Kelly Rodriguez was one of the many inspiring women I met at the 2015 Women in Travel Summit in Boston. She has been teaching ESL at an elementary school in Massachusetts, but in October, she’ll be starting new job teaching English online to European students completing their high school degrees in the U.S. She muses about her life, family and travels on her blog, A Lovely Life Indeed.
NAME: Kelly Rodriguez
RESIDENCE: Central Massachusetts
OCCUPATION: Global Educator, former Elementary School ESL Teacher
How have you made your life a “traveling life” and why?
When you work full time, traveling for pleasure can be a challenge. I knew when I was working in marketing that I needed more time to explore; two weeks a year would never be enough. It’s not the only reason I went into teaching, but it’s one of the reasons. I love my job, but I love my life more, and travel is what makes me happy. Luckily, my husband is equally infected with wanderlust, but he is not a teacher, and he gets limited summer vacation, so we take advantage of long weekends. We also pick towns and cities within a reasonable driving distance of where we live in central Massachusetts to explore while on an overnight.
Thanksgiving week is a good time for us to travel, because it’s off season in Europe. Many cities are a quick overnight flight away, and you gain the time difference on the way home to the States. During the summer, we go to Spain, where we have a home in a tiny coastal village in rural Galicia, in the northwest corner of the country. While we’re there, we take as much time as we can to explore Galicia and other areas of Spain and neighboring Portugal. Once my husband takes an early retirement in late 2017, we will be moving to Spain for a good chunk of the year and slow traveling our way around the world as much as possible.
Kelly and her husband, Antonio, in Dublin
Why is travel important to you?
Travel is like a pulse. It is something that makes my heart beat with purpose. The world is meant to be explored. There are people to meet, places to see and flavors to be savored. You can’t take your “stuff” with you, but the memory of experiences last forever. Travel allows me to harness my creativity. It encourages my own curiosity. It pushes me to take risks and to grow, both professionally and personally. Through the unpredictability of travel, I am able to acknowledge and then quiet my anxiety. I learn coping skills and hone my social skills. Travel shapes my ever-evolving self.
How did you first get the travel bug?
I am a fairly new traveler. Growing up, we did not travel, even for family vacations. My first solo international trip was to London. It was the perfect opportunity for me to realize that my limitations are only in my own head. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I can apply the lessons learned through travel across almost every aspect of my life; we all can.
What are some misconceptions friends & family have about your travels?
My family does not understand my and my husband’s nomadic spirits. My family does not travel; they are happy homebodies. Also, people assume that we have much more money than what we have, but what they don’t acknowledge is that everyone has their own currency. For example, what we save in packing our lunch or cooking at home for most of the month equates to two international ticket fares. Some people like new cars or new clothes or mani-pedis or eating out every weekend. We would rather travel.
Kelly and Antonio in Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain
What advice do you have for others who want to incorporate more travel into their lives?
Start small. Explore your own town, your own capital city, your own state. Explore neighboring states, then regions. Feed your wanderlust with travel memoirs and films. Cook through a foreign cookbook. Start a travel fund. Give up something, like your daily bought coffee or lunch, and make it yourself. Put what you would have spent into your fund. Create a vision board, and keep your eye on the prize. Use the free app, Duolingo, to learn a new language. Join a Meetup group of like minded travel enthusiasts. Read travel blogs. Pin to travel boards. If travel is what you want, make it happen.
Connect with Kelly: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Banner Image: Kelly and Antonio at Playa de las Catedrales in Ribadeo (Lugo), Galicia, Spain