Meet this Ambitious Traveler: Miriam @mirballgo

Miriam Ballesteros
What city do you call home?
Barcelona, Spain
What was a defining moment/situation that made you decide to travel/be adventurous?
Falling in love with my current boyfriend a year ago. And deciding to move to Columbus, Ohio, to be with him and expand my career here.
Where have you been/lived?
Barcelona (Spain), London (UK), Columbus, Oh (USA)
Can you share a memorable/funny travel story?
One of the first things we did when moving to the States was to spend a night in a nasty, creepy motel. It wasn’t a Motel6, but definitely was one of those you see in scary movies.

Motels are not a thing in Europe, so we thought it was a fun idea!

In the end, we did not enjoy the experience: it was super cold and dirty, and we didn’t dare to sleep in those sheets, so we placed the towels (that smell like bleach but at least we knew they were clean!ย  Now have a story to tell, so cheers to that! ๐Ÿ™‚
Share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling
Traveling never (ever) works out EXACTLY as planned. Especially when it involves taking many flights to reach a certain place.

In order for us to get to Columbus, we had to take 4 flights. And with so many layovers chances were that some of the flights would be delayed – which they were.

We ended up sleeping on the floor inside several airports, eating during hours we didn’t know if we were supposed to, and overall – feeling very out of place.

So, bottom line? Focus on what you can control, leave what you can’t.

What has traveling taught you about the world or your life/ or changed your perspective on something?
It took me 7 years of travels and living in 3 countries to realize that at some point in one’s life, one needs to:

1. Make a blind leap of faith
2. Learn to deal with uncertainty
3. Take risks
4. Unconditionally trust someone with your safety, emotions, and affection.
5. Feel alive!
How do you balance travel with work/relationships/family etc?
Having a balanced life is kind of impossible sometimes. And truth be told, balance is something I donโ€™t really want.

It doesnโ€™t make sense to meย to balance (meaning distributing my time and energy equally) on all things. Because what happens if thereโ€™s a point in my life I feel like traveling more and taking a leap year?

Sometimes you just want to prioritize your travels, or your work, or your relationship. And that is totally okay.image.png

I just donโ€™t want to let the idea of balance ruin it for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
I say spend $$$ on experiences, but for real: schedule vacation time on your calendar, buy a plane ticket, go somewhere you haven’t been before, and challenge yourself to be uncomfortable and meet new people.

Get out and make sh*t happen.

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Where can people learn more about your adventures?

Ambitious Adult: Sinead Gaffney

Name: Sinead Gaffney
What city do you call home?
Burlington, Ontario …for now
What was a defining momentย that made you decide to travel?ย 
I feel as if I was born with the desire to travel. I can’t say I recall the specific moment when it all began. I wasn’t able to travel growing up, being the youngest of 5 kids and growing up in a small town in Northern British Columbia. My mother used to tell me stories of locales she was able to visit and the cultures associated. Her father was a Colonel in the US army so they were stationed all over the world…Japan, China, Colombia, to name a few. From as early as I can remember I had a desire to go everywhere, see, and experience everything I possibly could. I felt if I didn’t I wouldn’t be living a full life. It was my dream to venture to all the places where her stories originated. Instead, I found my own stories. As cliche as it sounds, I would travel to escape, only to end up finding myself. It’s almost like therapy for me. Whenever I return home from an adventure, my purpose seems a little more clear.
Where have you been?


