Today we have a special blog post – our first interview with a travel blogger! We are very pleased to feature the very talented travel blogger Suzy Guese, who is answering our questions from Italy! Definitely check out Suzy’s travel writing at SuzyGuese.com, and be sure to read her most recent, and very funny, blog post entitled Combatting Travel Crankiness.
1. Introduce yourself to the Tripping Blog and describe how you discovered your love of travel:
My name is Suzy Guese. I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly the moment I discovered I loved travel as I have been traveling since I was 3 years old. My parents were brave and brought a redheaded baby on a flight to Florida. I do however remember that excitement as a kid of being woken up in the middle of the night to hit the road for the all American road trip. With five kids in my family, we filled a suburban all across the United States. Those first experiences with travel as a kid instilled an excitement in me to pack up a backpack full of all the necessities, at that time dolls, crayons and baby wipes, and hit the road in search of laughter, new sights, rich experiences and always some sort of change in me when I returned.
2. You write that your blog showcases “people and places from around the world not in the ordinary, travel guidebook sense”. In what ways do your travel experiences allow you to see the other side of these people and places?
I love guidebooks, reading them aloud as I travel about the places, but they don’t lend the emotions of travel. Those come when an individual sees that sight or has said dish. Guidebooks and the rest of the travel industry often ignore putting the emotion in travel, but that is the leading force behind my travels. I hope I bring more of the metaphysical aspects to travel, for to me they are the most powerful. I try to throw my whole self into travel to accomplish this. Sometimes I think it is easy to hide away while you travel, but if you expose yourself, immerse yourself in language, locals and culture, travel lends that emotion no other area of life can. My best travels are those where I have lived with the locals. The inside a local possesses, I believe, is one of the few ways to see the other side of travel, between the liens of the sights and restaurants you must try.
3. What is your travel motto, distilled into one sentence?
Pack sarcasm, passion and appreciation wherever you go, corner drug store or corner of the world.
4. What is your preferred way to travel? Solo or with a group?
Solo travel is without a doubt better for me. I am in control. I have to figure it all out. No one can help me. Nothing is familiar. I have no one to complain to when something goes wrong. However, traveling with a group can lend itself to such rich experiences that you can share with others and take home. While there is solo travel by definition, I guess you are never really alone. You have to reach out to someone to get you where you need to be.
5. From your travel experiences, do you have any safety tips for young women traveling abroad?
Trust, but not easily. Sicilians have a stare I learned about while studying in Sicily years ago. They are suspicious of foreigners due to their history of always being invaded by someone. They look with a suspicious eye at every new person. Once they get to know you, they let you in. I try to travel like a Sicilian. I wrote about this recently on my experience traveling on a train to Rome and having a carload of men from Bangladesh pile into my empty car for conversation. I was intimidated and somewhat scared, not knowing if they were being genuine or sinister. I think in the end, women have to go with their instincts. You don’t want to hamper your travel experience by being overly closed off, but at the same time you face challenges men do not. If you feel a bad situation coming on, get out of it. I never stick things out if I’m not comfortable.
6. You have started a weekly feature on your blog called “Suzy Stumbles” where you highlight 5 travel posts submitted by your readers. Have you ever gotten travel ideas from one of those posts or something you read in the travel blogosphere?
All the time! I am always so impressed by the entries I receive. Often times I get that hint of jealousy in the back of the brain saying, “Hey why didn’t you think of that?”. I also notice trends in writers. Most weeks many are thinking or exploring the same aspects to travel. I definitely have a newfound urge to explore South America, Australia and New Zealand after reading many submissions.
7. You have a “Travel Rants” section on your blog. Are there any travel subjects that have riled you up recently?
I am a redhead so I always tend to get riled up about something. It is not always a good thing, but my excuse is genetics. Sort of along the same lines as the travel industry not stressing emotional travel, I was recently on a low cost airline in Europe. Without naming names, I couldn’t believe how much they nickel and dime you for planes that seem unsafe and hour and a half check-in lines that make you miss your flight. Nothing makes me angrier than companies taking advantage of people who just want to travel. Those that charge to print out boarding passes at the gate (this one was 40 euros) are just taking advantage of travelers. A piece of paper can’t cost that much and you should never have to pay for it just so you can get going on your travel experience.
8. Favorite travel quote?
I thought I was the Little Mermaid at one point in time, so I will go with a quote from a traveling redhead mermaid. “Wanderin’ free, with I could be, part of that world.” -Ariel
9. Any last words?
Thank you for having me here!