Portrait of a Semi-Seasoned Traveler

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Portrait of a semi-seasoned traveler is a new, on-going series featuring fellow travelers I have known personally, whether it be a long-time friend or a new acquaintance. If you have a great travel repertoire, or just really enjoy being on the open road whilst constantly planning your next excursion, I’d love to hear from you and feature you. These profiles are meant to inspire, but mainly to define the undefinable – to pinpoint through opinions and memories why, exactly, travel is such an attractive, life-changing experience. Enjoy!
Name: Marjie Woolard
Jungle trekking in  Pavones, Costa Rica
Background: I am from Chicago, Illinois. I grew up with a pilot father who would fly my brothers and I around the country in his Cessna for fun. After I took my first trip on a passenger aircraft at the age of 13, I fell in love with flying and excitement that comes along with being in transit and traveling to somewhere new.
After high school, I didn’t know what to do with myself.. which isn’t an uncommon thing when you’re 17. Between graduation and last month (6 years), I attended three different colleges and worked countless jobs. Nothing I did actually felt “right,” and I tried hard not to settle just to be “safe.” When I watched all of my former high-school classmates graduate and join the working world, get married, or have kids, I would always have that moment of doubt when I questioned if my way of living was correct. Should I have gone to a four-year college? Had I experienced enough in life? I really did feel left out. But then that doubt would vanish when I remembered how much I didn’t want that lifestyle, and, of course, when I thought of what I had accomplished in those few years after high school. 

I am now actually in St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t live here permanently, but for the past 6 weeks, I’ve been living in a hotel. Why am I here? I am in training to be a flight attendant! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and this experience has had a lot of firsts. I am one of the best in the class (definitely a first), I haven’t had any doubts or questioned being here, and I’m learning so many new things about life and about myself. 
At a tiger temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Where have you been to and when? I have been all over the United States, whether in a car, the Amtrak, or a plane. My favorite place is Portland Oregon, where everyone is super awesome and there are tons of unique places to eat, shop and hang out. Outside of the U.S., I’ve been to Costa Rica (July, 2010), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (Summer, 2007), London and Paris (April, 2004) and I plan on going everywhere whenever possible with my amazing flight benefits! Ask me this question next year! 

Most memorable moment(s)? I loved taking the sleeper train from Vientienne, Laos to Bangkok, Thailand. We had our own compartment and I remember listening to my music looking up at the stars as the train rode on to Thailand. I also will never forget spending time in Luang Prabang, Laos – especially jumping into a minty green/blue pool of water at the waterfall park. I also loved eating crepes that I bought off the street while browsing the nightly street market. 

A moment you almost wish you could forget? 
I cringe when I think of the time I decided it was a good idea to walk around Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during a storm and heavy rain. I had so much pride and I refused to pay a tuk-tuk driver (it would have been $1) and walked a few miles from the city to my hostel. Upon returning, I learned that the girls in my dorm were very worried about me, having known I was out alone. They told me how dangerous is could be out there at night and that I should NEVER do it again.

Destination wish list? I would love to go back to Asia and Costa Rica. I can’t wait to go to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji! Europe, too, but I know I need a bit more money to afford it over there because I love to shop.

Marjie and a over-zealous elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand
What does travel mean to you? Traveling to me is a way of life. To others it is a vacation, an escape, but I have always daydreamed of taking long flights to somewhere new, and every time I step foot in a new place or a new country, it totally completes me. Seeing the thousands of different ways people live their life is such an amazing experience. I have taken something from every tribe, village, city or country I’ve visited. 

Ever since I took that trip when I was 13, I always tried to think of ways I could make traveling my life. I never wanted to think of my trips as a vacation and I never did. Real life would always get in the way – I wasn’t getting paid to travel so I needed to work. I tried to get a Bachelor’s degree which just made me miserable because I never liked what I was doing. 

I think being a flight attendant might just be the perfect lifestyle for me. When I find myself thinking about what lies ahead, I am so excited, not only for the job to begin, but also for the changes that will come within my life and myself. 

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