At age thirty, I feel I have reached an important crossroads.  When I was in my early to mid-twenties I felt more certain of my goals, if not of myself.  Yet as I’ve gained more life experience, I’ve started to recognize just how much I don’t know about what it is I truly want out of life . . . A terrifying thought, to say the least!  But the fact that I am willing to (publicly!) acknowledge this fear, & even to welcome it, suggests to me that perhaps I am stronger than I realize.  Maybe I truly am ready to leave behind the familiar & take a leap into the unknown in the hopes that I might discover something about the world, & more importantly, about myself, that will prepare me to take my next steps in life.

And what a leap I’ve made!  The idea of long-term travel abroad first occurred to me several years ago, but for various reasons I never acted on my desires.  Now it seems my time has finally come & I’ve chosen to take advantage of an amazing opportunity to go abroad on Australia’s 12-month work & holiday visa!  As my family & friends have pointed out, you can’t get much further from my hometown of Buffalo, NY, USA.  So why Australia?  Oz is one of the few countries that allows U.S. citizens to obtain this type of visa & I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who has gone before me!  In fact, my two-week trip to Sydney in September/October 2010 to visit Heather was the catalyst that finally helped me summon the courage to pursue this dream.  My glimpse into Heather’s day-to-day life showed me that this experience really could be possible . . . & of course it didn’t hurt that I fell head over heels in love with Sydney from the moment I stepped off the plane!

While I fully understand that I cannot expect this journey to provide me with the answers to all of life’s questions, I also know that it would be impossible for me to come out of this experience unchanged.  I am sure that the year to come will have its ups & downs, as life always does, but I feel secure in knowing that I will be living my life to the fullest & with no regrets.



Naming my blog was, to me, akin to naming a child.  A name carries great power; it shapes an identity & colors our perceptions.  I wanted my blog to have a name that would convey the inspiration behind why I travel.  I first came across the term “wonderlust” in an article by Tony Hiss[1] & I cannot think of a better word to capture the childlike wonder I feel whenever I travel.  The experience of being in a new environment forces me to become acutely aware of my surroundings & it brings to the surface some of my innermost thoughts & emotions.  I’ve always been a reflective person by nature & traveling seems to give me both the venue & the permission to embrace this aspect of my personality.  One of my personal goals for my year abroad is to learn to cultivate & listen to my own voice.  This blog is one means by which I hope to achieve that goal.

So that explains “wonderlust,” but why “chasing?”  Well, two reasons really.  The first is simply that wonderlust.wordpress.com was already taken . . . what, you were expecting a more noble reason? 😉  Keep reading, it gets better!  Once I knew I needed to add another word to my title I did some brainstorming & decided I liked the ring of “chasingwonderlust.”  I also liked the idea that it connotes – that the feeling of wonderment is something we must continuously strive for; it is a thing of beauty that we hope to catch a glimpse of, but that can so easily slip away when we take it for granted, as many adults (myself included), so often do.

This year-long journey is about living life to the fullest, experiencing things from a different perspective & appreciating the little things in life.  Thus begins my quest to seek out wonderlust wherever I may find it.  Thus begins the thrill of the chase . . .


[1] Hiss, T. (Autumn 2010). Wonderlust: How ‘Deep Travel’ Opens Our Minds to the Rich Possibilities of Ordinary Experience.  American Scholar, 79, 4. p.52(6).


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie Ravas
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 15:09:45

    Hi Niki, Your Aunt Penny sent me your blog, I am your second cousin, I just can’t believe you are as old as you say. I think I am in shock, that means I am getting a lot older than I thought I was.
    Congratulations on your new adventure, I envy you what a great experience.
    Have fun and enjoy all your time there, it has to be absolutely beautiful.


  2. Rita and John
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 18:33:03

    Hi Niki,
    Hope all is going well for you enjoying living here. A little cold,but we will adjust. We had a very nice dinner with your mom and dad and their friends across the street Sat. Looking for to hearing from you.
    have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Meryl
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 16:03:05

    Hi Nicole! I am from the states traveling Australia and stumbled upon Heather’s blog. After a few emails she referred me to you, as I am planning to make a visit to Cairns. I hear you are working in a cupcake bakery? how cool! (i am a pastry cook by trade). Hope all is well!


    • nicoleinoz
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 22:15:09

      Hi Meryl! When are you planning to be in Cairns? I’m hoping to travel the east coast of Queensland sometime in December or January. Maybe we could meet up if we’re there at the same time. 🙂


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