I just checked off my 31st country! Peru. But I have been to New Zealand, Jamaica, Mexico, multiple countries in Europe, including countries in
Scandinavian Europe and the Mediterranean, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, and South Africa. There’s something about Africa that keeps calling me back. The combination of vast landscapes, culture, and diverse wildlife makes for one of the most
incredible continents.
Can you share a funny travel story?
Most of my funny stories involve wildlife. On my most recent trip, I was trekking through the Amazon and we were sitting in the same spot for hours waiting for hundreds of parrots and macaws to fly down to the salt stone to sharpen their beaks (worth the wait, it was amazing). In this particular spot, there were wasps absolutely everywhere. Everyone else seemed ok, but they were swarming me. I was stung twice! I had no idea why they picked me, and the guides had no idea why. When I got back to the jungle lodge later that day I found a sun kist wrapper in my pocket which must have been what was attracting them. My friend and I just looked at each other an started laughing. I think it was a “you had to be there” moment.
What has traveling taught you?
Travelling has taught me to think outside the box and to open my mind. Things are done differently, and people are raised differently all over the world, so to think one person’s way or religion is better than the other, seems quite naive to me. I have realized I have so much to be grateful for. I’ve seen so many hardships, starving children, and oppression in some of the places I have been. To be a woman born in Canada makes me feel very lucky. Another important lesson I have learned is not to get too wrapped up in material things. Some of the happiest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are farmers in South America who only have enough food and money to feed their family and sustain their farms. But that’s all they need in life.
Health and Happiness. They take what they need from the earth and give what they don’t need, which is so beautiful.
How do you balance travel with work/relationships/family?
I feel like if I never had children, I would never be in one place. So I’m thankful to have them as a tether to keep me grounded. That being said, traveling definitely became a lot trickier when they came along. When possible I try to take them with me, especially if I am going anywhere in North America or Europe. Often times I travel to places where it’s not necessarily safe to bring little ones (though I have seen many little ones in these places and they are totally fine, to each their own) and in those cases, I’m lucky to have those close to me to help with childcare when I am gone.
As for work, I have always been fortunate to work for employers who are fairly flexible and encourage me to balance what I do with what I love. As long as all my responsibilities are covered while I’m gone and no one is being inconvenienced, I am usually ok going on a couple of trips a year.
Balance is the key.
If I go away for a few weeks, I try to be more present with my daughters when I’m home.
What advice do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
Depending on how much it means to you and how much you want to travel and what your budget is, you may have to cut other things out of your life. When I was in my early twenties I worked three jobs, never went out for dinner other than special occasions, rarely bought new clothes and that’s how I supported my travel dreams. That being said my social life was also put on the back burner. It’s also handy to get used to drinking your coffee black ๐Ÿ™‚
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Where can people learn more about your adventures?
Check out my Instagram @sineadgaff, but be prepared for a lot of pictures of my little ones as well:)

Places I’ve Been

Every time I see people traveling, I get so jealous. But then I have to check myself. I don’t want to be jealous. I want to be happy for them. It’s important for me to remember not to compare myself to others and to reflect on my abundant life.

Exploring the world is my greatest passion. When I look at a map, I realize how much of the world I still have to see. I am fortunate though, that over the last 10 years, I’ve explored so many corners of the world.

I’ve swam (and almost drowned) in multiple oceans, I’ve seen mountains, deserts, jungles, prairies, and experienced just about every climate there is.

Here’s a brief run-down of some of the places I’ve been.

I’ve traveled across Canada and Mexico so I am not going to list many individual cities. I’ve just listed places I spent more than 1 week visiting.

Continue reading “Places I’ve Been”

Ambitious Traveler: Luca G #ambitiousadulting

Luca and I went to university together. We spent 1 summer working away in the G.I.S lab trying toย capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial data. It was as hard as it sounds (it was hard for me). After that class, I spent my days digging in mud and exploring and Luca was working towards his engineering degree.

We’ve kept up with each others’ adventures and pass travel tips along to help each other out.

Continue reading “Ambitious Traveler: Luca G #ambitiousadulting”

Ambitious Adult: Kelly Nash

Kelly and I met at a bug- eating party! That’s right, our mutual friend ordered chocolate covered crickets and an assortment of bugs to try! We stayed in touch and when she was about to embark on a solo-trip across Canada, we chatted about solo-travel, blogging, and taking risks! She’s an inspiration to us all and she is the definition of an ambitious adult!


Continue reading “Ambitious Adult: Kelly Nash”