Hi! I'm Savannah.
I started Savvy Dispatches in 2016 as a way to document my travels for the folks back home. Since then it's grown into an outlet for expressing my thoughts, not just on my experiences abroad, but on a wide variety of subjects I find interesting.
Long Story Short / What You'll Find Here
The tl;dr (too long; didn't read) version of my about me: I'm in my mid-20s. I love a good book, beachcombing, taking tons of photos, the principles of Permaculture, writing, and trying new food. Oh yeah, and I absolutely adore traveling. Since 2013, I have been to 19 countries (see map). I'm trying my best to see as much of this incredible, frustrating, beautiful, and ridiculous world that we live in. I hope you'll follow along with me here at Savvy Dispatches as I give not only my impressions of the places I visit but also resources on how you can travel like me.
The Extended Version: An Insatiable Desire to See the World.
For years I was an armchair traveler. I grew up in sunny South Florida in the United States, where I dreamed of one day visiting the distant locales featured in some of my favorite books, magazines, and movies. As a child, my family traveled extensively throughout the Southeastern seaboard of the U.S. but I always longed to visit somewhere that felt a little less familiar. After graduating university in 2013 and being able to save up more money than ever before, I made international travel one of the biggest priorities in my life. While I worked hard to save up, I think it's important to check my own privilege. I fully recognize that the odds were in my favor to travel because I not only come from a country that allows me to access nearly any border I desire but I am white, able-bodied, and a native English-speaker. I recognize that these, among other things, make it easier for me to travel than almost anybody else in the world - excepting men of a similar background. Lastly, I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful life and travel partner, Emmett, who shares in my same wanderlusty goals.
It all started with a trip to Costa Rica.
My last year of university, I took my first international journey - a one week adventure to the rural Caribbean coast of Costa Rica on an Alternative Spring Break. While there, I fell in love with the volcanic sand beaches and the mission of the not-for-profit we worked at. Two months later, on the literal day after I received my diploma, I went back on my own. I was unable to resist the hot, languid afternoons and the busy, vibrant nights. But, more than anything, it was the promise of getting up close and personal with the largest species of sea turtle on the planet: the Leatherback.
During my month in Costa Rica, I took a weekend jaunt across the border to Panama. On that quick trip and during my time in the small seaside village I stayed in, I met many other young people like me from across the world who were just passing through as part of a larger trip. British students on gap years between college and university, solo women in their early thirties who quit their jobs to travel the world for a year, couples only a few years older than me exploring all of Central America... I couldn't believe it. I had never really considered that young people could travel extensively. In my mind, travel had meant school-sanctioned trips or study abroad, voluntourism like I was doing, or guided tours for retired folks. I hadn't considered the possibility that I could just work to save enough to travel. And then, that's what I did.
2 Weeks Getting Culture-Shocked in China
After my month in Costa Rica, I went home to Emmett and convinced him that an international trip was a very attainable goal. He finished university and two months after his graduation we were on a cross-Pacific flight to China. We spent an amazing two weeks in Guizhou province, where a friend of ours hosted us and gave us an unforgettable insiders tour through pastoral countryside, record-breaking caverns, dense city blocks, a Buddhist temple, and more.
Backpacking Across Europe
...But we weren't finished traveling. We flew to Shanghai and then across Russia to Europe, beginning a three and a half month backpacking across Europe. We started in Iceland and ended in Croatia, skipping (for now) nearly all of Western Europe. We had so many great times (and just a few bad ones) and learned a ton not only about the places we saw but about ourselves, our place in the global community, and even our relationship.
When we had first set out on our trip to China and Europe, I think that we and our families believed that Emmett and I were embarking a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience that would be a last hurrah of our youth before we settled into career paths and stability. That wasn't the case, however. It was only the tip of the travel iceberg. By the time we were essentially penniless and due to head home to the U.S., Emmett and I were already planning an even bigger trip. We'd heard from other travelers that there was something called a Working Holiday visa offered by New Zealand that allowed young travelers to stay in the country for up to a year and earn money as they moved about. With that goal in mind, we were stateside for another year and a half until we'd paid our post-Euro debts then planned and saved to go to the South Pacific.
A Year (and Counting) in the Antipodes.
After a brief jet lag-reducing four day venture to Fiji, Emmett and I landed in New Zealand. Over the greater part of a year, we saw a great deal: mist-shrouded fjords, penguins & sea lions, the country's tallest peak, & steaming volcanic landscapes. We heli-hiked a glacier and road-tripped all over the South Island. We made friends along the way and worked for three months at a fruit packhouse, boxing up apples and kiwis. We saved up and were ready to move on to new horizons. Soon we headed North for a two week tropical getaway in Vanuatu...
Vanuatu is a lot like how we imagined paradise: crystal clear turquoise water containing a myriad of colorful sea life, white sand beaches, smiling friendly locals, delicious fresh produce... We had a blast and can't wait to return.
Since then we've been in Southern coastal Queensland, Australia on Working Holiday #2. We've been steadily falling in love with this bizarre, big country. The culture feels so much like home but the scenery and the animals... Unlike anything anywhere else. Otherworldly, even.