Living Strong Abroad: Time for a New Year!


As I was looking through some of my old articles for ideas as to what to write to wrap up this year, I came across this little gem.

I thought it might be a fun retrospective as I never actually published it. It was written just 2 months after landing in Peru. Nearly 7 years later, a marriage, a son and a pretty established life, I guess I definitely call Peru home – for now.

16 Jun 2011
Born to Travel

The World of Possibilities (Photo: Pixabay)

Lately, everyone has been asking me the same question, sometimes rhetorically, “So, you really like to travel, eh?” and sometimes leading, “Do you always travel so much?” Except when they ask it, it almost seems as if they’re hoping I no longer want to travel, that I’ve made my mind up and Peru is where I plan on staying forever. Sorry folks, I was born to travel and it’s in my blood.

This isn’t to say that I don’t want a place to put down roots and make a home, it’s just that I find so much joy in experiencing cultures outside my own – good, bad and interesting. Part of my travel these days is looking for that spot, that sweet spot where I can be apart of the community; participate in community organizations, create my own events, assist with charities and be a part of a growing family.

I was raised traveling; I was two weeks old the first time I flew on a plane. From there my parents, with me in tow, lived for three months commuting between Atlanta and New Orleans. At the ripe old age of four months, we moved to Baltimore. The first time I flew on a plane by myself I was four, even though the legal age to do so was five. My mother made me lie, which I did not do very well.

Wanderlust and Imagination of a Young Girl (Photo: Pixabay)

By the time I was five years old I had traveled to 25 states.

My parents never let having a child keep them pinned down and I hope to be the same with my kids one day. My family always took summer vacations, but they also didn’t hesitate to pull me out of school for a week to travel when prices were lower and more affordable.

We always traveled out of state for holidays. I was on the road a lot as a kid and could read a map by the time I was five. Once my mother passed away, my father traveled for a living and that meant he didn’t want to pay for nannies all summer long when there were plenty of places I could spend some time and get to know relatives or old family friends. I don’t think I spent more than two weeks of any summer from 5th grade on at home. I would return home for a couple of days, rearrange my suitcase and it was off to the grandparents in Las Vegas for three weeks or the other grandmother in Michigan for two weeks – and all the spots in between.

The idea of traveling the world without having a place to call home no longer appeals to me. Right now, I am a girl in search of her home and that means I have to travel to find it. Once I find it, I will make a home, put down roots, but will always be looking for the next vacation, the next escape, the next experience – but this time, with luck, I’ll have someone by my side with whom to share it all. I can’t help it, I was born to travel.

Jo and Her Son O Flying off to Their Next Adventure (Photo: Jo Self)




Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and raise a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren’t wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she’s not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. http://joself.consulting or jo@joself.consulting