30 Things About Me: Travel And Life Abroad
What did you do this weekend? It was my birthday weekend -- 30th! -- so I bought a bike and J, Baby ISO, and I spend the weekend biking around Florence. We're trying to figure out the bike paths, and on Sunday, we biked all the way up to Piazzale Michelangelo to eat a picnic and check out the gelato festival before heading home to spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Because I really wanted the party to continue to today, I thought I'd answer thirty travel and expat related questions that I haven't fully covered yet on In Search Of.
1. Where have you lived?
I'm from Connecticut and still return frequently to visit my family. I went to school in Keene, New Hampshire and Madison, Wisconsin. Abroad, I've lived in Yunnan, China, Vilnius, Lithuania, and now Florence, Italy!
2. Where is your favorite place you have lived?
This is a really difficult question for me to answer! But perhaps I'm going to go with Yunnan, since that is where my affinity for living abroad and freelancing experience all started.
3. What is your favorite travel destination for food?
Singapore has really, really good food.
4. Would you ever move back home?
Connecticut is a really expensive place to live and I'm not sure it offers what we're looking for, but I also can't say I'd never move back either!
5. What did you buy recently?
I bought a shiny, blue bike on Saturday that I'm hoping will be a fun mode of transit around Florence and to nearby vineyards!
6. What is your favorite junk food?
I really like junk food. I have a massive sweet tooth, but I also love pizza, so being in Italy is dangerous for both!
7. Do you have a pet?
Yes! A fluffy cat adopted us while we were living in Vilnius, and we recently moved him to Italy.
8. What are you currently reading?
I've just finished the Six of Crows Duology*, which is a young adult fantasy with surprisingly excellent character development. I really enjoyed the books and devoured them both.
9. What is your favorite food?
Food questions are pretty hard for me since I'd say I'm a pretty diverse eater. But if I could choose a category, I'd go with Asian noodle soups. I'm a massive lover of pho and I could eat Yunnan-style rice noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and have done so!).
10. What camera gear do you use and love?
I recently did a post on the camera bags I'm loving, and I use the Nikon D330* for pretty much all of the photos on recent posts. I do like it, but I do find it really heavy to carry around for daily use.
11. What is one of your most memorable travel moments?
I'm actually planning on sharing some silly, crazy, and entertaining travel stories that I've not written about here in my newsletter. I've take a bit of a break from sending out a monthly newsletter during our move, but come next month you'll be hearing more from me.
As a bit of a teaser, while I was in very rural Yunnan studying flowers, I spent several days hiking over Yakou Shan. One evening after setting up our tents, my colleague, our guide, and our porters all sat around a fire cooking dinner. After cooking, we sat around the fire singing folk songs from our cultures. The guide and one of the porters were Dulong (a very small ethnic minority) and it felt so special to hear folk songs from their culture.
12. What are your travel plans for the upcoming year?
Baby ISO and I are heading to Connecticut for a wedding next month. It will be my first time traveling with him alone, so wish me luck! Later in October, we are hoping to take a short getaway within Tuscany. In December, we'll be visiting Berlin, Germany and then back to Connecticut for the holidays!
13. What is your favorite destination for sightseeing?
I think every destination has something worth seeing, although Greece, Italy, China, and Spain just have so many amazing things to see no matter where you are.
14. Where do you want to visit?
We haven't been doing a ton of international travel lately, so I've been really wanderlusting hard. Over the next school year, I'm hoping to visit Morocco, Berlin, and Croatia.
15. Where do you want to re-visit?
I was just talking with J about places I'd love to take him and Baby ISO: Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. I visited Edinburgh twice for work, and would absolutely love to visit with J and Baby ISO.
16. Where was your first trip?
I was really lucky in that my parents made it a priority to travel once a year throughout my childhood (and still do today). I'm not sure I remember our first trip, but the first trip I remember is camping in Chincoteague, VA. IN this trip, we all piled into the VW Van and drove down to Virginia. We dug up crabs, saw wild horses, and spent a ton of time on the beach.
17. Why do you think it is important to travel with kids?
Other than for the memories like I shared above, I think travel -- even when they are too young to remember it -- is really important to give children new experiences.
18. Where have you visited that you didn't really care for?
Though everyone seems to love these two spots, I haven't been wow-ed by Budapest, Hungary or Kaunas, Lithuania (although I loved the outskirts of Kaunas).
19. Have you ever missed a flight?
Absolutely! For some reason, I tend to be a bit lax when it comes to keeping track of flights (J is really on top of this, which is great).
20. What is on your current travel item wish-list?
I'm really wanting a small or medium sized packing cube* to organize Baby ISO's toys and clothes while traveling.
21. What other hobbies do you practice other than traveling?
Other than traveling and blogging, I love reading and photography. I really want to learn to use a sewing machine, so I'm hoping that I'll have the opportunity soon!
22. How do you find balance travel and home?
For me, slow travel is key to finding balance. We don't travel constantly, and when we do it tends to be to one destination for a week or more. Then we spend a ton of time at home.
23. What is the best street food you've ever eaten?
In Venice I had some amazing pizza, in Singapore I had delicious
24. What is the food that you dream of while away?
Bubble tea, American doughnuts, my mom's chili, mac and cheese, good pizza, pho, Yunnan-style noodle soup, copper pot rice...
25. What destination has the best street food?
I love the street food in China. Every region has such different options, but I love getting barbecued meats and veggies, soups, dumplings, and other goodies.
26. Do smells remind you of a place?
Yes. The smell of fire and spicy food reminds me of rural China.
27. What made you decide to move abroad?
I had been living abroad in China for work, and I wanted to stay abroad while writing my dissertation. J thought it would be great fun too, so he accepted a job in Vilnius. And we haven't looked back since.
28. Do you prefer slow travel or quick trips?
I definitely prefer slow travel.
29. How do you find cool things to do near home?
I read the newspaper, check Instagram, search Facebook, read blogs, and talk to people.
30. What do you miss about Connecticut?
Other than family, I miss the convenience of Target, understanding everything, and how there is so much diversity in people, food, and stuff.
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