Traveler Profile – Lauren Fitzpatrick
The Traveler: Lauren Fitzpatrick
Where are you from?
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
What’s Your Story?
I graduated from Indiana University in 2003 with a degree in Communications and no clue what I wanted to do with my life. A careers counselor suggested BUNAC and that changed everything. I spent 10 months in Ireland & Britain on a working holiday visa. That was followed by working a year in Australia and a year in New Zealand.
I started to get nervous at that point – at 25, I had nothing tangible to show for myself. My friends were getting married, promoted, or pregnant, and I was still pricing flights and packing bags.
Then I realized that what I thought was a problem actually wasn’t a problem – living an unconventional life doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. I packed my bags again, this time for London, where I got my master’s in travel writing.
During a summer internship with Busabout Europe, I met my now-fiance, an Australian who had recently left his government job to travel.
We lived with his parents in Australia for a year, then came over to teach English in Korea. That was in 2010. Our second contract wraps up in August 2012, so we’ll be heading down to Buenos Aires to kick off a few months of South American travel.
I speak English, American Sign Language (my parents are deaf), high school French, and can struggle through basic Korean.
Why do you travel?
Travel motivates me to try things I’d otherwise never experience. It challenges me to live outside of my comfort zone and inside someone else’s. I could live without travel, but I wouldn’t want to.
I’ve learned that I can start from scratch and build a life. It makes my problems so much smaller to see what people have to contend with all across the globe. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not, but I always come away with a wider perspective.
How do you fund your travels?
I am a working traveler. Taking advantage of working holiday visas has sustained my travel for nearly ten years now. It allows me to base myself abroad, in London or Korea, then travel while I’m already traveling.
I’ve had over 30 jobs in six countries, including carny, fruitpicker, bungee trampoline operator, movie extra, drug trial recruiter, writer, waitress, and (currently) teaching English. That’s why I called my website ‘Lateral Movements.’ I’m moving sideways from job to job, never advancing up a career ladder – but I’m loving it.
Whats your best travel experience? Whats your best travel blunder?
Best experience – all of them. Really. But lately I find myself wistful for the days of backpacking through Europe. Cafes, history, good food, beer, wine – I’ve got really fond memories of Europe. With that said, my time in Korea has been the most eye-opening bit of travel I’ve ever had.
Best blunder – I turned up at Heathrow airport, ready to fly back home after my first 10 months overseas. At the check-in desk, the woman looked at my passport and said, “That’s not you.” It was my roommate. We’d somehow swapped passports and not realized it. She had to get a (very expensive) cab to the airport and I had to go on standby for my flights home. I always check my passport now. Just in case.