Why a Travel Blog?
Last week I attended a three day networking conference called The Southern C Summit held this year in Sea Island, Georgia. The stunning Cloister resort was our home base for a few days (see what I mean here) while we learned from creative pros like Steele Marcoux of Coastal Living, Nikki Bazzani of Pinterest, and Rosie D'Argenzio of One Kings Lane just to name a few. Needless to say I'm still going through pages of notes, photos, and business cards.
Conferences are like speed dating; you have to perfect your elevator speech about what you do. I talked about the why of my blog so many times last week, I realized that I haven't really done that here on the blog. Since there are a lot of new people following lately, I thought I'd share a little more about how Em's on the Road came to be and why I'm still writing a travel blog.
Why a travel blog?
An Unlikely Move to Paradise
After completing my undergraduate degree in 2006, I couldn't get a job anywhere. For some reason I was surprised no one wanted to hire a 22 year old art history grad with very little job experience. I applied to galleries all over the country and one finally agreed to talk to me (hallelujah). Crazy thing though, the gallery was located in Maui. I'd never been to Hawaii let alone think I would ever live there. As a recent grad living in my mother's house without many job prospects, I took the leap and moved halfway around the world. I was an art consultant for a contemporary gallery for a few years and learned a lot about the commercial art world and living on my own. I didn't have a lot of extra money while living out there (shocker), so on my days off I did lots of exploring locally. I explored different beaches, galleries, restaurants, historic sites, hiking trails, and more. Having never been there before, I had a lot of ground to cover. If you've ever been to Maui before, you know there are several different towns on the island with their own personality and things to do. Living in Maui got me thinking about the importance traveling on a local level, experiencing your own backyard.
After a few years in Maui, I returned to the south and eventually found myself in graduate school for historic preservation at the University of Georgia. I landed a graduate assistantship appointment as an architectural surveyor where I drove around the backroads of Georgia taking photographs of old houses, cemeteries, bridges, and other relics. Sounds pretty awesome right? I ate lots of biscuits, listened to dozens of books on tape, all while seeing some truly incredible architectural examples on roads long forgotten. During the rediscovery of the my home state, I realized that there were so many cities and small towns I hadn't seen before and that there had to be others like me. So I started to write about the places and buildings my coworkers and I discovered on the road. I realized to my delight that people other than my immediate family were reading and figured that I was on to something.
After a few years in Athens, Ryan (husband) and I moved to Bloomington, Indiana for his PhD program at Indiana University. We've been here for about four years and really enjoy calling this vibrant college town home. Being in the midwest opened up a whole new region for me to explore so with a lot of new subject matter I continued to write about things like a road-trip worthy brunch in Indianapolis, Christmasin Kentucky, and a beer filled weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more from the Midwest!
The U.S. is Cool Too
So long story short, why am I doing this? Because there are so many beautiful and fascinating places to visit in the United States, many of which most Americans don't even think about. We all know about the biggies like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, but have you ever thought about taking a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio or Lexington, Kentucky just for fun? Maybe, but I'd guess that it is unlikely. I hope my blog serves as a source of inspiration for the under the radar destinations in the United States. I'll still talk about the big ones ( I really do LOVE Chicago), but when I do hopefully I can give you some new tips: a new brewery to try or a boutique hotel you've never heard of. I think Americans too often overlook destinations in our own back yard to jet across the pond. Don't get me wrong, I love to travel abroad but the U.S. is cool too and I'm here to celebrate it.
Join in on the conversation on Instagram and share your U.S. travels with #theusiscooltoo.
Thank you to my long time readers for following my journey over the years. If you're new here, thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from y'all so if there is something specific you want to know about or if you have a favorite vacation spot in the U.S. that I haven't covered yet, please let me know. You can contact me here or drop me a line in the comments. Til next time...