jetsetters: @TheWrldWanderer

the-romantic-the-winoIt’s jetsetter day! This week’s jetsetter is Erin of The World Wanderer and it’s hard for us not to be seriously jealous of her next trip. In July/August, Erin is off on her first solo trip (!) to Africa, hitting up Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Egypt, where she’ll meet up with her boyfriend for a tour of Cairo and Luxor. I mean, honestly.

We strongly recommend catching up on Erin’s past adventures on her blog, and following along on her safari adventure via twitter!


Favorite Place: I honestly love everywhere I’ve been, but if I have to choose one place, I would have to say Croatia.  My grandfather was born there, so when we visit, we stay in the house he was born in.  It’s very “Under the Tuscan Sun,” with an old house full of surprises, like moths and scorpions, but uncovering the history is what I love most.  The town he’s from is tiny, only eight people live there year round, with a church, cemetery, and a convenience store that’s open a few hours morning and evening.  There are trucks that deliver wine, fruit, and vegetables a few times a week, and the town feels far from civilization.  While there, we sit and drink wine, eat fresh food, and relax.  Add in the pebbled beach down the block and swimming in the Adriatic, and you have absolute paradise.

More importantly, favorite meal: Growing up right outside of New York City, I have to say that even though I’ve traveled all around, it’s hard for me to say that the food anywhere else is better than the food here.  I couldn’t pick just one, so I have chosen two sandwiches, and both are from restaurants in Brooklyn.  First, is the turkey leg sandwich from Henry Public in Cobble Hill.  Pulled turkey meat topped with fried onions and served on Texas toast, there’s really no better meal for lunch.

I also love the speck and egg sandwich served at brunch at Thistle Hill Tavern in Park Slope.  Served on a potato roll and topped with cheddar, tomato, and herd aioli, it’s the perfect breakfast sandwich.  Add on their salt and pepper fries and a blood orange mimosa, and there’s no better way to start a morning.

The moment you caught the travel bug: I think I was born with it.  Growing up, my parents would always take us on trips, even if they were local, and I loved learning about the world I lived in.  Then, in high school, we took our first trip to Ireland together, and I think that’s when really I realized that I wanted to see the world.  Since then, I’ve taken any opportunity I could to travel and haven’t looked back.

First experience traveling alone: Two of my close friends were studying abroad in London and Rome during the Spring Semester of our Junior year of college, and we decided to all meet up in London for Easter.  I remember being nervous about flying and taking the Tube all by myself, but it wound up being easier than I expected.  Since then, I’ve flown to New Zealand, Fiji, and Thailand alone, but my first solo trip will be to Africa at the end of this month.

Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: I’ve never been in any real danger while traveling, but I do remember feeling on edge in Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City.  Everyone we met told us that they had been robbed at some point during their stay.  Luckily, out of my group of five girls, we all left the country with all of our possessions.

Worst hotel/hostel experience: I took a three day tour of Northern Thailand last July and the company offered a free night in their guest house at the end.  The person we booked through warned us that the accommodations were very basic, but we were too tempted by the free night.  We should have listened to him.  Electric wires were hanging out around the shower, the sink was separate from the rest of the bathroom with a barred but open window that led to an alley, the furniture was falling apart, and the sheets were dirty.  I drank a few Chang beers and stayed up all night watching music videos.  At some point, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep, but now I know that free accommodations are usually not worth it.

Best hotel/hostel experience: My friends and I stayed at the Novotel in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and everyone on their staff went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable.  But, what set it apart from any other hotel experience is the service they provided when we needed a bus home back to Ho Chi Minh City.  Not realizing that the week we were there was also a school holiday week for Vietnamese children, most buses were all booked up, and those that weren’t began filling up quickly.  Unfortunately, we needed to be on a bus by a certain day to catch a plane home.  When the staff realized this, they called their friends and did everything they could to get us tickets for a bus.  They even went as far as to have someone motorbike our tickets over to us, so that we wouldn’t have to go to the ticket office, and after the stress of finding a bus, this was definitely a relief.

Favorite family vacation: The summer my family spent three and a half weeks in Europe.  We visited family in Ireland, flew to Germany, drove through Austria and Slovenia to get to Croatia to visit more family, drove to Italy, then back up to Germany, and flew back to Ireland to visit family.  It was one adventure that I will never forget.

Must-have packing item:  Wipes.  You can clean your face, your feet, and freshen up when you feel disgusting or can’t shower for a few days.

Most unbelievable travel experience: Seeing Brussels in 24 hours with no sleep.  My friend, Lara, and I headed straight from the pub in Dublin to the airport, barely sleeping on the journey.  Then we only had a very limited amount of time in Brussels before heading to Amsterdam, but there was lots for us to see.  With the help of the friends we were visiting, we managed to see a good amount of the city and had enough time to sample plenty of Belgian beer.

Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: While in Chiang Mai, we went off-roading, elephant trekking, and white water rafting, but the most unbelievable experience was tiger petting.  We visited Tiger Kingdom, signed our waivers, and then entered the cages with the tigers.  I’ve never been more terrified in my life.  But, I do love getting out of my comfort zone and this definitely did the trick.  I still can’t believe I did it!

Place you can’t wait to return to: Everywhere. Croatia, Thailand, and Fiji are on the list, but if I have to pick one, I’d say New Zealand.  There’s so much to do and see, but I only saw the North Island.  I’d love to start at the top and drive all the way to the bottom and back.

Place you can’t be paid to return to: I don’t really know if there is one, but, there is one place I didn’t really love…Germany.  Everyone I meet thinks that I’m crazy, but Munich didn’t do the trick for me.  I would, however, like to give it another chance at some point.

Any exciting trips coming up?: Yes!  I will be heading to Africa for four weeks at the end of July.  I’m starting off at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side and then going down through Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, and eventually up to Egypt.  It’s a much different trip than I’m used to, but I’ve been waiting to get to Africa for as long as I can remember, so I’m very excited.

Dream vacation: Right now, a trip that combines Antarctica with South and Central America.  I’d like to be gone for a few months, with no real agenda. Total and absolute freedom.

Favorite tourist attraction: Probably the Eiffel Tower.  I waited years to see it and fell in love with it the moment I saw it.  I’m still waiting to go back to see it again.

Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: I love going grocery shopping abroad.  Even if I don’t need anything, I’m obsessed with walking down the aisles and seeing what’s for sale.  I’m always impressed by how much less there is than at home in America.
Favorite travel photo: Elephants are my favorite animal, so when our guide asked if I wanted to sit on our elephants back, I didn’t hesitate.  We were on a hill in the middle of a forest, so the conditions weren’t great, but it is an experience I will never forget.  Not sure I’ve ever been happier.
Wanna be a jetsetter? Drop us a line!
the romantic & the wino


    • July 11, 2012 / 10:35

      we love reading everyone’s answers! our favorite is when people love or hate somewhere that others have opposite feelings about.

  1. July 11, 2012 / 22:49

    Well-done, ladies! I loved the interview and getting to know Erin more!

    My favorite part was the story about the Croatian town – fantastic. The fresh food, the true “I’m away” feeling… Wonderful. Of course, I totally agree about the Eiffel Tower and South America. :)))

    • July 12, 2012 / 06:27

      oh my god, erin’s version of croatia sounds like heaven, right?

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