Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the traveler is Suzy Guese of suzyguese.com. Originally from Colorado, Suzy has been traveling basically since birth, and is currently spending the summer in Italy, exploring and writing about her adventures as she experiences them with “a redheaded temperament.”
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
A traveler is anyone in search of something, a person open to new cultures and experiences and not limited by where they are. I think the term traveler is often given to those that actually, physically travel. However, mental travel is something anyone can experience. Those that have an imagination and sense of wonder can travel no matter their location. I consider myself a traveler as I am always in search of something else, always excited to take on a new destination. Even when I am in one place, like home for example, I still feel I am a traveler, imagining new places and people to uncover.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
I lived with two host families throughout Italy when I was in college. One was a family of all women when I was 18 years old. The other was an elderly couple looking for companionship when I was 20 years old. Both experiences taught me more about Italian culture and people than anything else. I considered these people family away from home. It is a difficult thing to find, people you can trust and confide in when you are traveling. Moving from place to place doesn’t lend itself to establishing relationships on a steady basis. I’m glad I stayed put for a while and found family abroad.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
My proudest travel moment was only fairly recently. I conquered public transportation in Milan all by myself. At the risk of sounding like a child, I was so worried about decoding the metro, train, and bus systems that when I actually had to face figuring it out, everything fell into place. I experienced this great sense of empowerment and independence. Sure, I worried and fretted, reading up before my trip on how to use the metro, etc., but in the end, I came out with a giant smile on my face that the confusion was enough for me to handle all alone.
4. Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
I don’t think it is possible to travel without a hiccup or bump in the road. Probably my worst travel experience came when I agreed to be an au pair in Italy for the summer. I arrived to the boonies of Italy, flat farmland outside of Bologna. The family was less than welcoming as they showed me to my room. My room ended up being a hallway. So people don’t believe me when I say that, but it literally was a bed in a hallway. The family would wander in and out of my “room” at all hours of the day and night. I had no privacy and nothing to do, without any sort of communication with the outside world. I ended up leaving the job after 3 sleepless nights. I definitely never want to return to that small nothing town. Perhaps that is closed minded of me, but I have grown so much since that time. If anything it would just be a reminder to me that I was doing something just to travel, with no passion behind it. Oh, and I learned the extreme importance of always having a door you can shut for your sanity.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
My computer. I work on the road and keep in touch with friends and family back home using my computer. I am incredibly socially saturated, but leaving my computer behind is just not an option.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
My computer. It is incredibly heavy and cumbersome. Aside from the weight, I would like to be able to just cut out the rest of the world on my travels, engulfing myself in a place. Sometimes technology and staying connected gets in the way.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I guess I have learned I am not as independent as I think I am. While travel is an incredibly independent experience, you must rely on others to get you there, for interaction, and for meaning. Without people at a destination and on the way there, I’m not sure travel would exist. Every trip I go on, I am reminded of the deep connections one culture shares with another. The world may be big, but the differences among places and people are not so vast.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If you had asked me a few months ago this question, I would have said Italy. I studied abroad in Italy for almost 2 years throughout college and returned again this summer for three months. I love Italy and thought I could possibly live here, but this summer has changed my opinion somewhat. You can only take so many ciao bellas and disorganization before it begins to wear on you. Not that I don’t enjoy Italy, but I want to see what else is out there. I’ll let you know when I find out where that might be.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Where do I begin! There really isn’t a place I don’t want to see, with the exception of the little town where my hallway was. I guess I would like to have the experience of endless travel. I have yet to just keep moving, usually going back home for a few months then taking off. I would like to go around the world and not go home for a while, testing my limits with living out of a suitcase of an extended period of time.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Keep your temper in check and always pack appreciation. Perhaps it is my redheaded nature, but I tend to let little bumps in the road bother me on my travels. In the end, they make for great stories and are not worth getting angry or upset over. Often times I get home from a long trip or travel experience and wish I was back on the road. A traveler needs to appreciate every moment they are in a new place for you never know if you will return. Few get the opportunities you do.
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.