What made you start traveling?

I was just emailing the unstoppable family, who were kind enough to email that they liked my blog and to tell me their travel story.

So I wanted to tell them my story, but then I figured people who read my blog might as well hear it too!

My story is partially told in past blog entries:

My most recent entry on travel romance, my entry on teaching English in Korea, and even this one on Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’ wedding in Italy. I figured there’d be something in my bio on this site, but there’s really just the story of this blog.

To kind of put it all together and summarize so it’s not too long a story, when I was 23 I was bored. I didn’t want a desk job and while teaching SAT classes and working in a deli was alright, they didn’t pay a ton and I was living a pretty boring life in my parents’ house in the suburbs. My friends and I used to talk about how we had to make our lives more interesting. I guess before that I had been influenced by On the Road by Jack Kerouac – that’s probably what convinced me that traveling was cool.

I had a couple of offers to make my life more interesting and remain in the US. I could have lived pretty cheap with two friends and one mother in a closet in Boston. I always liked the idea of being different and living in a closet would certainly prove I was not average. But living with someone else’s mother isn’t cooler than living with your own parents and I’d have been paying rent to do it (the rest canceled out because Boston was cooler than my suburbs but the closet wasn’t as nice as my room in my parents’ house). I also had an offer to start a marijuana farm – all I had to do was rent an apartment and then I’d get the seeds and the cash would start pouring in. I’ve always been scared of getting in trouble though so the drug business wasn’t for me.

A friend of mine started looking into the au pair business and so did I. I hated kids but liked the idea of traveling abroad. On one of those foreign jobs websites I found other stuff like teaching English and bar-tending in Vienna.

I didn’t get any au pair jobs and the James Joyce bar in Vienna passed on me but I did get several offers to teach English, either in Japan or Korea. Being more famous, Japan was my first choice but after speaking with a former SAT student from Japan I decided on Korea. My former student had told me the Japanese economy was no good. This was 2001.

Anyway, the plan was to spend a year in Korea and then come back to America and be cool since I had lived abroad and proved I was different. I left for Korea in February 2003, after Valentine’s but before White Day. Then I met my wife in April. She had recently returned from living in Rome and London and I thought that was amazingly cool. She said she used to walk by Rome’s Coliseum twice a day and I said, “I want that.” We got engaged in June with no real plan other than wanting to go to Italy.

I had wanted to get married in Italy but the papers were impossible so we got married in Korea and then honeymooned in Italy. It was a weird honeymoon but maybe we’ll save that story for later. Or I’ve probably already told it on here somewhere. Anyway, that’s what made me start traveling – boredom with my life, the need to prove I was different, and jealousy over walking by the Coliseum.

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  1. Rhonda Peterson says:

    Well James…. some things are just meant to be.

    You met the love of your life…. accomplished your dreams…..bet your not bored…. and even though you don’t like kids, your a teacher. You must like them a little. :o)

    You sure didn’t come running home to your mama and the comfort of sweet home!

  2. James Trotta says:

    There are kids that I like a little but my students are all 18+ so calling them kids might be a stretch. But I do have some cool nieces and nephews.

  3. […] friends are going to take me swimming in the Danube River when I do get there. And, interestingly, the first job outside the US I ever applied for was in Vienna – I sometimes imagine if I had moved to Vienna instead of Korea back in 2001. One day, I will […]

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