Hi! I'm Savannah.
A beach bum through and through, I grew up in sunny Southwest Florida in the United States. I started Savvy Dispatches in 2016 as a way to document my travels for the folks back home. This site is a bit of an online scrapbook/journal/travel advice platform. I like to write advice posts that are ones that I searched for before I set out to travel - essentially, I am writing resources for my less-well-traveled past self.
P.s. I love taking photos, so every photo that you see on this site is most definitely mine - unless I've credited it otherwise. Pictures that feature yours truly in them were most likely taken by my partner, Emmett.
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, taking tons of photos, writing, vegetarian food, and hiking. I also love beachcombing, visiting beaches, swimming in the sea... Did I mention that I'm from Florida, where all of that seems like second nature? 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. And it's not all about the beaches for me - since leaving Florida at 17, I've come to appreciate foreign destinations regardless of their proximity to an ocean (although beach destinations are some of my favorites). In fact, I've hiked on a New Zealand glacier and played in the snow on Germany's tallest mountain, among other non-beachy trip itineraries. 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 advice and resources for any trips you might take.
A Timeline of Extended Globetrotting.
For years I was an armchair traveler. Growing up I dreamt 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.
2013: A Month in 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 for. 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.
2014: 2 Weeks in China & 3 Months in Europe
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 ancient towns, pastoral countryside, record-breaking caverns, dense city blocks, a Buddhist temple, and more. Oh yeah, and did I mention the incredible street food???
...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...
After a brief jet lag-reducing four day venture to Fiji, Emmett and I landed in New Zealand where we had Working Holiday visas. Over the greater part of a year, we saw SO MUCH: 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
After ringing in 2017 in New Zealand & doing some of the exciting things mentioned above, we headed North for a two week tropical getaway in Vanuatu. (You know I can't resist the allure of a beach trip!) Vanuatu is a lot like how we imagined paradise: crystal clear turquoise water containing a myriad of colorful sea life, white sand beaches, a glowing volcano, smiling friendly locals, delicious fresh produce... We had a blast and can't wait to return.
2018: Australia & Asia
We've saved up quite a bit of money working in Australia and have been able to plan a three month backpacking stint through a handful of Asian countries. Starting in Southeast Asia, we plan to make our way to the subcontinent as well.