Welcome! I’m Stephanie!
My love of travel really began when I was 17 years old, and I took my first international trip with my dad and brother. We visited Paris and La Rochelle, a city on the western coast of France.
It was love at first sight.
It was also a really crazy trip, as it almost didn’t happen due to some last minute kidney stones (You can read the whole story here!).
But that trip really kicked off my intense love of France and my desire to keep traveling. I’d been taking French classes in high school, and that led to taking a ton of French classes at university and almost minoring in French – I was a couple classes short and decided I’d rather graduate than finish that minor.
I did a study abroad in college, living in Paris for three months and taking a few classes. That three months was such a high point in my life, making close friends, roaming the streets of Paris all day, and visiting other European countries on weekends. I came home absolutely ravenous for more!
Of course, being a super broke college student in the heart of the United States doesn’t lend itself well to international travel, but I was always dreaming about it and the next places I’d go.
I was the type that would spend a free afternoon doing a deep dive on some country I had seen mentioned somewhere, reading up on the best places to go and what to see, essentially planning out a trip that was entirely hypothetical.
The next years were a blur of big life events:
- 2009: I married my college sweetheart, Matthew
- 2010: College graduation with a bachelor’s in dietetics – if you aren’t familiar, it’s essentially a degree in nutrition.
- 2011: I became a mom! I had my first baby girl that spring.
- 2012: I did a 9 month internship to finish the requirements to become licensed as a Registered Dietitian.
- 2014-2017: I worked part time for as a dietitian, giving consultations to patients mainly about weight loss and diabetes control.
- 2013, 2015, and 2017: I had three more baby girls!
During those years (2009 – 2019), Matthew and I went to France together 3 times – for our honeymoon, our 5 year anniversary, and our 10 year anniversary. Always, always the thrum of “when can we go next, where can we go next” was in the back of my mind.
It was a busy 10 years!
I love my life and those baby girls like nothing else, but I also was not feeling completely fulfilled doing a little part-time work and a lot of stay at home mom work. But it was also really hard to figure out just what I wanted to do. I had a degree and a professional license, I could find work as a dietitian. But… by that time, I was less interested in a lot of the options open to me in that route.
I could have gone back to work at any time, but I just couldn’t figure out really what I wanted to do with my life. Not exactly how you want to feel after spending 5 years and a whole lot of money at college!
Between 2018 and the end of 2020, Matthew and I and the girls really ramped up our domestic travel, logged some serious miles in roadtrips, and got a couple international trips in too.
We took the kids down to the Florida panhandle beaches. We explored Asheville, NC. We did a Boundary Waters canoe trip. We drove out to visit our families in Utah, Texas, Maryland, Kansas, and Minnesota regularly. We went to Disney World. I went with some girlfriends to Paris (again!). Matthew and I visited southern France together.
We got in the habit of spending our time and money on these trips, even if it was mostly domestic travel and often to see family members.
Finally, in early 2021, I parsed out and really let myself consider the idea of making my longtime passion my full time passion project/hopefully job and launched this website.
And, I have to say, this work just feels like me.
It’s funny because I’ve never really considered myself a writer, and I’ve definitely never considered myself particularly good at taking photos. But, as I’ve learned, if you are interested, you can improve and get better at anything.
I feel like I’m definitely not your typical travel blogger – I’m 33, married, with 4 kids, a mortgage, and Matthew has a salaried job that he can’t do remotely (he’s a high school AP physics teacher).
I am not your stereotypical digital nomad, in their 20’s and unencumbered, where I can just pick up decide to go live in Bali for a few months or travel around South America for a year. That’s just not happening, at least not right now.
This website to me is as much about doing something that I didn’t think was possible (traveling frequently and running a travel website, after working as a stay at home mom for 10 years and definitely having roots in one spot) as much as it is about the travel itself.
It’s been an exercise in figuring out how to make frequent travel work instead of just assuming it won’t. It’s been giving myself the license to really throw myself into this and have that be the priority of a lot of our family’s time and money right now.
Honestly, I feel more like myself than I have in years.
Now, that’s great and all, but why does this matter to you?
Well, here’s what I am to provide you with on The Unknown Enthusiast:
👉My goal is always to write articles chock full of super detailed advice, with tons of personalized information and helpful tips that we wish we had known before we had visited a destination.
👉I also always aim to FILL my posts with pictures – pictures really help illustrate what a place is like, and I want you to have a really good sense of what a place is like before you go!
👉 My guides always have your budget in mind. I want travel to be as accessible as possible to everyone, so I only recommend things that are definitely worth doing, and am always looking to recommed only the best value activities and itineraries.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, and I’ll see you at the boarding gate!
Let’s Connect on Social!
- Riding a camel in the Saraha
- Seeing a volcano erupt in Iceland
- Strolling the streets of France
- Hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
- Watching sloths climb trees in Costa Rica
- Cadbury Mini Eggs
- French butter
- Street tacos
Spots in France:
- Pointe du Hoc
Spots in the US:
- Southern Utah
- Florida panhandle beaches
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Northern Minnesota
- Wherever family is!