All About Me


This is Me in a Nutshell

Hello!  My name is Jen Raymond, a full time Spanish teacher who has a passion for travel.  Together with My Partner in Crime we like to travel the world to not only see the sites, but to embrace the culture as well.

Thankfully, my teaching schedule allows me to travel multiple time during the year (thank goodness for summers off) so we try to schedule trips plenty in advance.  As much as I would love to chuck it all and become a “professional” traveler, my two kids keep me grounded in Michigan.  So…for now…traveling on my breaks will have to do.

 In 1999 I got bit by the travel bug when I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for one month.  After Barcelona, I went on a bus tour through Europe and had a blast.  I was convinced that the travel life was for me and decided that after college I would return to Europe and never look back.  Life had other plans for me, however, and it wasn’t until 2015 that I was able to travel again.  That was the year I met my Partner in Crime and we hit the ground running.  From our first trip we have been dedicated to traveling as much as possible.  Trust me, it takes a lot of budgeting and doing with out, but we make it work.

I am so excited that you decided to join me on all my crazy travel adventures.  Hopefully, they will inspire you to follow all of your travel dreams.  If I can do it, so can you!


A Pin On The Map: The Origins

While I was in Vienna, Austria there was a map of the world in the bathroom and each visitor was asked to put a pin on the map of where you were from.  I thought this was a fantastic idea and started pondering how I could make one and tailor it to my own travels.  A quick Google search and I was all ready to go (see how to build your own pin board below).

After a few hours (yes, I said hours….I am not the most crafty person) and the enlisted help of my two aunts I was ready to hang my pin board.  My Partner in Crime and I already decided that we would only pin places that we had visited together.  Currently, this only includes about 8 places, but it was so fun to put the first pins in together.

Although I put up the board to proudly display my travels to friends and family, its place behind my kitchen table has given it far more meaning.  At dinner, my kids are always referencing the map, talking about where we have been and where they want to go in the future.  Travel has been the topic of conversation during dinner more times then I can count.  With out even knowing it, I have started a desire to travel and learn about other cultures in my children.  All of this with a map! Who knew?!?  (I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will pass geography with flying colors…)

Want to make a pin board of your own?  Check out the directions below:


Step 1: Go shopping! Here’s what you need to buy:

  • Map – I got mine from Amazon  Prices range from $5.99 to $20.00.  Make sure it is unlaminated and unframed.  The size is up to you.  I bought a poster sized.  NOTE: I would recommend flattening out your map in advance, so that the final assembly stages go more easily than they do with a rolled up piece of paper.
  • Frame – I got mine at Michael’s for pretty cheap.  The price will vary depending on the size.
  • Cork board – I bought a roll of 2 X 4 cork board roll on Amazon for $8.99. This size worked well for me, but if I had to do it again I would definitely buy flat cork board instead of the roll.
  • Pins – I also bought these on Amazon.  They came with a bundled price with the map.
  • Adhesive of choice – I recommend rubber cement or something stronger.

Step 2: Disassemble the frame. Remove the backing and the clear plastic (or glass, if you have an unnecessarily fancy frame).

Step 3: Use the plastic (which you won’t need anymore) to measure the cork board and cut accordingly.

Step 4: Apply adhesive to your backing.

Step 5: Adhere cork board to backing, stack stuff on top of it and let it sit for a while–you want it to stay together, after all.

Step 6: Reassemble your frame. Map in front, cork board/backing in the back. Don’t reassemble using the plastic/glass as that would obviously defeat the purpose of a pin map! This also seems silly to say, but make sure everything’s facing the appropriate direction–you don’t want to put everything together and then realize that your map hangs upside down. *NOTE: Problems can arise during this stage if your map isn’t flattened out in advance or your cork board isn’t trimmed enough.

Step 7: Apply pins!!!

Step 8: Hang and enjoy!