How Virtual Tourist Opened My Eyes to Inspiration

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius.

Sometimes, in life there are too many ‘what if’ moments. Moments where we find ourselves questioning motives, desires, yearnings, personal histories, and the what if I do, do it. What then?

Confucius was right in his statement. To become a traveler, you must take that first step. After that, the adventure is yours.

It’s only hindsight we see the error of our ways and I wasn’t about to make that same mistake twice when I decided to book a month long adventure touring Europe. I wanted it all, big cites, private havens and a beautiful hot oasis.

Grecian Sunset

A Perfect Gecian Sunset

I  also wanted to meet people, who like me, love to travel and have made travel a passion and even a career, as in past years I’ve spent my travels alone. This time I wanted to experience the adventure with others, to share in the sunsets and late night dances, to hike up volcanos with strangers and salute the Grecian nightfall with new friends.

Ready to hear who and what changed me from a lazy backpacker to an inspired traveler who loves to write about the adventures?

Who inspired me?

The people behind the places –  inspired me. They made me into a smarter, wiser and more inspired traveler. They showed me that you don’t have to see the worlds best sights alone, that it’s okay to meet complete strangers in a strange new land and be inspired by the movement.

The people behind the places –  taught me to share my travel experiences with the world. This is how I came to write about what I love most in life: travel. They opened me up to the world of travel forums, where others, just like me, gather to talk all things travel. This is where I learned about travel meetings that VirtualTourist holds all over the world.

There was big talk about the next big meet in Europe and it didn’t take long to find the sign up board where I quickly added my name with eighty other VirtualTourist members. I had never done something so bold as to meet eighty strangers in a foreign land. I was excited, no ecstatic. Are we almost there?

VirtualTourist EuroMeet 2007 Santorini

VirtualTourist EuroMeet 2007 Santorini

I was looking for solid, concrete, unbiased advice on places in Europe, and VirtualTourist was the place I sought and still seek advice from. They are the people behind the places* –  and I have joined them in some of the great (mis)adventures.
Here’s one tale of how meeting other virtual tourists opened my world to the possibilities of endless dreams.

What inspired me?

Santorini, Greece inspired me. With her stunning sunsets, miles of dark sandy beaches that await your winter white feet and where the iconic symbol of Santorini sits nestled among thousand-year old lava; the small, blue domed churches that are every photographers dream.
How did Santorini inspire me? Santorini made me believe that anything is possible, that dreams do come true.

The Caldera

Santorini or Thera in Greek is a tiny island in the Southern Aegean Sea and is the site of one of the worlds largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history.
This tiny island oasis was the setting for the 2007 VirtualTourist EuroMeet and this is where I met 80+ virtual tourist members from around the world.

The climate year round is hot, and is one of the few places in Europe with a climate comparable to the desert. For a lounge lizard like myself, this was a perfect setting to meet other like-minded travelers.


My flight arrived in the late afternoon. Well beyond the first meeting time with the other VirtualTourist attendees. I checked into a true to tradition blue and white hotel to find that my three bedroom loft style room had a private pool. See, the dream is coming true.

Ripping a page from my travel journal, I scribbled down in black magic marker – Are you a VirtualTourist? And I went walkabout in the land of Gyros and Mythos with my sign pinned to my t-shirt.

It didn’t take long to find the other virtual tourist members. Sitting in a tiny open air bar on the small cobblestone streets of Fira. I found four VT members washing away the airplane blues with a good pint of Mythos.

Virtual Tourist Member

Photo Credit VirtualTourist Member Sachara

We exchanged hands and cheeks, hellos and to your health. Mythos were ordered and we began the wonderful decent into discovering who is that person behind the profile picture.

Minutes turned to hours, and hours turned to days as new-found friends hiked Nea Kameni, rode donkeys up steep cliffs to an awaiting traditional Grecian lunch, dined by the seaside as VirtualTourist bigwigs said speeches and gave away loot bags, we patiently waited in line, and spent our money in the local markets.

We snapped picture after picture and vowed to make a tip, review or even a travelogue out of the adventure, once we got back home. As for now, we were discovering new-found relations in a new-found land.

Have you begun your journey? How many miles have you walked? How did you feel after that first step?

Bio picJennifer Avventura is travel consultant and freelance writer. Canadian blood living in Sardinia, Italy. Over 14 years experience traveling the globe. Lived the expat life in Australia, England, Cayman Islands and Italy.

Blog – My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda
Twitter – @JennyAvventura
Facebook – My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda
Google+ – Jennifer Avventura
StumbleUpon – JennyAvventura
VirtualTourist – JennysTravels


*The People Behind the Places is a registered trade mark of Virtual Tourist

Inspirational Series 

This is an ongoing series of inspiring stories from intrepid travellers around the world. If you have an experience in travel that changed your life, made you look at the world differently or an amazing moment that you want to share, please contact us for more details and we will email you right back.. You can also read more about submitting an article to this series at Calling All Writers, Share your Inspirational Travel Story

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