite countries in the world, Colombia!

IMG_5047Joy Meets…Jaclyn from Canada

1. I learned I was capable of putting myself out there by meeting new people and that I was capable of getting by in different non english speaking countries.

2. The idea of meeting new people and experiencing the culture of different places really inspires me to travel but a big part of the South America trip that inspired me to travel there and has inspired me for future travel was the World Cup.. I thought it was really cool to experience something that brought people together from all over the world and I loved going to the games and watching with other people who were there for it as well. It definitely made me want to travel in the future to other world sporting events in different countries.

3. There are so many.. I loved Machu Picchu, the 4 days we spent adventuring with some pretty awesome people was unforgettable and Machu Picchu itself was really amazing but another highlight was definitely going to two world cup games! The first one in particular was so exciting and we met a lot of fun people there and spent the night partying on the beach in Brazil after the game.

4. So many! I guess Patagonia and Greenland!

5. La Paz, Bolivia because it was like they were stuck in time and so amazing with so much culture and just all around a cool place that I wasn’t really expecting to be like that.

6. Gravol, turns out I get super car sick and sea sick.

7. Backpackers Share House – Florianopolis, Brazil!

IMG_0881 - CopyJoy Meets…Radost from Canada

1. Be flexible! It helps to have some sort of schedule but allow for changes cause you never know who you’re gonna meet and want to travel with. Like when we all ended up staying together in Rio! So much more fun having our airbnb girls apartment on Copacabana beach with the four of us than Jaclyn and my’s original plan to stay in a spare room in someone’s house further out of town.

2. I would say my parents are my original inspiration. My mom was born in Germany, my dad in the Czech Republic and they did loads of traveling when they were younger eventually settling down in Canada! They would take my brother and I back to Europe every two years growing up to visit family. But we would always book the cheapest flight into Europe meaning sometimes we started our trip in Scotland or England or Holland and we had to work our way to Germany/Czech from there! Always a fun adventure and my brother and I got to experience so many cultures this way very young. Now that I’ve done some traveling on my own the people I’ve met inspire me to travel as well. They all have such interesting stories of adventures that make me want to see even more of the world.

3. My first World Cup game earlier this year. It’s always been my dream to see Germany play and I was lucky enough to go to two games and spend the entire World Cup down in South America! Definitely a dream come true. Also our boating tour in Paraty! Such a fun group of people coming together for an unreal day of beer, sunshine, beach football and swimming, definitely a highlight!

4. Well now that I’ve checked off the activity at the top of my list (going to the World Cup) I want to go to the Euro Cup in France in 2016! And possibly volunteer if I get accepted. Also a snorkeling/diving adventure, not sure where but somewhere warm with loads of interesting fish and sea life.

5. Hmm, probably how happy and friendly everyone was in Brazil. Before we got there everyone was telling us about the rioting and crime issues but we didn’t experience any of that. Everyone was wonderful, trying to teach us how to samba dance and helping with directions!

6. Probably my travel pillow for MEC (similar to REI in the states). That pillow was amazing for bus and plane rides and even in the hostels! Also earplugs, with that combo I slept great everywhere haha.

7. We met in Floripa at the Backpackers Share Hostel but didn’t really hang out until we ran into each other again in Paraty! Spent a wonderful week ish with you, Fi and Jaclyn in Brazil which I won’t ever forget!

317904_10151220809403709_244331364_nJoy Meets…Livia from Brazil

1. The more I travel and keep far away from my place and people, the more I learn how much they are special. Being far away in a different place/culture is the best thing ever, and the best thing is how this feeling makes me giving the right value for my roots.  

2. What really inspires me travelling is about knowing a different world from mine. I use to get inspired with each single rustic window or even a good talk in a small and unknown pub.

3. My favorite travel memory is about Isla del Sol in Bolivia. This is a magical place where I could enjoy each single minute and beauty. We had to climb a mountain that is 5.000 feet. The best memory was sleeping in the top of the mountain with a really good guitar-folk musicians besides me, after that, the second best memory was waking up in the top and watching the sunrise in Titicaca’s lake. Incredible!!!

4. Hum… my next one for sure is making a road trip along some good roads. But I do have others one, such as: snowboarding some nice ice-mountains, All Europe back-packing, Asia lakes and culture deep.

5. A place that really surprised me was Bolivia. Really cheap and small country with such an unbelievable sightseeing and places. Atacama desert, Titicaca lake.

6. I cannot, never, ever, travel without my diary. It comes with me everywhere.

7. Me and you? oh lord, we met in Colombia!!! In the middle of the street, looking for a way to get to Playa Blanca island. Thanks God he put your and the girls on my way, it was a really good memory of my trip 🙂

IMG_4175Joy Meets…Fabio from Italy

1. The most important thing I’ve learned while traveling is RESPECT! You’ll never live the world in a good way without it    

2. My mom inspired me to travel, cause she never had the chance but I’m also really curious and than I get bored quickly if I stuck in one place 😉

3. I’ve a lot of good memories but I can’t forget when I met Mel Gibson while I was surfing in Costa Rica and when I produced cocaine in the jungle with the narcos… weird!   


5. I was surprised traveling Bolivia.. didn’t expect that much from a really small rich of everything!

6. Obviously…my camera 😉

7. We meet in Banos, Ecuador, I was watching “el manto de la novia” waterfall and Fleur recognized you and Farima , you guys meet before! and than you start to follow me everywhere ;)))