How Carmen Sandiego Fuelled My Wanderlust


[trip style = any]

Editor's Note: Read until the bottom. Our biggest-ever giveaway awaits! 

Pl-ease tell me you remember the computer game/TV show: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

When I was a kidlet, my dad surprised our family one Christmas with a Macintosh Classic II computer. The magical box' screen was the size of my hand and the keys clicked like crickets. For the late-1980s; this was the peak of at-home technology. 

Along with the Mac, my dad got us Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, a geography- and adventure-themed computer game for kids following a female heroine {Carmen} as she trekked from Toronto to Tokyo all while wearing her signature wide-brimmed hat and cherry-red trench. 

Looking back, this is my first memory of the world map. Earth was no longer a confusing green- and blue-hued art piece suspended over the green chalk board in my grade three class, but a real place begging to be explored. 

Besides family trips exploring the West Coast or meeting Mickey at Disneyland, armchair traveling with Ms. Sandiego was my first brush with global travel. She fuelled my wanderlust {something I've never been able to ignore}.

Fast-forward to my first job post-university. After tasting Ms. Sandiego's globetrotting lifestyle in study-abroad classes at school, it became crystal clear my faux-wood desk would never grow jet propulsion engines or dole out fresh-baked croissants, so I quit and went to Paris. Twice. A stint working on a cruise ship followed. Finally, my travel dance card was inching closer to Carmen status.

In early 2014, launched "storybook", a campaign centred around turning travel ideas into reality. In the opening video a mom reads her son fantastical fairy tales and shows him it can all be real in a trip uncovering vast kingdoms, castles and villages on water. In partnership with this, as one of 12 Expedia Viewfinders in North America, I was asked "What's your travel storybook"? Or, what fuelled your fire for travel?

I thought about the answer for a long timeeven toyed with recreating the scene when I fell in love with Mr. Trip Styler on the Great Wall of China {no joke!}. Then it hit me. I have to give credence to Carmen; she played an early role in my wanderlust.

Realizing a story touching multiple coordinates on the map had to be visual, I made a video {including my own signature twist on Carmen's classic chapeau}:

This short reel recreates my early years of "Carm-chair travel" and follows my recent trip styled quests to San Francisco, Napa, Cannon Beach, Seattle, Canada's Sunshine Coast, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Mexico. 

While travel has a different impact on each wanderer, if I distill my cross-cultural adventures into one personal truth, it's this: Carmen-style curiosity is not quenched in a single country or trip, but in the stories we live along the way.

To my parents: Thank you for asking Santa to skip the neon scrunchies I asked for in 1989. The magical box ended up doing magical things in my life.

Trip Styled Travel: A Giveaway
The last scene of the video is shot in Mexico's Riviera Maya at one of my favorite hotels, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, an all-villa resort where each abode comes with its own plunge pool {see my hotel photos + profile in TS' latest Roam+Board feature}. Having had my eye on this chic stay for the past five years, I wanted to share the TS love with the world explorer in all of us in our MOST EPIC trip styled prize package ever:

A three-night stay at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and a US$750 flight credit toward your trip from {a value totalling more than US$2500}. 

Contest Details
1/ You must be 18 or over and a legal US resident to enter. {To my Canadian friends: This is because the giveaway is in partnership with} 
2/ The contest is open from Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 at noon PST. 
3/ The winner, chosen at random by Rafflecopter, will be announced and contacted by 5pm on Wednesday, July 2nd, and has 48 hours to make contact once we email you with the good news. If we don't hear from you, we will do a second draw. 
4/ The Banyan Tree voucher is valid from May 1, 2014 – May 1, 2015 (excluding Christmas, New Year, Easter and Holiday periods). The US$750 flight credit from is valid July 1, 2014 - July, 1, 2015.

[Thank you to Expedia for making this project and this giveaway possible.]