We had the pleasure of meeting this week’s jetsetter, Anita, at the New York Times Travel Show, and absolutely loved following along on her most recent adventure with the one-and-only Lola. Hand in hand (literally… for body warmth…), Anita & the newly crowned snow queen were able to check “sleeping in an ice hotel” off one of her many bucket lists. For the full rundown, read up on her blog here or follow her on twitter here.
Favorite Place: So hard to narrow down. Mallorca in the spring. Have been back so many times – it just feels like home. You can smell the Mediterranean air as soon as you leave the airport…it’s a wonderful thing!
More importantly, favorite meal: Anything spicy – love curries and spicy cajun food. One of my favorite dishes close to home: Devil Chicken – you know it is going to be hot.
The moment you caught the travel bug: Honestly, I think I was born with it! Half Australian – travel is in my genes. I was always daydreaming about far off places and crazy adventures…and that was before Dora the Explorer. Grade school field trips only solidified the inevitable. The travel bug is in my blood.
First experience traveling alone: I grew up a typical horse crazy girl – I lived, breathed and dreamed about horses. While I was still in high school, I had the chance to take my horse to a huge week long horse show in Toronto. I was so excited but had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was hooked up with some other people from my area and we trailered the horses down together, but after that, I was on my own. Slept in the barn on a bales of straw, lived my horse crazy dream and became hooked on the freedom of travel. I don’t have my horse any more, but the travel never stopped.
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: I ran into trouble my first week of my RTW trip. I took a late bus to a new town (Temuco, Chile) and somehow got turned around (not surprising – my sense of direction is beyond terrible!) I was mugged and too naive to know what was going on. As a result, I lost my sunglasses, a gym bag of travel necessities and got hit by a bus when I fell into the street! Not bad for my first week in a foreign country. I’ll never forget the look on the front desk clerk’s face when the police escorted me into the hotel. I think she was more concerned about it than I was.
Worst hotel/hostel experience: After a few months traveling in South America with a friend, I set out on my own in Guatemala. While we were 2, we needed 2 beds and the rooms were bigger. The first hostel I booked into with a single bed could only be likened to a prison cell! It was devoid of any redeeming features. I couldn’t even open the door to get out of my room if my backpack was on the floor. Not the end of the world…but, the showers finished me off! Hot water was scarce and people regularly got shocked – needless to say, this one has been almost completely wiped from my memory!
Best hotel/hostel experience: Last summer I fell in love with the Ermita de San Nicolas on the Camino de Santiago. It was very basic and simple – bunk beds and a long communal dining table for the 10 + people who spent the night and the 3 volunteers who were running the Ermita. There was no electricity – everything was done by candle light. It is hard to describe, but there was a special feeling in that historic pilgrims hospital. Reading the guest book the next morning, it was clear to see that many before me had felt the same way.
Favorite family vacation: We didn’t do many family vacations. I really don’t remember anything special from when I was growing up. Maybe that is why my wanderlust is so huge now – I remember listening to my friends talk about their family vacations and I am just making up for it.
Must-have packing item: My camera gear. I just can’t help myself. I have a photo problem.
Most unbelievable travel experience: So many to choose from. My animal encounters are pretty high on the list. Last year I swam with the sea turtles in Barbados. The resort I stayed at was an exclusive golf course. Each morning we would head out to photograph the monkeys. I loved it! On the last outing we found the jackpot – literally, 50 monkeys of all sizes hidden in the trees. They were just as curious about us as we were about them! Guess the golfers don’t pay a lot of attention unless a monkey runs off with their ball!
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: I took a backpacker style catamaran tour from Guatemala into Belize. I was the only girl with a group of guys that I met once I got on board. We had dropped anchor in a great spot for snorkeling. We were having lunch on board and I guess the crew had thrown some fish carcass over the side. Next thing you knew, there was a shark hovering around our boat. Assured that it was vegetarian (as opposed to a people eater!!!) we all grabbed our masks and flippers to jump in. Being a slower swimmer, I jumped in first. All excited, I didn’t turn around…I just kept swimming. I got to within a few feet of the shark, expecting the boys to come around me. I looked up to see all of them still on board! Not sure if there was a change of mind on the status of what the shark would eat or what, but in an instant I had the realization that it was just me, my flippers and a shark and the shark was coming my way!
Place you can’t wait to return to: Spain. I have fallen in love with the culture, the food and the people. Everywhere I go, I feel I could live there for the rest of my life.
Place you can’t be paid to return to: Hmmm… a good question! Not a fan of Temuco, Chile, or its emergency department – but that really isn’t a tourist destination. I spent a few nights in Temuco while traveling to and from the Lakes District in Chile. It felt dirty and depressed. The fact that this is the town that I got mugged and hit by a bus all in one go doesn’t help!
Any exciting trips coming up?: That is still under wraps…more to come. Could be somewhere warm and tropical and not the traditional Caribbean getaway.
Dream vacation: I have about 20! Go back to Nepal, Safari in Africa, explore South East Asia, kayak Belize… just to name a few!
Favorite tourist attraction: Circular Quay and the Opera House in Sydney. I just love to hang down there. So much to see and do.
Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: I am pretty ok looking like a tourist. My collection of camera equipment makes me easy to pinpoint. While not exactly a tourist attraction, I would rather not look like a tourist when I am lost in the train or subway system. I feel extra vulnerable there.
Favorite travel photo: sunrise at The Twelve Apostles, Australia. The Great Ocean Road is known to be one of the most beautiful coastal routes in the world.
If you want to be a jetsetter, you know what to do! (But if you don’t, you just have to e-mail us or leave a comment or tweet us or whatever).
the romantic & the wino