When I think of Lauren, I think of glamping, bungee jumping, and hiking. My prayers are with her as she resides in Tampa, Florida, my other hometown. Let's learn more about the latest guest as a part of my Aspire to Inspire series.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do?
I'm Lauren Gay; nature lover, traveler, adventurer, and foodie. I'm also mom to a high school senior (boo hoo!). My big girl job is an IT senior business analyst for a major oncology hospital. My passion is my blog, Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva where I share my travels and experiences and encourage others to step out of their comfort zone to have a more adventurous life. I'm also an advocate for getting minorities to embrace nature and experience the great outdoors.
What city do you hail from and what do you like most about your hometown?
Dallas, TX is the city I still call home. The majority of my family still live there, so we try to make it back at least once a year. I love the food scene in Dallas; there are just some things I can't get anywhere else and there's no substitute for them. Sour cream enchiladas from El Fenix, chicken and a strawberry soda from Hall's Honey Fried Chicken, and a giant barbecue stuffed baked potato from Smokey Joe's are my must haves every time I come home. Of course, I'm a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan.
Where were your favorite places to travel to in the world and why?
This is such a hard question because I think I have so much left to see. So far, Sao Miguel, Azores is still by far the most amazingly beautiful place I've ever seen. This was the trip that changed my life. It was my first international solo trip and I was able to find a piece of me that had been lost while dealing with a tumultuous relationship. My hike around Lagoa do Fogo was the closest I have ever felt to God. The views of the turquoise volcanic crater lake brought me to tears. I couldn't get enough of the cliffs and the views. It was a perfect combination of European charm in the cities and nature and views in the countryside. I came back stronger, refreshed, and ready to do what needed to be done to move forward with my life.
Also, the food and the people and the beaches of Tobago made it one of my favorite places ever. There are rainforests, humming birds, waterfalls, and the Nylon Pool. It's an under appreciated destination.
Domestically, I would have to say San Francisco and wine country. I can't wait to get back there to spend more time. Wine and redwood forests, what else do you need?
Why do you think it is important to travel?
Travel is important because it gives you a greater appreciation and connection to the earth. I honestly think traveling and seeing the beauty of our world has made me a conservationist. When you see the white cliffs of Northern Ireland, it's so beautiful that you can't believe this is real; it makes you want to protect it and preserve it. It's also important to interact and talk to people who have a completely different perspective of the world than you do. If we could all function with the mindset of global citizens, I think we would have a much better world. I have tried to instill that attitude in my son.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I love this question! I want my legacy to be one of inspiration and love. Through sharing my stories and allowing people a window into my life, I hope that it inspires them to live their very best lives. I want my fellow single moms to see the way I lived and know that the sky's the limit for them and their children. I want my fellow brothers and sisters to embrace how nature really can be medicine and that we as black people don't have to live in this box that people try to put us in. Most of all I want my legacy to live on through my son in the way he treats other people and hopefully one day he will raise his own fearless global citizens.
Anything else you would like to add for those who want to travel but aren't sure how to?
Just go, it's that simple. I think some people get overwhelmed with the planning. Your first trip doesn't have to take you across the ocean. It doesn't have to be a scary thing. Find an experience in your home state or within driving distance and make it happen. You only need to know where you are going, how you will get there, and where you will stay; everything else you can figure out along the way. You can also plan a trip through a group travel company where all the major planning is done for you. You can use a travel agent or take a cruise, your choice. Just do it! It doesn't have to be expensive. If it's a priority to you then you can make it a reality.
Well, there you have it! I was definitely inspired to continue travels once I become a mom. What parts inspired you the most?
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