Today’s jetsetter is one of our favorite travel tweeters. Based in Brooklyn (which just so happens to be our second favorite borough), Mario’s travel tales have single-handedly moved Guadeloupe and Copenhagen way up on our list, and we can’t wait to hear every detail on his upcoming trip to Ireland (the wino’s got a year’s worth of recs for you, Mario!!)
Favorite Place: My favorite place is Bosie Tea Parlor in New York City’s West Village. It’s quiet, quaint and has a great tea and macaron selection. Anyone who knows me knows that travel and tea are always on my mind.
More importantly, favorite meal: Anything that is curried or jerked and served over West Indian rice and peas with a side of steamed veggies can very well pass as my favorite meal. My Caribbean roots run deep and such a meal always hits home.
The moment you caught the travel bug: I caught the travel bug sometime around the age of 12 after returning from my first trip to the U.K. I had traveled to see my paternal family and we visited London, Manchester, Blackpool and Leicester. Since then, I’ve been stricken with an incurable case of wanderlust and quite frankly, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to and for my life.
First experience traveling alone: It was only a year ago that I actually found the courage to book a flight and head out on a solo journey. I jetted off to Nassau, Bahamas where I had a blast interacting with the locals and exploring the Bahamian culture. That has gone on record as the most liberating experience I’ve ever had, and I hope that everyone will be able to experience the same.
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: I am really thankful that I’ve never had any such experience because I have heard some pretty awful stories. With that being said, I try to be very aware of my surroundings at all times while traveling.
Worst hotel/hostel experience: None that I can recall and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a good thing. Yes?
Best hotel/hostel experience: I am always excited to talk about my first hostel experience which happened earlier this year. It was at the DanHostel in downtown Copenhagen, and although I didn’t know what to expect, it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. The property was clean and charming with a cafe and a piano by the bar. The staff was professional and friendly and offered a lap top for a small fee to check emails etc. I had a private room and a heavy-duty safe to store my belongings when I went out. From the horror stories that I’ve heard about hostels, I didn’t expect it to be that great, but I am proud that I took a chance and it paid off.
Favorite family vacation: Every time my mom traveled with my sister and I to visit our aunt in St. Maarten was special for one reason or the other. Those are indeed my favorite vacation memories.
Must-have packing items: Sunglasses and my camera.
Most unbelievable travel experience: The jury is still out on this one.
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Without a doubt, flying into Mexico City and hopping a 7-hour, cross-country bus ride to the Guerrero State on the Pacific coast. Did I mention that this was at a time when every media outlet warned against travel to Mexico because of the corruption involving government officials and drug cartels? I definitely had a “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?” moment just before my Mexicana Airlines flight took off from JFK airport, but the feak-out soon subsided. I came back in one piece and would certainly do it again without a doubt.
Place you can’t wait to return to: I can’t wait to return to Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. It was like Paris on an island. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Place you can’t be paid to return to: Any Waffle House establishment.
Any exciting trips coming up?: I am super excited about visiting Dublin (and surrounding cities), Ireland in February 2012. The Malahide Food and Drink Festival will take place while I’m there so that adds to the excitement.
Dream vacation: I dream of the day that I will vacation in South Africa and take Xhosa lessons. Nigeria and Kenya are also pretty high on my “list”. Basically, I have Africa on the brain.
Favorite tourist attraction: Standing at the top of La Quebrada in Acapulco, Mexico at night and watching the “Cliff Divers” plunge into the rough, dark waters below while holding torches. SPECTACULAR!!!
Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: Well, it wasn’t so much an attraction as it was a behavior. I was exploring the Heritage Quay in St. John’s, Antigua and racking up on souvenirs at the vendor shacks all while snapping photos and tweeting vigorously. I was really trying to play it cool and blend in as a local, but somehow they sensed that I was a “tourist”. What gives?
As always, we’d love to have you as our next jetsetter! Get in touch!
the romantic & the wino