Who Am I?
Hi, I’m Jessica!
I was born in California but grew up in on a farm in rural Kansas. I’m a diehard Jayhawk who made a home for myself in Atlanta for over a decade but just moved to Louisville. So basically I’m a Midwestern Southerner. My full-time career is in marketing—digital, tech, and analytics in particular—but I use every last hour of well-earned PTO to explore as much of the world as possible. I believe in the inherent value of travel, of experiencing new places, and in getting the most bang for your buck—which sometimes means finding great deals, and sometimes means splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I love history, photography, all manner of food and drink, unique experiences, people-watching, and experiencing places like a local. I don’t love museums or looking like a tourist. I’m really good at researching and planning trips, and putting together itineraries that squeeze in a maximum amount of awesome without feeling rushed. I started One Girl, Whole World because I realized that I have so much research, so many trial-and-error tips, beautiful pictures, and perfect itineraries to share, but didn’t have a way to do it.
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How Did I Get Here?
I grew up in Kansas and we didn’t travel a lot—a few roadtrips here and there, but nothing major. Then, my senior year of high school, my family went to Italy for ten days. And boy, did the travel bug bite! So a couple years later I jumped at the chance to study abroad in Florence, but rather than choosing the easy journalism school option (staying in dorms with all my classmates), I chose to further my Italian language studies by doing a language immersion trip.
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My roommate and I spent the summer in Florence, living with a sweet couple named Pietro and Giovanna. They didn’t speak English and most of our teachers didn’t speak English, so it was truly an immersive experience. We went to school every day in the morning and then took side trips and weekend trips at every opportunity—Lucca, Pisa, Venice, Siena, and Cinque Terre, to name a few.
We took cooking classes, tanned on a nude beach, scuba dived with no prior training on a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, partied on a Venetian boat during a festival, met Michael Buble at an outdoor concert before he was famous, and learned how to make our host mom’s prized family pesto and tiramisu recipes. After classes finished, we drove around Sicily for a week and a half, and then I spent another week in Rome with my best friend to round out the summer. It was a life-changing experience, and planted the seeds for my extreme wanderlust today.
I started traveling a little after I graduated from college and moved to Atlanta, but it was maybe one trip per year. Then in 2009—and to this day I couldn’t tell you why—my mom and I booked a 10-day trip to visit Paris, Salzburg, Prague, and Sofia (Bulgaria). It was so much fun, and also a really good example of cramming way too much into one trip. We decided to make it an annual thing whenever possible, and started dragging my dad along the following year when we went to southern Germany and Austria.
And now I can’t be stopped…in 2016 I visited 8 countries, another 8 countries (and several domestic trips) in 2017, and 6 (plus a lot of domestic trips in 2018). I’m already planning a totally epic 2019!
I’d love to hear from you, answer your burning travel questions, or provide trip planning resources—here are all the different ways to contact me! Whichever social media is your fave, come find me and we can swap crazy travel stories or feed off each other’s new travel obsessions. Find me on Facebook or Instagram, use my Pinterest boards to amp up your wanderlust, or join my newsletter tribe below to get exclusive content and travel tips straight to your inbox!