J.A. Pieper is a writer from Northern California. With children grown, a small garden to tend, and many, many interests, she pursues adventures around the world and shares them on her blog AmericanJulie and in publications (available soon). For more information: On Your Radar Media Company.
About American Julie
I work to pay for my travel. I travel to discover more about the world and myself, and for a million other reasons depending on the day and the trip. This blog is to share my adventures and to hopefully inspire you to take your own adventures.
If I can do it so can you. I am not young or super fit. I am traveling mostly alone. I now know a lot of people around the world, yet I am still mainly going to places where I do not know a soul. I only know one language, English, and even then I speak in so many idioms I am often misunderstood. My main assets are curiosity and my good nature.
I am my best self when I travel, except when I am sleep deprived by a 6 a.m. flight or too long without food or coffee. Bored easily, I have learned to entertain myself with any number of card games, reading, knitting or striking up a conversation with a total stranger. My best travel strategy is to make plans, hold them lightly, and stay flexible. Some of my best memories are saying yes to an unexpected invitation—say, joining a group of people I had just met to a birthday party for a very hip 80 year-old grandmother in Dublin.
I have always identified myself as a Californian first. After immersing myself in Wallace Stegner’s books, I expanded my self-definition to “daughter of the West.” I started my global adventures on my own at 16 and found my love of travel growing. Work, volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity or curiosity propelled me to every continent save Antarctica. All that time I thought myself a citizen of the world.
Then I lived for 5 months in New Zealand and became part of a community where I was tagged as “the American”. As soon as I opened my mouth and spoke, my self definitions were drowned out by my accent. Among my new friends there were already a surfeit of Julies (it was a very popular name in the 1960s—thanks “Mod Squad”!), so I was christened “American Julie.”
Completely chagrined at first, I came to embrace it. I am American Julie and these are my adventures.