She spends lots of time travelling the world and then blogs about it – here’s more about Jillian Lepping.
Where from: Kentucky, USA.
How old were you when you first left the country: I first left the country three days before my 21st birthday.
How many countries travelled: I’ve been to 9 countries (Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Italy, France, Great Britain, Monaco, Israel, Jordan) as well as Palestine which is ambiguous and not including my home country or countries on layovers.
Favourite place/country: Ohh! Iceland, fore sure. Specifically, the southern Fjords.
Why? Iceland was a big trip for me. Firstly, it was a huge leap of faith for me to even go considering I didn’t have much money or a plan but second, as someone who tries to see magic in the ordinary, I found magic everywhere. In the moss beds, waterfalls, glacier lakes and a human being who is now my partner.
Next trip? This question is always hard because right now I am more or less living on the road. I will be doing much more of Canada because my partner lives there but that will be very homey and a lot of work and down time. We are often last minute creatures but right now, we have Mongolia on our minds.
We would love to ride horses across the entire country with a local person guiding us and camping along the way. So we need a decent bit of money, to get horse experience and find someone to guide us but we are dreaming on that one hard.
Bucket list? I don’t have a tangible bucklist at the moment. I always have a mental list of places I want to go and different countries are always taking over on priority. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with having a bucklist, especially because they help many people actually do things they would otherwise not do. I
have found an issue with bucketlist culture in some regards because I find that having a list takes away from the spontaneity of travel and provides an inability to live in the moment. I am a huge proponent of slow travel. I definitely could have been to three times the amount of countries but I prefer to move slow, live with locals, and experience a countries authentic self. There is nothing wrong with moving fast, but slow travel works for me.
If I were to make a bucketlist, however, it would have at least the following: Mongolia, Scandinavia, The Northwest Territories in Canada, New Zealand as well as many US states such as Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
What stops you from travelling? I would say some things do and some don’t. To be honest, the largest thing that stopped me from traveling was myself. I never believed that I could actually afford to travel or that is was dangerous to travel alone. As most things are in life, the only way through the scary things is straight through the heart. So with 3,000 USD in my account and a one way ticket, I went to Iceland.
I had very little money for such an expensive country and was terrified to go alone. I had been fed a lie many of us believe. That travel is inherently expensive and that we aren’t capable and full enough on our own to do things. I called bullshit and went. I found out that yes, travel does cost money, but not as much as you think. Especially if you go to cheap countries and are resourceful.
I also learned that humanity is amazing. Whether I was in North America or the Middle East, humanity came through for me time and time again.
There is a quote from the book The Alchemist, which every traveler or young person should read, that goes “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I believe that this is true, and that we always travel protected, especially when you ask for it.
Best food you’ve eaten in another country? We’ve been going to Trattorias here in Italy which are restaurants geared towards working class citizens. It’s hilarious because if you were to go out for a really nice, expensive Italian meal in North America, the Trattoria would still beat it!
My favorite meal is a tie between handmade pasta stuffed with spinach and topped with fresh porcini mushrooms and olive oil with a glass (or five heeh) of the local red wine and polenta we cooked with our host topped with fresh pupini mushrooms I found on a hike that day.
No. 1 road-trip song? Oh god, so many good ones to choose from. Honestly anything by the Beatles. But to be honest, I’ve also been jamming out to the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack!
Why did you start a travel blog? I started my blog because of a deep yearning to share my story. There is so much I haven’t shared yet but to keep it simple, I had a challenging upbringing plagued with depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Going traveling was something that shifted my whole perspective. It gave me a huge sense of gratitude and made me realize that my life is in my hands. That I am strong and beautiful and that wellness is everywhere if we ask. Once I started writing, I was hooked. My first posts aren’t quality but I am proud of myself for putting them out there. I am taking a short break from structured blogging to writing a book but I love it and it helped me plant roots.