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Around the World with Exploding Barbie

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By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

HIT: International Travel

Bitten by the Travel Bug

My first international trip was to the tiny (just 61 square miles!) country of Liechtenstein in May 2013. The visit included a high-speed train trip from Zurich, Switzerland to Liechtenstein, as well as a business meeting and dinner in neighboring Austria. It was only the second time I had flown by myself, and I used to be terrified to fly!

My solo trip to Liechtenstein spurred my husband and I to go to Ireland in March/April 2014, a place we both always wanted to go. Even though the language is shared, the country is almost magical and steeped in so much history. And the booze is good there, too.  Interesting fact: Ireland has both palm trees on the coast and a Tim Hortons in Dublin.

In October 2015, we traveled across the pond again…this time for an American football game. When we found out that the Buffalo Bills were going to play in London, England, we jumped at the opportunity to go back to Europe and see our beloved team (lose, natch). This time, my husband and I took our daughter. We toured London and even took a (very long!) day trip to Paris, which ended up being less than two weeks before the Paris terror attacks.

We are not going back to Europe in 2016, but instead are hosting a foreign exchange student for the school year, a lovely young lady from Germany. Hopefully, not long after that, we will plan another trip to Europe to visit her in her home country. In the meantime, we plan to stay in the good ol’ US of A to show our exchange student a number of American landmarks.

Why international travel?

The moment I set foot in Zurich, I fell in love with Europe. Everything there is so old, with so much history and depth to the culture. I came away from that first trip feeling like my horizons had been broadened; that there are many other different ways of living; that even though American culture is everywhere, it’s not (and should not be) the only culture there is.

Me and my Exploding Barbie Bag – Don’t Judge

On my first international trip, I took only two small carry-on bags for the week. As you can probably imagine, they were incredibly overstuffed.

The one bag, which was Barbie-pink and screamed “Look at the American flying by herself for the first time!!!”, well, it kind of exploded all over the floor of the Dublin airport where I had a layover.

Picture me with my clothes on the floor, re-packing my bags (trying to stuff more into one and less into my Barbie bag), sitting on them so I could get them re-zipped. Lesson learned: travel light! And don’t worry about what other people think of you. 🙂

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