Home ยป Introducing the Travel Wrighter – Podcast Episode 1

Introducing the Travel Wrighter – Podcast Episode 1

 

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Welcome to the Travel Wrighter Podcast where I hope to inspire you to get out there and see the world one episode at a time. I’m your host, Megan Wright, and I’ll be sharing my travel stories, tips, and advice about exploring new countries moving abroad, solo travel, grownup gap, years, and so much more.

Hi guys. Welcome to my travel podcast. My travel podcast, I cannot believe that I’m saying those words. I literally, I never thought I’d have a podcast in a million years. I feel like I got into podcasts like maybe five years ago, and then I completely lost interest. I started out with the true crime ones, you know, like I think it was Serial that was super popular about five years ago, and then I just kind of, tapered off listening to them and now I’ve become obsessed with them again.

But I kind of come at it from a different point of view. I try to find podcasts where I know I’m actually going to learn something and I really love the host and they’re an expert in their field. So that is really what I want to bring to this podcast. I don’t want this to just be some generic travel podcast where I just sit here and I talk about my trip and I don’t teach you anything or tell you any new tips or tricks or whatnot.

I don’t wanna just sit here and be like, “Yeah, so like I went to Spain and it was like really fun”. No, that is not me. That is not what you’re gonna get from this podcast. So who am I and what are you actually gonna get out of this podcast?

Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is Megan Wright and the last name is important because it ties into my name on all my socials. You might have seen my name and thought, why is she spelling right like that? That’s not how you spell that. So my last name is spelled W R I G H T, and that’s kind of where I came up with the name Travel Wrighter. Just a play on my last name and I’ve had that name for maybe about a year now. Before I was called just keep traveling. It’s so lame. I think I was watching Finding Nemo one day when I was home for the holidays or something, and I just said, just keep swimming and just keep traveling. Yeah, let’s just go with it.

But now I’ve done a rebrand. I’m taking this a lot more seriously because I actually want to turn my passion for travel into an actual career. I would always look at these other people on Instagram, these creators that they’re called now, or influencers, whatever you want to call them. and I would sit there and think, wow, how are they making a life out of this? How are they making a career out of this? I did a ton of research into it and here we are now. I’m really serious about making this into my career because travel is my passion and I want to share that with people and give them advice and help them get out there and explore the world.

That is one of my missions about this podcast is just encouraging you to go out and see the world because I feel like some of your biggest life lessons are going to come from traveling.

So where do I come from? So this accent is very American, as you can probably tell. And I’m saying that because, you’re probably like, why are you talking about your accent?

So I live in London. I have lived here for the past 10 years and that is crazy. That’s crazy to think that I’ve lived here for 10 years and before this I lived in Chicago for three years. That is crazy to think in my adult life, I’ve actually lived in the UK for longer than I lived in the US. So I just have this weird mix of what I know and maybe words I say and how I act. I’m very American don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to come on here and tell you, “Oh, I’m British”. I’m not a douche bag. I’m very American. This is a very American accent. That’s never going to change.

So I graduated from college when I was 22. That would’ve been in, oh my gosh, that was in two, 2009. I graduated from college and then I moved to Chicago and I lived there for three years. And then I moved to London. And I’ll talk about why I did that in a bit. So, you know, for only three years of my adult life, did I live in America. I kind of was figuring out how things worked, you know, like a 401k and health insurance and all that. And then I left and I’ve learned  a brand new system here in the UK, but I feel like I’m kind of getting ahead of myself there.

Where I Grew Up

Right. So let’s just like back it up and let’s start from the beginning. So I am from the state of Ohio, which is a super random, Has anyone actually been to Ohio that is listening to this podcast? Probably not. Would I recommend going there? Maybe, you know? Okay. It was a great place to grow up and I loved having my family all around me where I grew up. You know, no more than two streets away from my grandparents my entire life, which was just like incredible. And I had my cousins and I had all the kids from the neighborhood to play with because I grew up in a really tiny village.

It was about 1000 people, and we had one stoplight and a Dairy Queen and a post office. It was a small town guys, small town America. So I guess if you ever want to travel to America and you want that real small town feel, message me and I will tell you where I’m from and I can let you know, and you can go there and you can really experience the real America.

How My Love for Travel Started

So I grew up in this small town with a single mom. Shout out to mom. Love you. She’s amazing. I had no siblings. I was an only child. And I feel, you know, I had a lot of fun growing up there as a kid. But I just always kind of knew in the back of my mind I didn’t fit in. And I would say it was my mom who actually got me really into travel and really got me out there to see the world from a young age.

