The Young Traveler’s Network series showcases candid interviews of young people worldwide and the inspiring stories of how they navigate their lives and travels. From studying abroad to becoming an ex-pat in some of the most remote corners of the world, these young travelers share their stories to educate, inspire, and empower others to take a travel risk or two.
This week’s Young Traveler is Sarah Attaway, a 24-year-old, and though she’s originally from Phoenix, Arizona she has been based in Hanoi, Vietnam for the past 8 months.
In 2014 she graduated from the College of Charleston and decided to take the following year to apply to law school programs. However, Sarah wasn’t ready to fully commit to that career path, and to another rigorous academic stretch.
Thus lands her in Hanoi, taking a gap year to just find out what she wants from life through travel!
Aside from her obvious passion for travel, Sarah loves working on her travel blog, Sun-kissed Suitcase. Starting her blog has given her the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people she never would have otherwise (Amen to that!).
For example, travel blogging has made her into an amateur photographer! She hopes to eventually turn Sun-kissed Suitcase into a side business where she can consult on her travel skills.
Sarah also loves to slowly explore Vietnam. This means eating local food, discovering local cafes to feed her coffee addiction, getting out, and finding a few adventures in the many rural spots in Vietnam.
On the flip side, once in a while she loves to stay in a high-end hotel, or get dolled up and grab a cocktail on a night out. She describes herself as a well-rounded traveler and likes a little bit of everything.
Sarah says that sometimes living in Vietnam brings the misconception that all she barely works and has little ambition. Especially as a part-time teacher, people think she just bums around southeast Asia and relaxes all the time!
Which, of course, is far from the truth. She chose a job as a part-time teacher to be able to have an income, but also have the freedom to commit to her blog.
Though she may only teach 10-12 hours a week, Sarah says she works on her blog anywhere from 2-8 hours a day!
Another thing that makes travel a challenge for her is her family. Sarah is very close with her parents and siblings, but with the 12-15 hour time difference and the 24+ hours of travel it takes to get home from Vietnam, she doesn’t get to see them nearly enough. Out of the past 8 months, she says she has seen her parents for only 2 weeks and hasn’t seen her siblings at all.
She loves being in Vietnam but also recognizes that it comes at the sacrifice of a stronger relationship with her family.
However, Sarah says,
“I continue to travel because I genuinely have a passion for it, which I inherited from my parents. Aside from personal reasons, I also love hearing that through my travels and advice, other people have been helped. It puts a huge smile on my face when someone contacts me to tell me they went somewhere I recommended and that they really enjoyed it!
Travel to me isn’t just about getting to know a new culture or country for me; it is also about helping other people have those amazing and personal experiences as well.”
In the last 8 months of her move to Vietnam, Sarah has learned to ride a motorbike, eaten ants in Cambodia, explored Angkor Wat, been to a blogging conference, taken her first big solo trip, studied Vietnamese, explored waterfalls in the Philippines, celebrated her 24th birthday with her global friends… and many more experiences in between, with a multitude more to come!
What is the purpose of this series?
This initiative is driven by my desire to inspire other people in my age range and show them that travel for us is not only invaluable but very possible—sometimes you just need to see someone else jump before you do!
If you’re interested in being featured and you are younger than 26-years-old, apply here.