It all started with a simple question: Why do you travel? A question that has prompted answers like traveling to learn, or that travel is food for the soul, or for new perspectives. This week, the answer to why our guest poster travels is one that I understand in more ways than one. I am so thankful that our paths crossed on Linkedin and that she is here telling her story. Our guest poster, Courtney Mroch is the Director of Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a travel site for restless spirits, tells the story of traveling to confront a new way of life. When she’s not jaunting or writing about it, she’s likely indulging in her other passion: tennis. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and their three fur kids.


courtney mroch | LiveDoGrowIn 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is the reason I started Haunt Jaunts, a travel site for restless spirits.

But it’s really rather funny I ended up as a travel writer at all. I’ve always wanted to write. I had aspired to be a fiction writer. Travel writing? That seemed so smart. Too smart for me. I was perfectly happy making things up, not detailing facts.

Plus, even though I grew up in a family of explorers, travel always sort of scared me. There are so many unknowns. Nothing’s in your control. Except, of course, the planning of the trip. But once you’re there, you’re vulnerable. Anything can happen. If you even get there. So much can go wrong, can’t it?

I used to worry a lot about the logistics of making a trip happen. But confronting Death had a funny way of putting things in perspective.

And, yes, it is ironic that of all the “genres” of travel I could be interested in, I pick the one dealing with dead people. Or, more precisely, the places where the dead are rumored to roam.

However, even before the cancer, I liked checking out haunted places. I used to con my husband into taking day trips on weekends to haunted places I’d read about. (Luckily he suffers from perpetual wanderlust, so it wasn’t all that hard to sucker him into going.) He was the one who dubbed our excursions “haunt jaunts.”

“Let me guess. More ghosts. Great. Another haunt jaunt. Well, all right. At least we’re getting out of the house.”

I had intended to tackle a non-fiction book and call it, Haunt Jaunts: A Travel Guide for Restless Spirits.

Back then, time seemed endless. I kept procrastinating. Other things seemed more important. I had forever to write a book, didn’t I? I’d eventually get to it.

Travel to Confront Cancer | LiveDoGrow

Then I got cancer. Time suddenly seemed to be the last thing I had much of to squander. I regretted so much. Or, rather, not doing so much.

Luckily, I had wonderful doctors, family and friends who helped me rally back to health. As I was doing so, I made a list of things I’d like to do when I got better. Making Haunt Jaunts a reality was one of them.

Since publishing a book can take a lot of time, I decided to start Haunt Jaunts, a travel blog for restless spirits. It became my “get off the couch recovery project” as I went through my cancer. It’s now evolved into a travel site which has all the facets I would’ve wanted my book to have. Even more really.

But I needed to travel in order to have something to write about. So, that’s why I travel. However, it’s become more than just fodder for my fingers on my keyboard.

Planning trips is still not my favorite thing (I’ve decided the cause is laziness, however, not fear), but when I’m haunt jaunting I’m living my life, not living in fear. It’s a far better state to dwell –and travel—in. I wouldn’t recommend the road I traveled on to learn that lesson, though. (Cancer Street is a dark and scary place. Avoid it at all costs!)

So….as the summer season closes, is your answer to why do you travel the same?


Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Life coach, wellness and travel writer, yogini, former teacher, adventure seeker, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.


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