Tanya Sheburne, also known as Traveling Tanya, is our traveller of the month – a very busy lady from Indiana, USA, that makes the most of her travel moments together with her husband, two teenage daughters, plus a dog and a cat.
Midlands Traveller: Talk a bit about yourself, please.
Tanya Shelburne: Travelling is a huge passion of mine, but when I’m not out exploring the world, I’m a very busy lady. I live in Indiana with my husband and 2 teenage daughters, plus a dog and a cat that seem to shed nonstop!
Our lives are pretty full of school activities, soccer practices, and spending time with our family and friends. I also work full-time as a public health professional and volunteer for several organisations including Relay for Life and Brooke’s Place for Grieving Children.
While it would be easy to stay busy just with our day-to-day routine, my husband and I are committed to travelling whenever we can. I also want to inspire other busy people to make travel a priority, even when time and money are limited, and that is why I created my travel blog, www.travelingtanya.com.
MT: When did you start to be interested in travelling?
TS: I can recall numerous family vacations as a child and have always enjoyed exploring new places. But it was in the spring of 2016 when my husband and I took a whirlwind trip to Europe that we were officially bitten by the travel bug!
We planned five cities in just 10 days thinking this would be our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, and we wanted to make the most of it. The travel bug took hold on that trip and now we plan as much travel as our budget and vacation days will allow.
MT: What is your first travel-related memory?
TS: My grandparents owned a lake house in northern Wisconsin. Every year on the day after Christmas my brother and I would spend a week with my grandparents in Sayner, Wisconsin.
I have so many memories of sledding down the hill by the side of the house, going for long walks in the woods with my Grandpa, and baking with my Grandma. Sadly, my grandparents have passed away but now my parents own the lake house and are now making memories in Wisconsin with my daughters.
MT: What is your favorite place (travel destination) in the world? Why?
TS: Venice is my favourite city in the world! I have only been once but hope to return soon. I had dreamed of going to Italy for many years before I finally made it happen in 2016.
I had a vision of what Venice would be like, and it was even more enchanting than I had anticipated. I fell in love with the winding lanes, bridges, canals, and colourful waterfront buildings.
The lack of cars on the island makes it so pleasant and quaint, yet it is still so easy to navigate. I loved just getting lost in Venice and discovering new hidden shops and restaurants. I think everyone should see Venice at least once!
MT: Have you ever had any bad experiences when travelling?
TS: I try to think of every travel experience, good or bad, as an opportunity to learn and as an exciting travel story to tell! There was one-time many years ago when I was travelling for work and my flight home was cancelled and I had to stay in the airport overnight.
This was back in my single days. A handsome marine who was also on my flight befriended me and stuck by my side all night as we found a place to rest and pass the time in the airport. It was all completely innocent, but a bit exciting at the same time to meet a friendly stranger and make the best of a bad situation.
MT: Which countries have you travelled to?
TS: I live in the United States, and when I was younger, I travelled to Canada and Mexico as well as one school trip to Europe. In recent years most of my international travel has been to Europe.
I have travelled in England, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. If you count an airport layover, I’ve also been to the Netherlands!
MT: Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
TS: The most important advice I can give aspiring travellers is not to put off travelling! You may never have enough money saved up or feel that you have time to get away, but life is short. If you put off travel it may never happen.
I think it is important to travel while you are still young enough and healthy enough to navigate through all the amazing destinations on this globe.
Make the time now to prioritise travel and make memories with your loved ones. Most people regret the trips they never took, not the ones they did take.
MT: What are the challenges of travelling with family?
TS: The hardest part about travelling with family is meeting everyone’s unique needs and wants. Teens generally don’t want to spend multiple hours in a museum and want access to Wi-Fi to stay connected with friends.
Older family members may not be able to do a ton of walking and prefer door to door transportation. I think it is important to know your travel companions well and discuss everyone’s vacation priorities ahead of time.
Then ensure your travel itinerary includes something for everyone and isn’t too overly ambitious, with plenty of down time. And always be willing to be flexible and adapt to everyone’s mood and energy levels so all family members have a positive travel experience.
MT: How have your travels changed you?
TS: Seeing different parts of the world has given me a greater perspective on life and a deeper appreciation for everything I have. I am fortunate to be able to travel on a regular basis, and I don’t take that for granted!
Being able to see how people live in other parts of the world provides a unique opportunity to look at my own lifestyle and remember there is more than one way to live, and that helps me understand and appreciate our differences.
MT: What country or city is on your travel bucket list?
TS: There are so many places I have visited that I want to visit again, both in the United States and Europe. I’d also love to travel to Seattle, Las Vegas, and New Orleans as well as Hawaii in the United States and Greece, Spain, and Amsterdam in Europe.
But I could also see myself spending a week at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. I still need to do some research and determine the best destination for a week of sun, fun, and cocktails!
MT: Future travel plans?
TS: I am always planning my next vacation, whether it is a weekend getaway or a European adventure. Currently we are preparing for a multi-family summer vacation to Inlet Beach in Florida.
Then this fall we hope to take our daughters on their second trip to Europe and are considering Italy and Switzerland. We know we don’t have many years left until they are off on their own adventures, so we want to make the most of their teenage years and make some amazing memories travelling as a family.
Traveling Tanya on Social Media