Laura Alexis Banks is a Toronto, Canada naive and a passionate rock climber who is currently embarking on a multi-year journey across the Americas in a GMC Camper van with her partner Jon from Wander & Wonder.Laura took some time out of her busy travels to answer some questions about her Restless Feet.
Laura Alexis Banks
When did you catch the travel bug?
I first caught the travel bug in 2012. I travelled to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks with some of my best friends and it was the best time of my life. Before that I had been travelling as a small child but I couldn’t remember a bunch of it. Travelling with some of my favourite people was unforgettable.
How many places have you traveled to?
Not many yet – I’ve been to various places on the east coast of the U.S., London, Edinburgh and a few places in Costa Rica. The craziest part about this trip for me is that I’ve never been away from home for more than a couple of weeks and now I’ll be travelling for more than a couple of years. My partner Jon is an experienced traveller so I follow his lead when I’m in over my head.
Where are your top 3 destinations?
That’s a toughie. On this trip, specifically, my top destinations are Yosemite Valley in California and Squamish in BC because I hear there is incredible, world class rock climbing there – I’ve never been to the west coast. Thirdly, in January we’re heading to Mexico for a while that will be great for climbing and the month long yoga retreat I’ve signed up for.
I know nothing about South America yet but Peru and Bolivia look amazing – I’ve got to do more research before we head there… that’s a while away, I like to focus on not thinking too far ahead.
Where is the oddest place you have ever spent the night?
In November we were riddled with car problems. Our second breakdown took us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and we had to sleep in our mechanic’s parking lot.
Travelling gives me the freedom to . . .
Reflect and learn in new ways. Being away from home often thrusts you into difficult situations. I like to take the opportunity to learn from these hardships; they allow me to appreciate the good times when they inevitably roll back around.
What language would you like to be fluent in?
I’d like to be fluent in Spanish. I’ve said this since I was a little girl! I’ve been practicing Spanish for about a year now in preparation for the Latin American portion of this adventure – it’s going well! I think I’ll pick it up easily when I get down there.
What will allow you to travel for so long?
Four things: luck, a generous mother, a generous partner and discipline
I’m very privileged to have had good luck finding well-paid work in the pic sector this past year. I wouldn’t have been able to save as much as I have for this trip without the healthy paychecks I was bringing in.
A couple of years ago, I had some unexpected help in paying off my student loan from my mom – shout out to my mom! Being clear of debt makes it waaaay easier to save but I was still saving for this trip before I paid everything off.
Also, I don’t spend a lot. I rarely buy new clothes and I only eat out once, maybe twice a week. Our household’s mantra is “discipline leads to freedom” and that consistently rings true.
Finally, Jon is also well paid, saves tons of money and is debt free (and has been for a while). He’s putting all of his savings into this trip and that’s a huge reason why we can travel for so long.
TL:DR: We have horseshoes up our butts.
Top spot in the world that you haven’t been to yet?
After all of this, I’d like to go to India.
Fill in the blank:
The world would be a much better place without the never ending celebration of egocentric, self-centred behaviour.
What is the best piece of traveling advice you can give people?
Face your fears. Seriously. If you dream of travelling for a longer period of time, make it work for you – even if you don’t have a lot of money. There are work-to-travel resources available that will allow you to see other places with little money saved – workaway.info and helpx.net to name a couple.
You’re the only one with the power to change your life, find strength in that.