Hola! My name’s Courtney. I’m so happy to connect with you!
My mission is to inspire womxn to travel and live their best lives. Travel is (my personal fav) gateway drug into the depth of self and our world. Travel has been my medicine over the years and now I help womxn start their journey and thrive abroad.
Things I’m especially passionate about/you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for:
- Solo travel
- Free & budget travel
- Long-term, sustainable travel
- Working and volunteering abroad (work exchange)
- Spiritual travel
- LGBTQ+ travel
- Vegan travel
- Travel writing & blogging
My first monumental life pivot was during my senior year of college (2013). I studied abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil the summer of my senior year. I had my 5-year plan set, my resume polished, internships competed, etc, etc. In the middle of my study abroad program, we had a week-long vacation to go wherever our young, naive hearts desired. I planned a trip to Rio de Janeiro, the coolest, most dangerous city in Brazil with a friend from my study abroad program. Last-minute, she bailed or maybe I had just decided it’d be cooler to go alone? Not sure. All I know is I was on a plane to Rio by myself to stay in a youth hostel for the first time in my life.
My hostel was in the heart of Rio, right next to the famous Copacabana beach. At my hostel, I met the woman (or possibly a couple of women) that would change the course of my life. This bold, confident middle-aged Israeli woman with a deep, soothing voice told me she was traveling the world for “I don’t know how long.” She paused frequently to take a puff of her cigarette or a sip of her red wine. My favorite part about her was that she didn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thought about her or what she was doing. I had a “well, shit” moment. Those moments where your life flashes in front of you. She didn’t know at the time, but she gave me the permission and freedom I was desperately searching for.
I came back from Rio a changed woman. I was scared, terrified (yet excited) about the realization I had had. My parents responded with confusion. My family responded with disapproval. And yet, I knew in my soul that it was what I needed to do. I wasn’t spiritual at the time, but I had this gut feeling and a knowing that I can’t explain. I know now that it was a push from the universe and the beginning of a long journey.
That was 6 years ago and I’ve been a nomad ever since.
Some travel highlights:
- 3-month solo backpacking trip through South America (2014)
- 8-month solo backpacking trip through Guatemala and Mexico (2015-2016)
- Started Courtney The Explorer blog in Antigua, Guatemala (2016)
- 8-month backpacking trip back to South and Central America (with my ex-partner, 2017-2018)
- 2-week solo drive up highway 1, California, USA (2019)
- Moved to Busan, South Korea to teach English (2019-2020)
My Second Pivot (2020)
In April of 2020, COVID-19 hit Busan, South Korea and it rocked my entire world. I was on lockdown in my studio apartment in Korea when my mother got sick (unrelated to the virus) and my relationship ended after almost 4 years together. I left Korea and went home to help my mother and heal my heart.
I’m not sure if it was a mental breakdown or a spiritual awakening, maybe a little mix of both, that led me to my deeper purpose. I sat in my room in my mother’s apartment alone questioning what the purpose of all this pain was. In my room, at the age of 29-years-old, I had a rebirth.
I started experiencing radical self-love and came to terms that I had been standing in the way of my dreams for the past couple of years. I had lost myself. But, it’s never too late to rediscover and reinvent yourself.
Pivots are signs from spirit. We must listen and loosen our grip.
I finally came to terms with my sexual identity, took a deep dive into my love for writing, and started writing my travel memoir (coming soon).
Right now, I’m quarantining outside of Chicago, USA. I have plans to (solo) travel when the travel restrictions are up! (destination TBD)
I believe there is purpose for every experience and person you meet. You stumbled upon this about me page, because maybe you want to take a trip or teach abroad or backpack the world, or maybe we are supposed to connect in some way.
Where’s your next trip? If you have questions or just would like to say hello and introduce yourself, I’d love that. E-mail me at email@example.com or a DM @courtneytheeexplorer.
You are invited to join the Explorer community, we have a monthly newsletter each month. What’s included? Candid, exclusive updates (not featured on the blog or SM), travel tips, monthly favorites, and resources. I can’t wait for you to join us!