1. What is your earliest travel memory?
My earliest travel memory is when we moved to the United States from our home in Seoul, South Korea. I was about 3 or 4 years old and completely devastated at the thought of never seeing my grandmother again. My mother tried to cajole me with promises of snow in the US and, in turn, I tearfully promised to mail some to my grandmother.
2. What has been one of your favorite trips and why?
This question used to always stump me, because I truly do love each place I’ve visited for different reasons, but after recently spending 3 weeks on a 100 guest expedition vessel exploring Antarctica – it’s a no brainer. ANTARCTICA. Because, come on, penguins!!
3. As a pro traveler, what are a few of your top travel tips?
Gah! This question is harder for me to answer than it should be, probably because it’s all second nature by now. Let’s see; first and foremost, always avoid checking luggage if you can. Not for fear of lost luggage, but for convenience and saving time! No checked bags means saving 20-40 minutes waiting in line to check it in, and another 20-40 minutes waiting at baggage claim to retrieve it. This can be especially important if traveling internationally with tight connections as you’ll save valuable time in customs and immigration as well. Bringing carry-ons only also gives you the flexibility to take earlier or later flights with ease – take that volunteer bump and get some free money towards your next flight!
4. What’s one of the most interesting things you’ve eaten on your travels?
Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yep, bull balls. I wouldn’t recommend them.
5. What do you most often bring home from your trips to remember them by?
I’m a huge proponent of spending money on memories, not things, so it’s rare that I purchase items for myself. My absolute favorite thing to bring home are recipes so I can share the smells and flavors with friends and family when I get home. I also keep any empty plastic water bottles handy during a trip because you never know when you’ll come across an amazing homemade hot sauce!
6. Were some or all of your tattoos inspired by your travels?
Oh I think I need to create a blog post dedicated to my tattoos! I have 11 designs, three of which are travel related. The first is a compass on the inside of my wrist, done in tandem with my best friend. The birds represent each other – I’m the west coast bird on her tattoo and she is the southern bird on mine. The second is a simple palm tree above my left elbow – because I’ve always said I could be happy anywhere as long there was a beach and palm trees. The third is my most recent and it’s an ongoing design. I wanted something to commemorate all the countries I’ve visited, but also express that no matter how much I love to travel, home is where the heart is. My 10th tattoo is the letter B turned into a heart just behind my left ear, for my husband, Benjamin. My 11th ongoing design are simple birds (one for each country) that all fly towards the B. I have a lot of catching up to do (I only have 4 birds but have visited 35 countries), but they will eventually make their way down my neck, over the shoulder, around the palm tree and ‘originate’ from the compass inside my wrist.