Wander but Never Lost…

“Not all those who wander are lost…” J.R.R. Tolkien

I am a wanderer. My heart seeks new adventures to peruse and new lands to explore. My soul both soars on wings of eagles and dives deeply into the sea. My spirit is in the heart of those who are like minded, gypsies, adventurers, travelers and other wanderers such as myself.

My name is Phylicia Hanson-Stitzel and I am a nomad, a photographer and a writer. First and foremost my main passion, outside of traveling, is photography. I have had a camera glued to my face since I was 11 years old and since then my experience has grown with me and my camera gear has become far more expensive.

First let me formally introduce myself. I grew up in the vast wilderness of Alaska, every wanderer’s dream. Growing up in tune with my adventurous side, even as a child, my siblings and I would follow our dog through the woods as she led us to new places to explore and to get into childish mischief.

My mom is a major influence in my wandering tendencies. Even as an infant she was constantly going on road trips, taking my siblings and myself down through Canada and across the country. I spent a lot time in the back of our ’94 Chevy Suburban as a child, driving, camping, doing school and, of course, sleeping (lots of car naps).

When I was six my mom took me on my first international trip (not counting through Canada) to Israel. Though that was one of the longest flights of my life, to date, the destination was well worth the effort and that is when my heart became lost to the world of adventure.

When I was 16 I took my first international trip without my family, I joined an art class as the only photographer on a trip to France and Italy. I remember upon arriving calling my mom and telling her I never wanted to come home that I was going to stay in Europe as a “struggling artist”…at 16. Needless to say my grand plan didn’t work but it certainly goes to show how much I was in love, not with a person but with places. The culture, history, food, architecture, everything that was new and different from what I knew. It only took me but a moment to be hopelessly in love.

(side bar – between all of these major events were lots and LOTS of other trips both stateside and international)

Then shortly after turning 21 I decided to join the United States Navy and shipped out six weeks after I enlisted. My first duty station was in Everett, Wash. and I couldn’t have been more thrilled about it. I spent every weekend taking long drives along the coast, up into the mountains and along every winding road I could find. It wasn’t long after arriving at my duty station before I was saying “fair winds and following seas” to Everett and set out on my first deployment. A “World Tour”, where instead of returning to Everett upon the conclusion of our deployment but we would be making a new “home port” in Norfolk, VA. This deployment took me to Thailand, Bahrain (twice), Dubai (twice), Turkey, Florida and finally 10 months later to Virginia.

I have been around the world many times now and upon my return home I am already itching to leave again. Not for lack of love in my home with my husband and now daughter, but because it is who I am.

Through this blog I am going to share with you my traveling experience, past, present and future adventures. I hope to inspire you to explore the world around you, whether it be around the corner or thousands of miles away. I will be sharing a few tips on traveling; time of year to go, places to see, traveling on a budget and don’t forget the local scene. I hope one day you heed my words and make memories of your own while traveling this great world.

Traveling Photographer Out…

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