JOYS OF TRAVELING
Traveling has been an essential part of my life for as long as I can remember. In particular, the women in my family have always been adventure seekers with this magnetic pull on their hearts for new places. Early on, I became familiar with joys of traveling through my Mom, who would take annual trips with her Mom and sisters. With each return, I was captivated by the flood of memories they’d unpack. It’s so amazing to hear how each person can feel something different after visiting a certain place. Maybe it’s the food that makes someone feel comfortable, or it’s the language that sings to a wandering heart, or maybe it’s the rich history that brings chills and thought-provoking conversations - whatever it is, there is no formula to falling in love with a place and that’s the best part.
When I was 13 I went to London with my Mom. I remember being awestruck by the culture and beauty lining each street. After London, I started dreaming of all the other places I could see. The world is our oyster, right? I have mentioned this before, but I really did feel this longing for places I had never been.
GOODBYE TONSILS, HELLO AUSTRALIA
So, there I was, 14 and recovering from a tonsillectomy (side note: can someone please tell me when we did away with this procedure? I feel like it was the norm for so long until now…) browsing through mail and what do I see? One of those letters asking me if I wanted to go to Australia for 18 days! To be fair, the letter wasn’t really addressed to me by name, but it sure felt like it was more personal than ever considering where my heart and mind were at that time. My mom and I went to the meeting, mostly to see if it was a scam, but it turned out to be very legit. I guess the marketing paid off! That summer I was off to Australia with People To People organization and spent 18 days traveling all over the country. It was amazing - almost as amazing as my parents just sending me off with complete strangers. HA! Well not really strangers, but basically. Best.Parents.Ever.
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP
Once I got to college, I knew I was going to study abroad - I applied for a program in Florence Italy and didn’t get in. This led me to a photography program in Paros, Greece. This was life-changing for me. As soon as I left everything that was comfortable and normal, I began to rely on pieces of myself that I didn’t know existed. It was there, in Paros, that I learned so much about myself and my beliefs. I met people from all walks of life that soon became family to me. I ended up going back to that small island for the next three summers because I just couldn’t get over it. I still can’t.
After my Greece trip that first summer, I met my brother in Italy and we road tripped from Rome up to Venice and ended our trip in Paris. So many memories! I fell in love with Paris that summer. It rained the whole time, but the splendor of the city was never masked by gloomy skies. It felt bright and lively each day. If you can fall in love with a city in the rain, I’d say it’s a pretty damn good city.
The summer after that, I got accepted to a Hospitality internship at The Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. Let me tell you how RANDOM that was for me. I was an art student who had a slight interest in Film and Hospitality and thought, “Why not? I’ll apply and see what happens.” – If you haven’t gathered this by now, this is a reoccurring approach to new ideas in my life. I got called for an interview and the guy told me my resume was “interesting”. I had to stop myself from laughing, but he was right! My resume was ALL OVER the place. Anyways, somehow I convinced them to let me in the program. I was walking red carpets and seeing amazing films for 3 weeks on the French Riviera. What is LIFE!? That was an experience I will never, ever forget. I may or may not have swooned over Leonardo Dicaprio as he stood feet in front of me.
After the Film Festival I headed to Greece, again – I was like can’t stop, won’t stop! I graduated that December and weeks after graduation I headed to Spain to be an Au Pair for 6 months. I arrived in Madrid to live with this family that I had only met through skype. I guess I don’t really know what the word “stranger” means, but this was definitely a weird / new adventure for me. Even though that was 4 years ago, I still feel like I haven't digested that experience. I had always romanticized about traveling being laced with beauty in ways that most of us have come to expect – beautifully scenery, magical sounds, vivid colors – you know, what we see in the movies. Many of my travels were like this, but this adventure in particular brought beauty in a very different way. I felt challenged in my situation, which was both horrible and eye-opening. While much of what I experienced during that time remains slightly ambiguous, I do know for certain that Spain found a place in my heart.
After Spain, I moved back to the states because I ran out of money to spend freely with no real income – womp, womp. So I immediately started working as a means to get back on a plane. My mind was constantly trying to scheme up ways to travel more and more. This mind set was exhausting, but travel became such a priority for me that there wasn’t really another option.
While daydreaming was fun, my lack of roots was really taking its toll on me. I’ll never forget my brother sharing his wisdom as I vented to him. He said, “Mattie, you know, there is something really noble about staying in one place.” Whoa. Never had I ever considered staying in one place noble. To me, it had always seemed easy and complacent. But there my brother was, speaking real truth into my life. So that was it, I decided to give that a shot and I moved to Nashville to be noble – lol, well more so to plant roots, but since that’s noble then I guess that was my quest. I committed to a full time position that had little to no time off. I started putting money aside to travel once the season was over (it was a seasonal job). Slowly, but surely my roots began sharing a place with the deep grounded community around me.
Since I wasn’t traveling as much, I began to think about how I could incorporate the joys of traveling into this community - the community I now call home. Often times when I would travel, I would flock to flower shops and gardens of all kinds. When reflecting on this, I realized how inaccessible flowers were in Nashville compared to other big cities around the world. It felt like something was missing. That’s when I thought of the Flower Truck. More than anything, I envisioned the Flower Truck as an experience for people. Rather than a place to spend money, I wanted people to feel joy. The kind of joy that tugs on the heart strings and makes you feel connected to something or someone you love.
While I do continue to daydream about traveling, my biggest dream right now is that the Flower Truck provides an experience that people continue to unpack long after a trip or moment has ended.