Who the heck is the Well Pickled Traveler?

Me and Sophie on the summit of Bandera Mtn

Hi there, my name is Tara and I’m a dog mom to the most awesome and ball obsessed Golden Retriever, Sophie. After that I’m your average hot mess, amateur blogger, outdoor enthusiast, super stoked ambassador for Women Who Explore, and finally… sufferer of wanderlust.

I grew up a Michigander hailing from the city of Saginaw, or as we affectionately like to call it – Sagnasty. I’m grateful to now call the Pacific Northwest home and try to fit as many outdoor activities into my life as my work schedule will allow. Growing up, each year my family took the typical mid-westerner trips, e.g. going to Cedar Point and Florida. While I was fortunate we were lucky enough to take any trips at all, I longed to travel abroad, to visit in person the places I had only read about or saw pictures of in magazines.

So what did I do about it, well right after graduation I moved to Florida, settled down into a relationship and got a job that offered very little vacation time, essentially tucking my dreams of wanderlust away. Fast forward to 2014, the year I had to put my beloved dog, Roxy, to rest after 15 years together. A couple of months after that, I divorced the man I shared 16 mostly wonderful years with. I was 35 and realized I didn’t have a clue as to who I was as an individual, having been one half of a couple since I was 19 years old!

The only thing I did know was that I was ready to travel, and I wasn’t about to wait until I had someone to go with me.

Me in Vernazza, Italy

I kicked off my first solo trip abroad end of summer 2014 by going to London, and late that same year I went to Germany and Austria. I hadn’t figured out who I was yet (not sure we ever figure it out fully), but my wanderlust was in full swing. Trips to Italy, France, Thailand, South America, as well as around the US have since followed. In 2016 I moved to Washington and fell in love with hiking, which has changed the way I travel for the foreseeable future, if not forever.

Why did I start this blog? Because I know it can be hard, scary, and uncomfortable to think about going on a solo adventure…let alone actually doing it…especially if you were headed down one path in life and now find yourself going in another direction. 

Camping at Devil's Dream

I was 35 when I took my first solo trip abroad and 40 when I completed my first solo backpacking trip! I remember the first time I flew to LA post-divorce and had to drive in that dreaded LA traffic. My first thought was…shit, my ex would have done this, can I do this and without having a panic attack? My second thought was…well you won’t know until you try so buck up and do it Tara. Yes, it was scary driving in LA but heck, people who live in LA are scared to drive there! And ya know, each time I did something that was a little scary and a little uncomfortable, it gave me the courage to try something a little bit bigger next time.

I want to share my travel and hiking stories with the hope of inspiring you to get out and embark on a trip, a hike, or any adventure that you’ve been thinking about but have been scared to commit to. I want to share my crazy fears with you (which inspired my first blog post) so you don’t feel alone with your crazy fears, and to know that it’s ok to have them as long as you don’t let it stop you from doing that thing you want to do! I’ll share what places I stayed in, what gear and what strategies worked for me, what books got me through the long flights.

I can’t promise what worked for me will work for you too, but I do promise what I share will at least be real, honest, more than likely grammatically incorrect, mixed with a little bit of humor and a little bit of cursing too (that’s just how I roll). Oh, and if nothing else, I will be sharing a ton of pics of my super sweet, cute as hell, adventure partner, and best all-around Golden Retriever, Sophie!

Sophie at the beach

3 thoughts on “Who the heck is the Well Pickled Traveler?

  1. Love your courage, and your sense of humor! I’m looking forward to reading more of your adventures. That last photo… So. Completely. Sweet.

  2. So excited to continue to follow your adventures here. FUN! Always so impressed with you my friend and give Sophie my love! Xoxo

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