fullsizeoutput_13fNothing else in life gives me such a feeling of deep inner peace and joy than when I’m traveling, creating, or writing. The element I believe they have in common is story and so it is my aim to be a storyteller. I have witnessed the power of stories to comfort and heal, as well as entertain and educate. My mission then, is to put more marvelous stories out into the world-not only by creating them, but by gathering other like-minded storytellers in a safe, positive, and creative community and offering them a platform to share their own tales.

I attribute my love of story to being raised in a family passionate about reading. Yes, I was influenced by the rotating piles of mystery novels throughout the house, but my Grandparents and Aunts were also the enablers of my book addiction—supplying me with a steady infusion of Scholastic Book Club orders and yearly pilgrimages to the public library for Summer Reading Club programs—from a very early age.

But my love of story didn’t just emerge from getting lost in the tales of Nancy Drew or Linda Craig. It also developed from the traditions my family had when someone traveled. As fascinated as I was by receiving gifts of souvenirs such as postcards, grass skirts and boomerangs, I was spellbound as I sat in the living room and listened to the sharing of the traveler’s experiences beyond Santa Clara County. Staring out the front window towards a blue-green mountain range, I would dream of seeing for myself what was on the other side.

Most of my childhood was spent recognizing I was different. I believed I needed to be outgoing to be “normal” but my attempts to change always seemed to fail. I didn’t even hear of the term introverted until much later in life. Through the discovery of Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet”, I was able to switch my brain to a whole new way of thinking. Simply, that it was okay to accept that I felt uplifted and energized by solitary acts—like reading. It helped put me on a course to living a more meaningful, authentic life.

Being an introvert, for me, means a constant managing of energy. Contrary to the popular belief that an introvert is anti-social, I absolutely love getting out and about and having meaningful experiences and conversations with others—but my energy can drain rapidly in loud or heavily populated environments. So, I plan trips a little differently than most. Sometimes, plan or no plan, I find myself drained mid-experience. When that happens, I find a place to quietly sit and wait for the batteries to recharge. And, it’s in those moments when someone will sit down next to me and begin to tell me a story:

• At a Scottish Highland Games, a woman told me of what it meant to her as a child to be raised with dual citizenship with Scotland and the United States.
• In an airport, a man told me of his job for a golf course catching rattlesnakes that were mistakenly eating golf balls as if they were eggs.

When selecting my adventures, I avoid standard high-energy vacation packages and forced-participation group activities. I usually find the best experiences on less-traveled roads or at lesser-known landmarks. As a big fan of history and of science, it’s not uncommon to find me exploring a historic graveyard or braving a winding mountain road to reach an observatory.

I like my routines and a certain level of predictability in my daily living, but when I travel, I somehow accept that there will be things that go wrong, as well as wonderful moments that could’ve never been planned out or predicted. Change can sometimes be difficult, but I love that when I come back from a trip, I’m never quite the same.

And that’s a good, and lovely thing.