About Me

photo of Sarah Swank smiling in red lipstick and a hat on her about me page

Hey there! Welcome to Suitcase Six.

My name is Sarah, and I’m from the Midwestern United States of America. I’m in the second half of my twenties, and I’ve been traveling internationally as much as I can since about 2015. Since then I’ve been to about 35 sovereign countries over four continents, spending about 1.5 years on the road in total. All the while, I’ve been working as a program director for a mentoring program in Indiana youth prisons in my spare time.

A bit about me…

  • I am a daily coffee drinker. Black please.
  • I’m also a black cat mama, and black clothing wearer.
  • I’ve had a yoga practice for about eight years now.
  • Hablo un poco español.
  • I love lists. Like truly, truly love them.
  • I’m a Scorpio.
  • Learning, improving, and trying to be a better citizen of the world is always on my to-do list.

I didn’t grow up in a family of international travelers. In fact, I’ve spent 20 years of my short life living in Indiana and aside from a weeklong cruise with my family as a kiddo, I never left the country until I turned 21.

So how did I end up here? I attribute this in large part to the close group of women who have been a large part of my inspiration to travel. Suitcase Six was born of the idea to share the stories of five of my best friends and our experiences traveling the world. (5 + me = 6, hence the Suitcase Six).

When I was in high school, I watched Melissa take off for Germany to spend a semester in school. Laura and Anna also took a few trips abroad during summers through their church, and Marie and Tahvi had visited other states and countries on family vacations. Suddenly, I had hopes of seeing the world for myself.

Suitcase Six girls sitting on a boat on Lake Tahoe at sunset.

I recall later watching the movie “Bucket List,” and then taking my friends adventures into consideration, crafting a detailed bucket list of my own and adding “see every country” to the top of the list. I was desperate to get out and see the world and I couldn’t wait for my turn, though I kind of worried it would never come. After all, I had no money in college but after graduation, I’d have to get a job and then my travels would be finished! Right?

Well, not quite.

Fast forward a bit to mid-college and I’d developed a close relationship with a professor who hired me as her research assistant. After learning of my aspirations to travel, she invited me along on her annual research trip to Costa Rica in the summer where I was to intern for three weeks.

In the summer of 2015, I set off for Central America with a large backpack, limited Spanish proficiency, and a bundle of nerves. I added five weeks of travel to the internship I’d been offered me and spent the next two months exploring from Belize to Panama. When I returned home, the flicker of an interest in travel had fanned into a flame, and I had a new passion for seeing the world. This trip taught me one of the most influential lessons I’ve learned to date:

Travel and work do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I have learned and continue to learn so much about travel, work, and how they are interrelated from the working women in my life – specifically my five friends with whom I’ve grown up, but also from women I encounter across the world in my travels. And I’ve realized from the wandering women with whom I’ve crossed paths that work and travel are far from exclusive.

In fact, my work has informed my travel and created more opportunities for me to explore the world, while my travel has given me a global perspective on the work I do and the work women are doing worldwide.

My hopes are that by sharing my adventures and the collective wisdom of women who have travelled before and alongside me, I will push myself to meet and learn from more wandering women and maybe help women who are interested in travel find inspiration to do so in their own ways.

Maybe instead of seeing our careers as barriers to exploring the world, we can begin to see them as vehicles for our international adventures, our important work influencing and being influenced by the colorful cultures around the globe.

So what’s my mission?

My mission with Suitcase Six is to help busy people travel more often, more sustainably, and more ethically.

Here’s what you’ll find on my blog and social media:

  • practical tips on how to travel more sustainably and ethically
  • advice and inspiration from working women around the world on how they balance their careers with their wanderlust and incorporate sustainability into their lives/trips
  • info about global issues in travel and sustainability related industries and how we can be a part of the solution
  • itineraries, guides, reviews, and photos from my personal journeys

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I send a once weekly newsletter (as often as possible) with new post, eco-friendly tips, trip planning resources and occasional photos of my travels. Get signed up for the newsletter below! I can’t wait for you to join me in this learning experience as we figure out how to see more of the world while taking care of it!