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 Andi Perullo of My Beautiful Adventures. Andi is a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day, travel addict by night. When she is not treating patients, she is exploring the world or dreaming of the next place to visit.
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
A long time ago I read a quote by a woman named Lea Lane that has stuck with me. It is, “The difference between a tourist and a traveler is that a tourist seeks only comfort while a traveler seeks discovery. They take more risks. They get pleasure in overcoming difficulties and discomforts, and they seek out the people.” I do not believe that I could be more succinct than that in defining what the word “traveler” means to me. I consider myself one, because not only do I follow that definition wholeheartedly, but when I am not traveling, I am either dreaming of traveling or planning my next trip. I eat, live, and breathe traveling.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
This question is absolutely impossible to answer! However, some of the special experiences have been learning how to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, traveling solo in the Amazon Rainforest, sneaking into Cuba illegally, driving across the Outback in a camper van, falling in love in Buenos Aires, and riding an elephant through a fort in India.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
Two years ago, I traveled to Bolivia and Peru. Unfortunately, I was really struggling with severe altitude sickness and, to make matters worse, halfway through I fell and broke my ankle. South America is not in the least bit handicap friendly, so to get around on crutches with a giant cast in pain and feeling sick was almost an insurmountable challenge. However, I decided to keep going. Thank goodness I did, because the last part of the trip was driving through the Bolivian desert and I am convinced it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Once I returned home and it really hit me what I had just accomplished, not only was I proud of myself, but I also felt like there was no challenge I could not surpass in the future.
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?
On my first trip to Spain, I had absolutely everything important stolen. It was over the Christmas/New Year holidays, thus it was difficult to get replacements of credit cards, my passport, etc. Plus, all of my photos were gone from the entire trip. Of course I was heartbroken for the loss, but I refused to start the new year upset. Obviously, I did not let that stop me from returning to Spain, as I was just there this past July. Believe it or not, this time I had to get an emergency root canal and I fell off my scooter and hurt my leg. I must be jinxed when it comes to Spain, but I will not let that stop me from returning yet again! I love the country, the culture, the people. Bad things happen and if they did not, we would never be able to fully appreciate the good things.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
Two things: 1) my camera and 2) my charm necklace. I collect gold charms from all over the world and when I am enroute to my destination I always wear it for good luck.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
Make up and hair products. I wish that I was a more natural girl, but I am not. You will find me wearing a dress whether I am skydiving, climbing a volcano, or riding an elephant.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
That as humans we are all connected, no matter where we live. We all suffer, we all have dreams, we all seek love. I believe this so strongly and it has made me a better person and a better doctor.
I am not sure that I could stay in one place for the rest of my life, as I have a gypsy spirit and tend to get restless after a while. My top 5 favorite cities in the world are: NYC (lived there for four years), Buenos Aires (have traveled there seven times and am getting married there in May), Cape Town, Barcelona, and Melbourne (have been there three times and lived their briefly for two months). Having said that, I was recently in Buzios, Brasil, which is where I got engaged, and after our first day there, my fiancé and I both agreed that it felt like “home.” Our dream would be to open a pousada (a bed and breakfast) there.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Antarctica. It is #1 on my dream destination list. It is the last continent I have yet to explore. To me, there does not exist a place that compares to it! I am not a cold weathered person, but to see nature’s grandeur and visit a place that up until this century no person had stepped foot on would be the ultimate adventure.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Changes in life are inevitable, especially when traveling. I named my site “My Beautiful Adventures,” because while most adventures have trying moments that are filled with change, in the end each of them are simply beautiful, since change enriches our lives and teaches us about our true selves. Change is an undertaking usually involving unknown risks and challenges that lead to unforgettable experiences. My life is filled with one beautiful adventure after another since I have now learned to embrace change.
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.