Thursday Traveler: Mica from KayPachaTravels

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 Mica of KayPachaTravels. Mica is a 30-something traveler who is finally on the road full-time. She studied photography and fell in love with cooking as a child, so she decided to work as a chef. These days, she recently completed her TEFL certification and is living and working in Cusco for 6 months while she waits for her other half, a marine engineer named Mike, to finish working so they can head off on their latest adventure — touring SE Asia for a year.

1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?

A traveler is a person who's curious about the world. Traveling is the only way to see it, and that's how I see myself — a curious soul who wants to explore the world.

2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?

There are so many great moments while traveling, but a recent favorite experience would be the month I spent living in the jungle in Peru. No electricity, eating bugs, drinking water from bamboo trees, swimming in the rivers, learning about medicinal plants, feeling the heartbeat of the earth… Truly a magical experience.

3. How about your proudest travel moment?

My proudest travel moment is occurring right now — finally learning my way around this awesome city I currently call home: Cusco. Living like a local here — learning the names of my streets, having my weekly conversations with the ladies at the market, hearing my juice girl ask me if I want “my usual”… So exciting! I can actually show people around now!

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've had a few travel scares — once getting robbed in Belize City waiting for the boat to Caye Caulker — but it was a stupid mistake and you really learn to trust only yourself with your things while traveling. Last fall, someone tried to snatch the camera off my shoulder in Cartagena. I would (and have since) gone back to both places and would again. Mishaps can occur anywhere, and it's not fair to dismiss a charming city because of a bad experience.

5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.

One thing I never travel without is my Estee Lauder face cream. At my age, moisturizing is necessary to keep the wrinkles at bay, and it does double duty soothing bad sunburns.

6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.

Sometimes I wish I could travel without my pillow. I have this habit of needing my pillow with me. Its the pillow off my bed from home and it makes me feel comfy and safe. People always laugh at me when they see me with my pillow, but I love it. Sometimes it makes all the difference on a bus ride. But I think for my upcoming SE Asia trip I am going to try to leave it at home!

7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?

The biggest thing I've learned while traveling is that when I am not traveling, I feel like something is missing. I've been backpacking off and on since 2005 now, and I could not see my life any other way. I've learned that this lifestyle, while not completely understood by friends and family, makes me happy and my mission in life is to make myself happy following my own path. Being a gypsy completely suits me!

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

So far, since coming to Peru for the first time in 2007, I have wanted to come back and live in Cusco. I feel a special sort of energetic connection to this city. Last year, I rented an apartment and had some of the best times. This year, I decided to live here again and, although I have good and bad days, I can't imagine anywhere else I'd want to be. Six months is not even enough!

9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.

I would like to get certified for scuba and go cage diving with great white sharks. I really love the sea and I look forward to exploring more of the ocean's beauty. I plan on getting certified in Thailand, so I'm almost halfway there!

10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?

In reality, I don't wish anyone had told me anything about traveling before I started backpacking. I don't tend to listen to advice because I am stubborn, and I like to figure things out for myself. I like knowing that almost everything I've learned from traveling I've had to figure out on my own. It has shaped my personality, for sure. Every mistake I've made or amazing experience I've had, each moment has helped me grow as a person and learn for the next time.

Visit Mica's site: KayPachaTravels
Follow Mica on Twitter: @kaypachatravels
“Like” Mica on Facebook: KayPachaTravels

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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.

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