Hey there! I’m Amy and I’m the author of The Unsetttled Meliorist, which as you have probably figured out by now is part helpful hints, part rant, and part inspiration for living a fulfilling life of travel. To answer your first question, since no one ever has used the word ‘meliorist’ in conversation, a meliorist is, by all intents and purposes, someone who believes the world can get better through human intervention. Basically, a meliorist is some schmuck between an optimist and a realist. And that’s me. I’m a self-confessed malcontent who firmly believes in constantly improving myself and the world around me. Think guilty former Catholic influenced by Buddhism with a healthy dose of agnosticism and cynicism, and you’re about there.
In the real world, I’m a 30-something from Upstate New York with a healthy wanderlust and passion for adventure. I live to travel and experience everything the world has to offer but, like most, I have to balance that passion with the realities of a 9-5 job: limited vacation, limited budget, and limited flexibility. As with many people, I used to make excuses for my lack of truly living life and subscribed to the common belief that becoming complacent and settling down into a life of normalcy could be fulfilling. But it wasn’t.
I was lucky enough to be raised by a family of travelers. Beginning in my early years, my family took trips all around the United States and parts of Canada. Before I left elementary school, I had hiked through Yellowstone, hula’ed in Hawaii, and visited Disney World more times than is probably healthy. I had a very lucky childhood. My first trip abroad (other than Canada, which is only about an hour away from home) was to Cancun, Mexico my senior year in high school and I haven’t stopped wandering since then.
My typical travel habits consist of some variation of: wander, climb, drink, think, repeat. I love just soaking in the culture of a new city or area. My favorite moments usually involve a pub, some beer, and a friendly local or two. Tourist attractions have their place, and I dislike travelers who push them aside as worthless, but my favorite aspects of travel are those that can’t be ticked off in boxes. I love feeling the connection with local cultures, being wowed by the view or architecture of somewhere I’ve never been before, or just losing myself in a new place. To me, there’s nothing better.
In my day to day life, I work a desk job at a private, elite university and spend a lot of time hanging with my dog, Homer. My life revolves around the 9-5 (which is actually more like 7:30-5:30) grind, savoring the weekends and few and far between vacations. Working a 9-5 forces me to hoard my vacation days and think carefully about optimizing my time away. I tend to make the most of long weekend getaways, saving longer trips for the summer months when things are quieter at work. Although I’m a fan of slow travel, I’d never say no to a long weekend in Paris or a day trip to New York. I see the value in all travel experiences.
Living in western New York affords me the opportunity to explore some unique and beautiful local destinations that still remain hidden gems. The glaciated Finger Lakes are right around the corner and we have several unique glens and gorges nearby. I try to get out and explore these areas every chance I get. Niagara Falls is just a quick our trip to the west and two of the best major cities in the world, Toronto and New York, are just short drives away. It’s quite possibly one of the best areas to live for someone who likes to explore.
Basically, through this blog, I hope to show people how they can still manage travel with a 9-5, while sharing some of my travel adventures, giving people a taste of the beauty in western NY, and helping guide people on their own adventures.