Hi there! I’m Gwen, and I’m both excited and grateful that you’ve found my little corner of the internet. I can’t wait to share with you the tips, tricks, stories, and relationships I’ve collected over the last decade (and then some) of living, working, and exploring in the world outside of my home state of Pennsylvania, USA.
The Road that Led Me Here: Learn more about the inspiration behind Full Life, Full Passport and our mission to help create extraordinary travel experiences for busy people.
My Travel Story
I never imagined how many of my travel dreams would actually come true by the time I turned thirty.
While I had technically been out of the country twice in high school, my first passport stamp didn’t come until 2007. It was then, during the summer after my sophomore year in college, that my friend Cristina invited me along to her grandparents’ 50th-anniversary celebration in her mother’s home country of Panama. There, among the rainforests, canal locks, colonial buildings, and one fuzzy night on a raucous party bus called a chiva, my interest in travel blossomed into a deep, lasting love.
In 2008 I studied abroad in Ecuador and Peru, further tattooing Latin America on my soul, and upon graduation I accepted a job working as a land-based tour director for a major cruise line in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. My three summers in the Land of the Midnight Sun not only gave me an invaluable network of fellow travel professionals and a local’s knowledge of many of the region’s major sights, but also a wealth of information about itinerary management and the tourism industry at large.
An additional perk was the seven-month off-season between each summer contract. I tried to make the most of each one. I volunteered in Peru and Haiti, took a two-month road trip across the United States, and went on two multi-month backpacking trips in South America and Southeast Asia.
By the end of my third season in Alaska, though, I was feeling the need for a break. Those nomadic years were incredibly formative and precious to me, but I also learned that I value having a place to call home. I missed simple things like going to the movies with friends or cooking in my own kitchen, and I found myself getting jealous of acquaintances who were decorating apartments or joining book clubs. Despite constantly meeting wonderful people on the road, I was also lonely and longing for a network of friends who might stay in one place long enough to plan a potluck dinner party or develop relationships that went deeper than superficial chitchat.
(It also didn’t help that I had started dating my now-husband, M, and we had spent only eight days together in the first ten months of our relationship.)
In late 2017, the opportunity arose for me to create Full Life, Full Passport, and I am so grateful that I took the plunge! It’s such a gift to be able to put my passion for creating great travel experiences to use. I love helping people realize that it is possible – and probably easier than you think – to see the world without having to drastically change your life.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure! Please let me know if I can help you in any way, or if you want to swap stories. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Full Life, Full Passport is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that allows us to earn a small commission on qualified purchases through links to Amazon.com and affiliated sites at no extra cost to readers. Additional affiliate relationships include World Nomads travel insurance, Booking.com, Tours By Locals, and GetYourGuide. These commissions help us continue to provide you with awesome travel content, and your support is greatly appreciated.