Ryan began traveling with his parents as a kid throughout the United States. He says “It instilled this new curiosity in me. It’s always just been in my head that I was going to go far away from home. I was prepping for it all throughout high school, so when I finally got the chance, I leaped on it.” He left home for his first trip out of the United States when he was 18 years old to live and study business in France for 5 months. Ryan has since traveled to France, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Iceland in the last 4 years since he started with is first solo trip abroad.
“Traveling is my lifestyle. I consider myself a traveler and the time in between is just me saving to travel.” Ryan says he’s felt like this ever since his first trip when he was 16. He went on a 2-week Rotary Club trip to Mexico to build houses and he says “Ever since I crossed that border, I didn’t want to come back.”
Like all featured travelers, we asked Ryan what he remembered most from his first time out of his home country. “I think I just remember feeling like a little kid again, ‘cause everything’s new including the language. My first time flying overseas, I had a layover in Iceland. There’s a language to hop into when you don’t speak another language, that’s one of them. A million consonants and vowels, and j’s and k’s. But from the second I landed, everything was new. It was just kind of like rediscovering that curiosity about the world that you lose after you’re a little kid.”
When we asked Ryan what it was like landing in Paris for the first time as a solo traveler, he said: “Good, ‘cause it was a goal of mine for so long, it felt like it was an accomplishment. I was feeling lonely on the flight because I just left everything I knew behind, so I was second guessing myself, but then once I landed, I knew it was the right thing to be doing at the time. So, I just kind of went in stride with my high school French practice and got myself in a hotel and then slept for 2 days straight.”
Ryan then spent 5 months traveling throughout France, and other parts of Europe in between being a business student of École Supérieure De Commerce Et Management. His advice to new travelers: “Let the things that go wrong roll off. No matter if it’s just national travel or international travel there’s definitely going to be somethings that don’t go according to plan. If you focus on them, they can ruin your trip, but if you just kind of let them role off, you’ll realize they aren’t that big of a deal as you thought they were in the moment and you will enjoy the trip better. Case and point: Last time I was in Europe, we were going to go to Ireland. Ironically, the day we were supposed to fly out was also the day that Ireland was hit by a hurricane for the first time in years, cause very rarely does a hurricane curve up to Ireland from the Atlantic. So, we had woken up at like 3:30 in the morning in Paris, because our hotel was downtown and the airport was quite a ways out so we needed to get ready and get out there and be 3 hours early because Ireland is not part of the Schengen agreement so it’s still considered an international flight. I checked the news and they said the hurricane was still fine and I checked my flight and it was still good. By the time we got to the airport they had told us it was cancelled. But then it went back and forth for about 2 hours until they told, okay, our flights going to be the last one in. So we did end up getting to go, and instead of sitting there and letting the initial ‘the flights been cancelled’ ruin our trip, we were just kind of, you know, waited it out to find out what happened. It’s a flight I won’t forget because it was one the most turbulent flights I’ve ever had. We had to do an in-air stall because the airport was starting to close. So we had to circle the island for like about 45 minutes in the start of the hurricane, so that was a lot of turbulence.” Ryan laughed “I still don’t know if I want to get on roller coasters because I’m not ready yet for that feeling. We were dropping like 200 feet, then rising back up, then dropping 200 feet again. But we landed, we were safe, and I think a lot of people might have let that specific event ruin their trip, but for us, it was just another thing for the travel journal and we wound up having a great week in Ireland after that.”