My name is Emily (Mim) from the US.
A little background: My family has always traveled, at least a week every summer I can remember, except a couple of notable occassions when dad's work schedule crossed with extracurriculars (including travel) by my brother and I prevented a summer vacation. No matter, we just take a few extra weekend excurssions together during the rest of the year. I've been to 44 or 45 states, depending on whether you count spending about 10 hours wandering around Sea-Tac as being in Washington. I don't.
I traveled overseas for the first time as part of a Sister Cities exchange, to Japan, when I was 13. Japan was a beautiful, fascinating country.
I didn't get another chance to leave North America until my freshman year of college (I'm finishing my last semester as a Biology major), when my Gen Bio professor greeted me on my first day with the statement, "We have a trip to Ecuador arranged for this May. You want to come." Some not so good things happened on this trip (getting food poisoning in Cuenca is hardly a blip on the radar of my bad memories, but about 3/4 of the bad was the direct result of a mean and immature roommate)... but SO MUCH GOOD STUFF happened, too.
The next summer, I lived in Alaska, working through the Student Conservation Association. I was lucky enough to get a position in the Tongass National Forest, which is very possibly my favorite place I've ever been. Well, with the possible exception of trying to carry my groceries up the mountain in the rain. I swear the road got longer when it rained.
Last spring (well, fall in the Southern Hemisphere), I spent a semester abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. I had no money, but all the time in the world, and I took an Australian Vegetation course that meant several afternoons wandering in the bush. I managed two vacations to the Great Barrier Reef - one with two of my closest friends where absolutely all of my plans had to be rearranged because the dive I had arranged had to be canceled (the boys aren't certified, so they couldn't go because the water was too rough, even though I could have if I'd wanted). We wound up going out on a boat two days later, FINALLY, and it was worth the wait. A few weeks later I went with my roommate and a busload of her closest friends, and got in two dives at Lady Musgrave Island.
Most recently, my family took a cruise with several cousins. Cruising is a major trade-off. Excellent (infinite) food, safe delivery to all destinations, and many options for activities. On the other hand, you're much more limited in time at each place, and you tend to only see what the cruise ship wants you to see - not too much about the actual place. And the logistics of arranging four families' activities at each port, when the families are scattered across the state, is a nightmare. Particularly when they put me in charge of finding an appropriate snorkel trip NOT through the cruise ship (we couldn't find a snorkel activity that made everyone happy and still had spots open) - and then just when I had something arranged, Oh by the way, half of the people who said they were going to participate, decided not to. Thanks for letting me know. Still, I got to dive at Ocho Rios, and *attempt* to teach my mom and her cousin to snorkel at Grand Caymann. Yes, I know it feels counter-intuitive that you can relax more with your face IN the water, just trust me, if you do a dead-man's float, you CAN still breath through the snorkel. *sigh*.
So, now that I'm finishing college, have no money, and am waiting to hear back from grad school... what to do, what to do. Oh, I know! I'll start plans for my three "Dream trips:"
Kayaking Lake Itasca to New Orleans (and maybe some along the Gulf... how far can I go?) on the Mississippi
a year around the world, including but not limited to: Antarctica, Tibet, Ireland, Argentina, Kenya, Madagascar, and Russia
Sailing the Caribbean (or, again, further... but first I need to learn to sail, as it's not a skill one picks up where I live right now)