Welcome to From the Aisle Seat!

Me at Nyhavn in Copenhagen, August 2022

I’m Sarah, and I’m on a journey to every country in the world. From the Aisle Seat is my travel memoir.

Welcome to the greatest journey of my life. I think you’ll want to stick around, because there’s no telling how this story will unfold. That’s the best part.

Along the way, I meet people, taste foods, and experience places you deserve to know about. Those interactions are catalogued forever here. I also share what I’m reading each month, which our armchair traveling subscriber family loves. If you love books, you’ll fit in just fine here. :-) The cherry on top is the annual reading challenge! I write these in early winter, as every bit of creation around me slows. Those cozy days of cold are the best for a book.

If you love a good story, pull up a chair. If you, like me, have an insatiable thirst for adventure, pull up a chair. If you’re intrigued but not sure if this newsletter is right for your inbox, linger in the doorway until you feel comfortable stepping inside. This table has room for all of you, however long you want to stay.

About me

I’m a writer from Nashville, TN. Like many Americans, I grew up in a road trip family. Every summer, our multi-generational beautiful mess packed up the cars and drove to Panama City Beach and Gatlinburg (the Redneck Riviera and Redneck Aspen, respectively and respectfully). But something was missing. By the time I reached high school, I yearned for a new adventure.

When I was 19, I flew to Costa Rica for a month on a service-learning study abroad program. That was back when they were reasonably affordable, so I paid for the program on my own and then I told my (über-protective) family. As I’m sure you can imagine, that made for light dinner conversation. I had never been inside an airport or traveled by plane before. The day I left, I went alone, brand-new passport in hand, heart beating in ripple waves all throughout my body.

That month in the land of Pura Vida was the beginning of the rest of my life.

Two years later, I studied for a semester in Barcelona, where I lived a ten-minute walk from Sagrada Familia and traveled all over Europe with a tiny pink backpack. After graduating from college, I joined the Peace Corps in Ukraine with zero knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet and toting a few paperbacks. If you’re wondering, they were Beloved, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and I don’t remember the rest.

When my service was over, I started a freelance writing career so I could travel when the crowds are low and tickets are cheap. Sarah L. Travels was born on April 1, 2019 and I created From the Aisle Seat in a travel-less 2020. As I read more travel blogs, I learned that there are people aiming to visit every country in the world, and within seconds, I knew I was already one of them. I’ve been writing about my adventures and the marvels of this world ever since.

What to expect on Substack

Another beauty of this journey is that I have no clue how long it will take. I’m currently a student at Yale Divinity School, so until May 2025, I’m traveling on school breaks. Travel has completely changed my life, but it is not my entire life. There will be days I publish a piece of life here that doesn’t feel travel-y, and they are also part of the Journey to 197. With the lightning speed the Internet and blogging and whatnot change, my writing about this journey will evolve and (literally) travel as well. As I articulated it in an IG story awhile back, I will be traveling, I will be writing about it, and I’ll get it to whoever wants to read it.

If that’s you, you’re in the right place. <3

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon!

Until we meet again, safe travels.

P.s. If you’re looking for the kind of guide that’s like “I went to Paris and here’s where to stay,” those live on Sarah L. Travels (my OG blog). Everything else I feel like writing and sharing on the Internet lives here. :-)

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Stories and reflections from my journey to every country in the world. And books. Always books.


I'm on a journey to every country in the world, and I'm telling you about it as it happens.