Because she was a young mom. She had tons of energy and was wanting to get out there and explore the world. And I was going along with her and we were every year (maybe this sounds lame to you Europeans who can go off to all these different countries) but my mom and I, every year we would go to Myrtle Beach and we would get a little apartment by the beach and we would just stay there for the week and just enjoy ourselves.

I think that is when I really started to get into travel. And then one year my mom took me on a surprise trip to Disney World. Oh my gosh. I was so pumped, guys. So I think this was the first time that I was flying and she took us on, I think it was two flights that we had to take and she wouldn’t tell me where we were going.

And we got on the first flight. And then the second one, I kind of looked up at the screen and I saw Orlando and I went nuts. I was so excited. And we went to,  I mean, we went to all the parks, but then we went to this one park called Epcot, and if any of you guys have been to Disney World, you’re gonna know that Epcot is all about the world basically.

And they have the global, around the world, part of Epcot, where they have these makeshift countries all set up. It’s insane. You can go to London, you can go to the UK, you can go to France, you can go to Germany, to Canada, and it’s all set up in like this theme park and I think that is really what sparked my interest in international travel.I was like, oh my gosh, I have to get out there and see the world.

And then senior year rolls around in high school, so that’s when we’re about 18 years old. 17, 18 years old. And in America we have things called the homecoming dance or prom. It’s kind of all the same thing. And I remember one of my cousins was getting married in Baltimore that weekend and my mom was like, Oh, you know, I know it’s your homecoming, so do you want to do that or do you want to go to Baltimore?

And I was, Yeah, I wanna go to Baltimore, like screw homecoming. I think that’s when I really knew, and maybe my mom probably also knew okay, she’s really into traveling. I’m not into the typical things that people from my hometown are into. I want to get out there and see the world.

I did not miss homecoming one bit guys. .So that’s where the travel bug set in and where I grew up. Again, not knocking where I grew up is a great place to grow up. I still have some really great friends and great people in my life to this day who support me from there, and I am so, so, so grateful for that.

Ohio is just not where I want to live. I want to live somewhere else. I want to live abroad, and that’s why I live in London.

College Life and Studying Abroad

So then flash forward to college. I went to this university in Ohio called Miami, and this is gonna be confusing, but don’t get it confused with the Miami in Florida has nothing to do with that.

It is called Miami because it is named after the Native American tribe in Ohio. So it’s called Miami University of. And they have this study abroad program there called MUDEC. It stands for Miami University Dolibois European Center, and it is based in Luxembourg. It seems very random, but they chose that because Luxembourg, if you know, it’s just a very central European country and it’s super easy to travel around Europe, interrail around Europe when you’re there.

So every semester they send about 100 kids to go take classes at the Miami University Center, which is located in Differdange Luxembourg, and it’s in a chateau that they’ve had for years. I think it’s like 25 years here. Recently they just celebrated, and before that, they actually had their program based out of Luxembourg City.

So now it’s based in Differdange and that is where we took classes. There was about a hundred kids there and they bring in professors locally, but then they also fly professors over from the actual university in Ohio. So it’s a really cool mix. We don’t actually take classes with other Europeans, it’s all just us together.

What was really cool about it is that we stayed with host families, so I was so lucky with mine. Some of my friends did not have the best host families, but I had the best host family ever. My host mom and then my two host siblings. They were awesome. And then it was myself and one of my other friends from the university that stayed there. So she had two students that she hosted. I actually saw her a week ago when I went to Luxembourg for work. So I’ve kept in touch with her all these years. It was such a cool experience. And when I went to Europe, that just kind of opened my eyes to the experience and Europe and all the possibilities that, you know, I could live somewhere else.

I could go to all these places and see all these different countries. Experience all this cool stuff. So, you know, then I just built upon the travel bug.

Post College Life in Chicago

So then we graduated from college and I moved to Chicago and a lot of students from Miami actually moved to Chicago. I really had that support system there with me and it was just an extension of college, so much fun. I love Chicago. I highly, highly, highly recommend that you go visit there. In the States, I feel like a lot of people overlook like the middle bit. People will usually go to New York or somewhere in Florida or California, but then the middle bits are forgotten.

I would say Chicago, it should be 100% at the top of your list. Do not go in the winter. You will die from the cold. There will be blizzards, trust me. But if you go in the summer, it’s just like the city is so cool. It’s unlike any other. So I moved to Chicago and I was having the time of my life.

But okay, I’m gonna be honest here. So in the Midwest, the Midwest is a part of the US where I’m from that’s where Chicago and Ohio and all that are in the Midwest. People tend to settle down a little bit earlier than other places, for example on the East coast or the west. So I was about 26 years old, so I moved there when I was about 22, 23, and I was 26 years old, and literally all of my friends were getting engaged or getting married, and I was just like, hmm, this is not for me.

