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 Amanda of Farsickness. Amanda is an American currently living in Seoul, South Korea, teaching writing to elementary ESL students, and planning her long term, post-teaching-contract trip.1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
I think that a traveler is anyone who puts travel as a priority in their life. Whether they are a full-time nomad or just someone who spends their two weeks on an adventure, if it is important to you, you are a traveler. I consider myself a traveler because when I'm not on the road or planning my next trip, I'm incredibly unhappy.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
I've had a lot of amazing experiences, but one that really sticks with me is my first trip to Europe as an adult. I visited a friend who was studying in Barcelona and it was during this trip that I really fell in love with the idea of living abroad. She showed me her favorite spots in the city, I stumbled through broken Spanish, and we laughed about the horrible restaurants we somehow always found ourselves in. The sadness I felt when that trip was over led me to discover how much I love to travel.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
The first time I got up the nerve to take a solo trip. I'm a shy, somewhat anxious person by nature and solo travel seemed like something that would cause me to panic. In reality, this trip forced me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to a form of travel that I actually really enjoy. I spent five days in Florence meeting new people, planning my days the way I wanted, and spending afternoons writing at different cafes in different piazzas without any of the anxiety I thought I would feel.
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?
Nothing too terrible has ever happened to me while traveling, luckily. The most common bad experience tends to be delayed, cancelled, or diverted flights. My family even jokes that they don't want to fly with me because it happens on such a large percentage of flights I'm on. The most annoying was during a weekend trip to Dublin when I lived in Rome. My Thursday night flight was cancelled due to a snow “storm” and I was rescheduled for a Friday morning flight, which ended up being delayed nearly five hours. This left me very little time to actually explore Dublin and it ended up being my least favorite city in Europe. I would definitely go back, though. I know I didn't give it a fair shot!
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
My iPhone. If I had nothing else I'd still be able to take photos, listen to music, keep in contact with people, research my next destination, jot down notes, and, probably most importantly, use GPS do I don't get lost.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
The myriad of cords needed to charge all my electronics. They create so much bulk, always seem to be tangled, and the one I need at the moment is usually between layers of clothes near the bottom of my top-loading backpack.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
That people everywhere are a lot more similar than they are different. It's easy to look at someone's religion, skin color, income level, or even what they eat for breakfast and automatically assume that their life is radically different from your own. But through living with an Italian family in Rome, working in Korea, and traveling, I've learned that these are just outward differences. When you boil it down, life is just life everywhere. Whether it's getting into an argument with a father, a smile over a shared meal, or a proud look on a mother's face — this happens all around the world.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Rome. It's a place I've lived twice and can't get enough of. It's beautiful, full of history, and just frustrating enough to keep things interesting. And the food. Oh, the food.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Narrowing down everything I want to do is pretty much impossible, but right now I'm kind of obsessed with seeing the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Don't be scared to walk into a restaurant alone. As much I enjoy solo travel, I always hated eating alone. The thought of even entering a restaurant sans company filled me with anxiety. Though I'd still prefer company, I've now realized that, for the most part, no one cares if you eat alone.
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.