Just get up and go: my journey on the quest for travel

This article was created for The Travel Project by Antoinette Moore , a six-two community contributor.

I have always wanted to travel but growing up in a low-income family meant travelling has always been far more of an unattainable dream than a reality.

Even as a child, I understood that it would not be a good idea to ask my mother for impossible things that would be financially crippling to my family. I did not want to burden my single mother with requesting what I knew she could not afford. Nor did I want to see her disappointed in herself because she could not provide me with the likes of plane tickets and vacations.

Travelling was something that I would have to do for myself, in my own way.

To begin with, this meant preparing myself for the world of travel. As a middle school student, I began doing everything possible to equip myself with the necessary tools for travelling the world. I took advantage of the resources of my educational system and I began Spanish classes, which then transitioned to Japanese classes once I entered high school. I knew that learning different languages would be key to ensuring that I would be able to communicate with others during my travels as an adult. College followed soon after and I was just one step closer to my dreams of travelling, so I began studying Mandarin Chinese and briefly changed my college major to international studies, all in preparation for my career as a professional explorer.

But like most college graduates, I left school with a heaping amount of ambition and a bank account that did not match. Travelling became even more of an impossibility.

I became very upset with myself for not being able to do the one thing that I had been working towards since I was a child. I labelled myself as a failure and each day became a little more difficult to get through. I watched YouTube videos of all of these people who were able to travel around the world and how happy they looked, and I became even more dissatisfied that I could not be among them.

At my lowest point, I called my mother and I explained to her how I felt that I let myself down because I wasn’t able to accomplish the goals that I had set for myself as a child. Like many mothers she shared her wise words that pulled me out of sulking and straight back onto my quest to travel …

“Just get up and go"

It was true that I could not afford to go far, but I began by putting on my backpack and walking one block, then two, and then miles through the city of Richmond, Virginia. I was able to discover things that I never would have been able to see if I had continued to get upset and annoyed. The more I stayed outside of my tiny apartment, the more opportunities I had to meet people and discover new places.


I explored abandoned warehouses along the river that were covered in wonderful graffiti, local caverns, new and old buildings with unique architecture, and attended local student art shows where I met people who invited me to cool themed restaurants, including a local vampire bar.

I was also invited to conventions which were a short bus trip away. I began attending quirky and artsy events everywhere in my local city where the experiences were rich in content but free in terms of price.

To prove that I had finally taken my mother’s words to “Just get up and go” I began sending her pictures of all my new discoveries, and conventions, most of which were also new to her.

Now every week she asks me if I’ve found any place new and exciting for her to explore. Of course Richmond, Virginia is not Brazil or China, but it’s a start!

Have a story about overcoming challenges on your pursuit of travel? We want to hear them. Find out how you can become a six-two community contributor here.


  • Velika

    Where I live it’s just a short walk away. Since I have a few art galleries that I can visit at my leisure. don’t need to travel far. And since things are iffy, I may not be able to get back home if I left the country

    • Antoinette Moore

      I know that feeling, Richmond has a lot of wonderful local places and even a monthly art walk and some craft breweries opening up around the city. It’s a good place for local fun!

      • Velika

        We have one brewery and it’s also a restaurant. you can eat and see all the tanks they use or used to brew their own beer. And I can’t wait til spring when new vegetables are going to be in ant this place that is nearby. right now you can get homemade jams and jellies and I think some soaps and candles too. All from local businesses and farms.

        • Antoinette Moore

          That sounds wonderful! I feel like having these new experiences in your own backyard is a sort of travel. You’re actively discovering places and activities that you may have been unaware of and don’t get to see everyday. And fresh and delicious foods always make the journey worth it! Especially sweets, all of the sweets.

          • Velika

            If I would allow myself to do it, I’d probably find “little hidden gems” Places that serve good food or have nice stuff to sell. My daughter and I found a couple of vintage places in town

  • Jill Rice

    I love this! And good for you for getting out there. Hang in there…I think my story is a bit similar, but since I’ve gotten to my 30s I’ve managed to find an income (and managed to prioritize my spending) in a way that has allowed me to get to Europe twice and I just got back from Thailand, not to mention a few other trips closer to home too. And I’m only just about to turn 35. Straight out of college I thought I’d never get to do these things, but here I am. Enjoy your local travel now, and keep dreaming big…It will be possible someday, and sooner than you may think!

    • Ginny Copestake

      Hi Jill! If you’d be keen to share this story with the six-two community, we’d love to hear it! Just head on over to contiki.com/thetravelproject and all the submitting info can be found there. Thanks 🙂

      Ginny – six-two editor

  • Mikhaila Crowie

    Amazing! I’m embarking on my first trip overseas next year (after stating since I graduated high school that I’ll be travelling), but I’ve learned to appreciate the little adventures within my country and city!