If you had told me 20 years ago, that I would be jumping out of planes and climbing active volcanoes for a living today, I would have laughed.
In fact, the old me was far from an adventurer.
I grew up a shy and timid girl in Singapore. I did well in school, but not in sports or other recreational activities. My family was always supportive but they cocooned me in a protective shell.
Even then, I had an insatiable curiosity for the world. As a child, I went on annual vacations with my family to Thailand, Indonesia and Hongkong. At the age of 18, I went on my first backpacking trip to Australia with some friends. I knew then that I wanted to see the world on my own terms someday.
Getting Bitten by the Travel Bug
My world as I knew it changed when I signed up for a student exchange program at the University of Miami in 2003.
Experiencing life abroad and connecting with people of different cultures opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. I made life-long friends and I also met Alberto, my present-day husband.
I became more confident and ambitious. I believed I was capable of big things. I wanted to lead life large.
Travel became a big part of us as we kept our relationship going despite the long distance and visited each other frequently. After a year of being apart, we both graduated from Engineering school with an urge to pack our bags and leave.
Becoming a Travel Addict
In 2005, we moved to London to be together, and during those days, we traveled as much as we could. We started off with weekend jaunts to France, Greece, Holland and Morocco. But we wanted to go further and deeper.
By the end of 2007, we had saved around $10,000 each and left our jobs to spend three months volunteering in Tanzania. The volunteering stint gave us some of the most memorable times of our lives and taught us plenty of life lessons. Most of all, the experience left us with a serious case of wanderlust.
Making Adventure Travel a Way of Life
Adventure travel eventually became the theme that linked our travels. Alberto and I found ourselves connecting more with the great outdoors than urban cities.
In the intervening years, we set off on extended trips around the world: Backpacking Latin America from Argentina to Mexico for five months, traveling along the banana pancake trail in Southeast Asia, and overlanding from Egypt to Jordan.
But something was still missing.
The tipping point came when I found myself planning our next trip the day we returned home. I knew then that I needed to build a life around travel.
Starting this Travel Blog Changed My Life
In 2008, I started this adventure travel blog not just to share my travel stories but also to build a portfolio.
I wanted to find a way into the world of travel writing. I spent every minute of my free time learning online marketing and mastering the craft of writing. I studied everything from SEO to social media marketing, learned from other travel bloggers, and attended conferences.
I started pitching story ideas to magazines and even attended a guidebook writing bootcamp in Guatemala — during which I got my first guidebook assignment.
By 2010, this blog had become a popular travel resource, I was commissioned with writing assignments for magazines and I was earning a healthy income. I quit my teaching job and took the leap to become a professional travel blogger.
Working as Professional Travel Blogger
The rest is history and I haven’t looked back since. I work more hours now than I have ever done in my life, but I’ve never been happier.
This travel blog has brought me to many incredible places like Antarctica, Arctic, North Korea, Bhutan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. Places that I would never have the chance to visit, without the help of partners of this website.
Currently, Alberto and I are based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with our three-year-old daughter, Kaleya (who has already traveled to over 30 countries).
Becoming a mother hasn’t stopped me from traveling — in fact, my urge to see the world has just become stronger. As they say, traveling is the best form of education for kids.
My Mission: Travel to Every Country in the World
After reaching the milestone of visiting 100 countries in 2015, I decided to make it my mission to travel to every country in the world. My quest to travel to every country in the world isn’t simply a stamp collection hobby. It’s become a challenge of sorts.
As of January 2019, I have traveled to 132 countries on all seven continents.
There are 193 United Nations member states at the moment, so I still have 61 countries left.
But I’m in no rush to get to all of them. I want to take my time to explore every corner of the world, slowly and meaningfully.
To learn more about my journey around the world, refer to this page which I update constantly to keep track of places I’ve been.
I hope you will join me on this wild junket!
Since its inception in 2008, WildJunket.com has evolved from a travel blog to an award-winning resource and an authority in the adventure travel world.
It has been featured on BBC Travel, CNN, National Geographic, and Lonely Planet, amongst others. It has also been named as one of the Top Adventure Blogs by Explorer’s Passage.