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“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Wander (wan·der)  /ˈwändər, / verb (no object): to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray. To go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; meander. (with object) To move or travel slowly through or over (a place or area). To walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way. Origin: Old English wandrian; related to wend and wind.

I think if there is any verb in the English language that describes me best, it must just have to be this. In fact, it is so meaningful to me that I have that quote tattooed on my ribs, right next to my heart. I am a twenty-something self-proclaimed wanderer, traveling the world in search of my next big adventure. I have been living in Córdoba, in sunny southern Spain for the past year “teaching” English a small elementary school in a little village called Espejo (that’s right, I worked in a place called Mirror that even had a castle, fairtyale much?) This consisted less of teaching verb tenses and vocabulary and more of trying to prevent my kids from eating paste and taking their fingers out of their noses. But hey, I got paid to color, play games, and live in Spain. No complaints from me!

I first fell in love with Spain (and Europe) and discovered my love of wandering 5 years ago when I studied abroad for a year in Salamanca, and during which time I backpacked around most of Europe (minus Finland and Liechtenstein). Since that glorious year I have done everything in my power to come back. I spent a winter in Rome, studying ancient architecture and history, a spring break in Peru, and another summer in Madrid, researching in the National Library and then traveling around the UK, Slovenia and Croatia. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that 9 to 5 jobs and cubicles are not for me, so as soon as I graduated from my wonderful college in New England (Mount Holyoke), I filled my big backpack again and flew back to Spain for a year in Córdoba! Now I am living out part 2 of my Spain teaching adventures in Logroño, La Rioja in the north: land of castles and vineyards. Bring on the vino tinto and pinchos, I am ready!

Liz Carlson xx

On top of the Jungfrau in Switzerland
In the Mezquita in Córdoba
In Oxford, where I hope to study one day
Hiking in the Andes in Peru
Random facts about me
  • I gauge the prices of anything in terms of flights
  • I am from a small town in Virginia. Yes, I’m southern. I say y’all and add extra vowels where they don’t belong. I like sweet tea, pork roasts, country music and it takes me an hour to tell a 5 minute story, you’ve probably already heard. I’ve learned to accept it.
  • My favorite countries have to be Switzerland, Slovenia, and Spain, of course! 
  • One time I slept on the streets of Paris because I missed the last bus to the airport. Big travel mistake #1
  • I once bungee jumped in the Swiss Alps
  • My Canon DSLR camera is my right hand; I couldn’t function without it!
  • I have the attention span of a toddler 
  • One time I was refused to board a plane to Norway for Christmas by Ryanair an awful airline. Big travel mistake #2
  • I get really ridiculously excited about history, queens, traveling, Spain and Harry Potter
  • I wrote my thesis on medieval queens, so not quite so random, or maybe even more random, depending how you look at it
  • I prefer traveling alone, but I love having adventures with fun people. Want to travel together?
  • I wish people smiled more
  • Top countries on my to-visit list include Argentina, Iceland, Turkey, New Zealand and Russia. 
  • I have slept in at least 7 major European airports.
  • I am super allergic to peanuts, an important fact I tend to forget, so if I am ever traveling with you, remind me! I have had severe peanut incidents in Spain, Poland, and Ireland-that last one was brutal!
  • Pet peeves include, slow walkers, pessimists, and mayonnaise on french fries. Yuck!
  • I could eat sushi, Mexican food, cheeseburgers and Spanish cured ham all-day, every day.
  • I know 7 languages, 3 of which are ancient/medieval. Who’s a nerd?
  • I have an extreme addiction to caffeine. I can’t function without it. 
  • I’ve been to 23 countries, and I have over 50 stamps in my passport!!