Michelle Spences-Lee: Her Restless Feet

During my traveling adventures, I’ve been able to meet many amazing individuals from all walks of life. Many have their own personal stories about why they started their travels and why they keep going. I thought I would start to share some of those with you guys. If any of you are ever on the fence, thinking about starting an adventure of your own, perhaps some of these will inspire you to hop off that fence and start today!

 

Michelle Spences-Lee

When did you catch the travel bug?

I caught the travel bug very young. My parents being immigrants I always knew that there was life outside of Scarborough (Toronto). As a family we couldn’t afford luxury trips so my parents doing the best they could, piled us in a car and drove us to different cities in Ontario and all over the U.S during school holidays and the summer. I took my first big trip at 18, alone, to LA.

How many places have you traveled to?

I’ve only been to approximately 25 countries (I’m sure I’m missing a few quick trips I’ve done) but I’ve been to every U.S state and I’ve seen, completely by accident, all Seven Wonders of the World*. I’m only including that because it sounds more impressive than only visiting 25 of 196 countries, haha.

ChichenItza Merida Mexico 2015

 

Gulfoss Falls Reykavik Iceland 2015
The Treasury Petra Jordan 2011

Where are your top 3 destinations?

This is such a hard question because some of the places I’ve travelled have sentimental meaning because of family or history, but if I were to suggest three places I’ve been to someone I would suggest Petra, Jordan because of its historic archeology, it’s truly breath taking.

Iceland would be my second suggestion. Recently, at least in North America the promo to visit Iceland has been everywhere but for me, my father has always mentioned that he would like to go back and visit Iceland along with Greenland so it has really been in the back of my mind all of my life. Iceland is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, it’s like being on the moon – you have to see it for yourself.

My third suggestion, mind you this is in no particular order, would be Merida, Mexico. Merida is home to some of the most historic Mayan Ruins including one of the world wonders Chichen Itza. What I love about Merida is that it’s not the cliché Mexican resort vacation that most middle class North American families take. The town itself has a small town feel with amazing beaches and cenotes, great fresh food (especially seafood if that’s your thing), and of course history.

What is your favourite foreign curse word or phrase?

Love this question! I don’t know if this is foreign but I love a good use of the word CUNT. In the UK they use it so regularly and I find it so vulgar, I would never say it unless I was really, really pissed. Another one that I find hilarious is in Israel the Hebrew word MANIAC is so bad, it means something like “Fucker” I think it’s the same or similar in Arabic.

 


 

What allows you to travel so often?

Last year I made the very difficult decision to leave one of my dream jobs. I was working at a University for four years and the last two years was as a Coordinator at the Centre for International Experience. It was truly almost everything I wanted in a career but it was contract so every April at the end of the semester I didn’t know if I had a job. Sometimes I would have to wait two to three months to hear if I was going to be rehired and it was financially and emotionally too much so I had to reevaluate what I wanted to do. It had been four years with no growth or stability so I sat down and really thought about what I wanted in a job. Usually I take one big trip a year followed by two or three small local trips; I knew I wanted more so I decided that I should work for an airline. I applied and now I currently work as a Crew Scheduler for a local airline. It’s not a challenging job and it’s not in my field but the schedule is continental (four days on, four days off), very flexible, and I get partner discounts with other airlines. Although my job is the main reason I can travel so often, I am a HUGE budget freak. I really sacrifice a lot to be able to skip town every few months, I’m sure my friends are sick of me – haha.

 


 

Top spot in the world that you haven’t been to yet?

Another hard one! This changes for me every so often because I’m an avid reader and researcher, I’m always looking for something interesting or something interesting is always looking for me depending on how you look at it – haha. Currently I am obsessed with New Caledonia. It’s a French Island in the South Pacific and it just seems so beautifully untouched by main tourism. I imagine it to be like the South of France but with breathtaking skies and beaches.

What is the best piece of traveling advice you can give people?

Don’t be afraid to travel alone. Every day people ask me why I travel solo most of the time and it’s not because I don’t enjoy company because I would want nothing more than to have someone with me whether it be a friend, family member, or spouse to share these memories with but I realized a long time ago that if I wait for someone to be ready, I’ll be waiting my whole life.

Fill in the blank:

I will go see any country that has History

 

*http://www.new7wonders.com/

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