Mary-Kate O’Toole

The first time I left the United States, I was 17 and with a cohort of similarly-dressed teenagers sporting lanyards—everyone’s favorite kind of traveller. Growing up six hours driving from an international airport, my earliest memories of traveling were stateside adventures—from hiking the Anasazi cliff dwellings in New Mexico to swimming in Washington’s (frigid) Puget Sound. I was (and am) always up for a good road trip! While my first foreign escapade was a quick two weeks, my most recent was 7 months, as I lived in France teaching English.

Traveling is the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding way I’ve ever spent my time, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon—though I’m happy to report I’ve ditched the name tag and lanyard.

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