Shelice in Costa Rica at a local school.
How many of us dream of travelling but find roadblocks in our way? Do you try to plan trips but find that no one is available or you want to go somewhere that no one else does? I myself have dreamt of visiting places like Greece, Peru and the Grand Canyon but I don’t like flying. I know that flying is probably safer than driving, but that’s just me. Do you hold yourself back like I do? Traveling isn’t always easy and finding someone to join you isn’t either. This month on Motherhood Full of Dreams Inspirational Corner I’d like to introduce you to someone who doesn’t let anything stop her from exploring the world. Shelice Miller has traveled to many places around the world and many times all alone. I see that as brave, courageous and inspiring. I met Shelice in High School and we connected on Facebook. I’m always in awe when I see her share pictures of herself on other continents and thought, “wow, now she’s fearless!” I asked Shelice to share her story with us, of how she became so brave, what gave her the travel bug and what her travels have taught her. Perhaps you will find inspiration in her story and find a little push to get out there and see the world.
- Shelice, I’ve seen posts of your travel and always wondered, what the story was behind them. Many of us travel to sight-see but I think travel opens so many other doors in our minds. What gave you the travel bug or made you want to be an explorer?
Like you Janeth, I had always been afraid of flying until about 2011. I took my first flight which was a short one down to Atlanta. I even chose a window seat so that I could conquer my fear of flying. I knew I would not get anywhere if I didn’t get over it. And lo and behold, it was not anywhere close to what my expectations were that kept me from flying. Now if I could fly 15 minutes from my house I would. I absolutely love it and feel it’s part of the traveling experience. As for the travel bug, my first international trip was when a friend of mine invited me to go to Costa Rica. Another misconception I had was that it would be expensive. It’s not at all. Traveling also made me forget about the everyday monotony of my life and escape. Once I returned from Costa Rica, I started looking into other places to go, even if it was in the States. The hardest part is finding someone with “wanderlust” who’s willing to get up and go.
- Where was the first country you visited and how old were you? How was that impactful?
The first country was Mexico on a cruise. But I don’t count cruises as part of my exploration seeing as your limited. So with that being said, it was Costa Rica. I was 36 years old. That experience alone set my sights to new heights in experiencing different countries and cultures. The beauty of nature, the architecture, the kindness of people and the humility you feel when you think you know more and really don’t know anything. We don’t realize how much we take for granted or actually don’t have until you venture out to other countries. Once I got back from Costa Rica, I said I would never complain about a cable bill or any such thing again.
- There was one year where you traveled a whole lot, what was that about and how did you make it work? Was getting time off from work or funding the trips an issue?
That was between 2013-2014. When I got back from Costa Rica, I made a vow to myself that I would visit 1 country and 2 states each year. And I’ve been doing just that. I’m a solo traveler so that makes it much easier to plan and go at the drop of a dime if need be. I plan most of my state to state trips around a 3 day weekend so mostly I may only take a Friday or a Monday off from work. My international trips revolve around my vacation days and I also try and plan them close to holidays so that I’m not using so many days. Funding has not been an issue at all. I think that’s another misconception we get about traveling. That it’s expensive. It really isn’t. Planning and research is the key. I like using www.gate1travel.com, www.travelzoo.com, The Flight Deal on FB, and www.taketours.com
- What are some of your favorite places you’ve been too and why?
Costa Rica was one. It’s such a beautiful and humble country. Memphis was one of my favorite state to state trips. It was just so laid back and the food was amazing.
- Are there still friendly people in this world?
There absolutely are still friendly people in this world. Being a solo traveler I can attest to that. When you travel solo, you have to be forthcoming and social-able. On my trip to Costa Rica, I met a travel mate who in turn I went to Iceland with. I met two great ladies on my trip to Iceland who I keep in touch with. On my trip to Greece, I met another solo traveler whom I clicked so well with, we’re now taking a trip to Central Europe together. So despite all the crazy we see on the media, there are still friendly people in the world.
- What is the most eye opening thing you’ve seen?
When I was in Costa Rica and we visited one of the schools there. The children’s schools barely consisted of anything. A few desks, a board, and they just had gotten running water to have a functional bathroom. But you could not tell by the look on those children’s faces that they were deprived of anything.
- What are your tips for travelling solo and getting past the fear of going on an adventure alone?
You are your own best company. When you’re traveling solo, just keep things with you that you enjoy that occupy your time. Be friendly. The world is too big to think you’re alone.
- What are you most passionate about and how does it fuel you?
Making memories. We all know that life is short. If something happened to me tomorrow, which would not allow me the freedom to do the things I’m passionate about, like traveling, I can say I did quite a bit. I experienced quite a bit. I learned quite a bit and these things have changed me and evolved me as a person.