As you might have guessed, I'm Natalie, often known as Nat.
Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, I have called Atlanta, Georgia home since 2011.
Although I didn't grow up traveling internationally, some of my closest familial relationships and friendships were with people who deeply cared about what lies beyond our borders. Thanks to my experiences as a child at Camp Gwynn Valley in Brevard, NC, I made friends from all over the world! And a few years later, in 2008, I experienced international travel for the first time. You can read about it here.
I went on to study Anthropology (Global Health) and Journalism at Emory University, then launched myself into the world of non-profit communications work, and later, public health consulting. In Summer 2019, I began my first semester of master’s coursework at Johns Hopkins University for my M.A. in Communication. Since I am completing my degree remotely at a part-time pace (2 classes per semester) while continuing to work full-time, I should finish by early/mid 2021.
One bachelor's degree, a couple of grown-up full-time jobs, and a few continents later, my new mission is simple: go somewhere new each year.
In September 2017, I took my first-ever solo trip, traveling from Paris, France to Corsica to Livorno, Italy. In May 2018, I embarked and successfully completed my second solo trip and possibly biggest trip ever (four countries and three continents!) traveling from Istanbul, Turkey to Tunis, Tunisia, across the island of Sicily, and ended in Malta. In October 2018, I traveled to Switzerland, visiting Zurich, Basel, and Lugano, as well as Italy, where I traveled through Milan, Florence, and Cortona (Tuscany).
In October 2019, I am heading abroad again. This time, I’ll be visiting two new European countries. Between January and March of 2020, I have eight international flights booked (making up two separate itineraries), so stay tuned for more on where I go…
In 2011, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the body's ability to tolerate and process gluten. Wheat, barley, and rye are just some of the many gluten-containing proteins that will wreak havoc on a person with Celiac. Upon learning my diagnosis, I felt incredibly upset and regretful that I hadn't traveled to more places. I was very young, barely 20 years old, and I assumed that this disease was essentially a death-sentence for any sort of exciting international adventures I'd hoped to have. However, with the help of gluten-free translation cards, countless accommodating cooks, Airbnb hosts, restaurants, airline crews, and back-up emergency snacks, I've successfully traveled through several countries without going hungry.
This is an area I look forward to expanding significantly! A huge goal of mine is to share what I've learned and help empower and inform other Celiac travelers, especially women.
WHY GO SOLO?
For a long time, I didn't understand the allure of solo travel.
The first time I heard about a woman going on a massive international trip by herself, I asked, "Why would you go somewhere you've never been without someone to share it with?"
Little did I know, I was questioning some of the core reasons why traveling by yourself is so special. I was also totally missing the point. Traveling isn't solely about sharing experiences with other people. Going solo allows you to absorb the world on your own terms, not through someone else's filter.
Everyone travels for different reasons. Sometimes we travel at different times with different intentions. What we gain through travel can be a deeply personal journey and not one easily communicated through writing. It's so easy to get lost in the "pursuit of the post" on social media, sharing things solely for reactions and framing travel in a self-important way. But that's not me.
My goals for anyone who stumbles upon Nat Goes Global:
1) to help you feel empowered about your travels and decisions
2) to promote more "uncommon" destinations (aka the roads less Instagrammed)
3) to emphasize that we're all on the same journey together - whether you go solo or not!
Where I've been!
Blue pins: Group trips / Orange pins: Solo trips / Yellow pins: Layovers under 24 hrs.