Moving to London

I still need a little bit of adventure in my life. So I spoke to work. I am actually an accountant. That is my job. Please don’t stop listening because I’ve said that, because that is such a conversation stopper lol. People are like, What do you do for work? I’m like accounting and hmm, crickets. So I’m an accountant and I worked for one of the Big four, and they actually have a program where you can go do a secondment and basically they send you over to one of the offices wherever you want to go in the world for a couple years to work there and just get some experience. It’s a really cool program that they offer.

So, you know, I was 26. Everyone was getting engaged, I was getting a bit restless. I wanted to go out and see the world still. So I went to work and I said can I maybe do a rotation to London? I knew I wanted to go to Europe somewhere. I don’t speak any other languages, and I actually really enjoyed London when I visited.

I actually forgot about this, I did an international training with work when I had graduated from college. So you had to apply for this, but they sent a group of the new hires out to Rome for a couple weeks and we took our induction training there and I met these three girls from London and we hit it off like we got on like a house on fire, and they introduced me to all their British friends who were over from the London office as well.

Well, not the London office, like all the offices in the UK and I just remember I fit in with them so well. I was like, Oh my gosh, I wanna live in the UK one day. Like these are my people. And yeah, so I went to my boss at work and I was like, I really want to go to the London office, but oh my God, I forgot about this.

I also still had this like thing in the back of my head about Ireland. I completely forgot about this. So my friend and I actually went on a trip to the UK and to Ireland, and I did a little office tour there so I could meet people and see what it was like. And I mean, I ruled out Dublin pretty quickly after that because it was just too small and I felt like I was gonna get bored and I picked London.

Were like, yep, you can go you just have to stay one more year. So that was three years in Chicago, and then they sent me off on this two year secondment. It was only supposed to be two years, and then I was supposed to come back to Chicago. Weirdly, that never happened because I have been here 10 years now.

Life and Visa Issues in London

But I’m gonna tell you what happened to me when I was here, because this has inspired one of the big topics that I’m actually going to be discussing on this podcast, which is how to take a year off to travel and go see the world. Book a one-way ticket and just go for it. So when I first got over to London, before I went, I spoke to my friends at work who had done this before and they said, just go over there, get the visa, you stay for five years and after five years you can get your residency. That just means that you don’t need a visa to work anymore. And then after six years you can get your citizenship.

And I’m like, Yeah, cool. That sounds great. So I have my options. If I want to come back, I can. If I want to stay, I can. I went to London and I didn’t tell work that I had this plan in the back of my head where I might want to stay longer because you get perks from when you’re on secondment as opposed to if you just quit.

When we’re an employee there, you get a flight home a year to check in with the home office and see your family and you get your taxes done. My Americans listening to this will know what a pain that is. So, you know, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to stay long term. So I was like, okay, I’ll just go on the two year secondment.

One year into being in London, we were doing our visa checks, just our standard visa checks where they make sure that everything’s still up to date and all that. And as the lady is handing me my visa back, she’s like, Okay, yep, this is all good. But just reminding you, the visa that you’re on, as you know, none of this time counts towards indefinitely to remain and after five years you have to leave the country.

And I was like, Say what? And she was like, wait, you don’t know this? And I was like, No ma’am, I do not know this. And she was like, Yeah, they changed the rules in 2011. I went over in 2012, right? They changed the rules for the visa that I was on in 2011, whereby none of it counted for indefinite leave to remain, which is residency or citizenship.

And you can stay five years on it if you want, but if you want to leave. After five years, well, you have to leave after five years, but if you want to stop the visa anytime before that, you have to take what’s called a cooling off year, which means that you cannot work in the UK for an entire year. And I was like, Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?

Deciding to Take a Gap Year at 31 Years Old

At that point I was loving London. There was absolutely no way I was leaving early or at the two years. I just knew that. So you know, I sucked it up and I just stayed on the visa and I didn’t think about it until about year four when I knew my cooling off year was coming up and I was like, What am I gonna do?

Work knew about this too. Actually, this was a problem with a lot of the expats. A lot of us ended up staying on longer for about five years. And then they literally just had to send us packing after the five years. That was kind of like a huge issue. So it was my fourth year in London and I was like, Okay, what am I gonna do?

Am I just going to transfer to another office for a year and then just come back? Because the London office was like, Yeah, just do your cooling off year, come back and then you can just start over and we’ll put you on the right visa and whatnot. But then I was starting talking to my friends and they’re like, wait, you have to take a year out?

And in the UK I bet in like a lot of countries in Europe, it’s very normal for people to do what’s called a gap year when they graduate from college. So it’s in between college and starting their job. They do what’s called a gap year and they just go traveling for the entire year before they have to start real life, right before they have to start their job.

A lot of my friends were telling me to go traveling for a year, do a gap year like you never did one when you were in America. Why don’t you just do that? And I was like, that is a really good idea. So I took the entire year before that to save up and plan, and at the end of the year when I had to leave, I booked a one way ticket to Southeast Asia and I just traveled for an entire year.

It was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life, and this is going to be one of the main topics that I discuss on this podcast, is sharing all the advice that I learned from that year off. And I am going to encourage you to do the same. I know mine was a bit forced, but looking forward, I’m gonna do it 100%.

I’m gonna do this again in a heartbeat. This year off was one of the most incredible years of my entire life, and I’m going to talk to you about how I planned it, how I saved up enough money, how I planned what I was going to do when I got there, how I made friends, and I went solo, guys.

So I think maybe a lot of people have this dream, but they’re scared because they’ve never done solo travel before and they just don’t know what to expect. And maybe you have people in your ear saying, Oh no, this is so irresponsible. Don’t do this. This is dangerous or whatnot. No, I’m going to talk you through all this. I’m going to walk you through step by step exactly how I did this myself, because I want you to get out and do the same thing because trust me, this is going to be one of the best things that you do in your entire.

Topics Covered on My Podcasat

Advice on Moving to London

So the other topic that I want to cover is, it might be kind of obvious, but it is how I move to London and what it’s like being an expat here. And if you want to do the same, exactly how you can do it, and just sharing all my tips and my advice. I feel like a lot of this is just common sense to me now because I’ve been here so long, but it’s really not like I’ve been here 10 years.

I look back over it the past 10 years. There is so much that I’ve had to learn and I feel like I take a lot of it for granted because I have been here so long. This is stuff that people really want to know. So I could talk for days about things like how to get a visa. Which visas are there, Which one do you need, which ones you want to avoid. Life lesson learned personally there. How do you find a flat in London? How do you open a bank account? What are the jobs that you can find that will give you the best chance of sponsorship? All of that I really want to cover in this podcast.

Discussing Destinations and Travel Stories

And the other topic that I wanna cover, I feel like it’s probably pretty self-explanatory, but it’s about all of my trips that I take and sharing what I’ve learned, where I went, what the experience was like with you guys.

Like I said at the beginning, I’m not going to get on here and be like, Yeah, Spain was really hot and it was like a good beach. Like, no, I’m going to get a little bit more detailed than that. I’ll tell you where I went, where I went to eat, what are the cool foods that are local to the place that you’re going that you need to try.

What are some really good tours maybe that I went on. What are the top sites that you need to see.  But I’ll also give you some really insider hints and tips from what I learn. The other topic that I will probably cover sometimes is going to be how I am turning this travel passion of mine into a career.

How I’m Turning My Passion for Travel Into a Career

Like I said at the beginning of the episode, I am an accountant and while I appreciate having this very steady job, it’s obviously not the most fun career in the entire world, right? So I want to turn my passion for travel into an actual career, and I wanna take you on the journey with me. So I set up my Instagram back in 2017.

That was when I took that year off, that forced year off, but ended up being the best year of my life and I kind of just did it on the side for fun, and I told my friends, If I get one free thing out of this, it will be worth it. That is not the attitude that you need when you’re actually wanting to turn this into a career.

So obviously when I first started out doing this, it was just kind of for fun, but then as I kept seeing this kind of creator influencer world turn into a bigger and bigger deal, like guys, it is a billion dollar industry, right? Companies literally set aside a marketing budget to just focus on influencer marketing.

And then another part of this is content creation. So if your account isn’t that big, but you still make really cool videos and you’re really good at making the reels on Instagram or the TikTok videos, you can do what’s called content creation. So you can create these videos or this content for the brands to use on their pages.

So that’s what I’m gonna lean into when I first start. But then I also have a travel blog that I’m trying to get up and running, and I have this travel podcast. So I’m just going to take you along on the ride and teach you everything that I learn along the way, because since I started my Instagram in 2017, I’ve kind of just been watching and learning and researching tons from other creators and I feel like there’s a lot of stuff that I could share with you guys that could be really helpful.

So thank you so much for listening to my very first podcast and just coming along on this journey with me. I hope now you know a little bit more about me and what you can expect from this podcast.

I’m going to be releasing a few new episodes soon, so just be on the lookout for that, and I hope you’ll just keep listening and tuning in.

Thanks guys.

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