Today's Traveler Tuesday blogger is one busy lady! Like last's traveler Brianne of A Traveling Life, I connected with Eileen at the WITs (Women in Travel Summit) while it was in Boston this past March. She is a freelance travel journalist and copywriter who is the voice behind PureWander.com an online magazine for the modern family traveler and CrookedFlight.com for young females and couples. Recently she relocated from Boston to London full-time for a few years to sink her teeth into Europe a little deeper.
Let’s meet Eileen!
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When and how did you become a traveler?
My folks took me all over the great old U. S. of A. throughout my childhood. I was very lucky to see both coasts and even Alaska as a kid. Then I ventured off a few times on my own into my 20s and never looked back. I felt like a real traveler the first time I bought a one-way ticket somewhere. I feel even more at one with the world now that I've embraced a new international move with my husband in London.
Where do you love to travel?
Absolutely everywhere. I don't care if it's a day trip an hour from my hometown or halfway across the world.
Most memorable travel moment:
So. Many. The first that comes to mind was down in Texas. I was staying at this strange hotel that was a converted airplane carrier. White rocking chairs along the rooms were out on the actual runway and you could watch planes take off. An older journalist and I sipped whiskey and he told me all about what it was like working in print as newspapers decades ago as the sun went down. It was a wonderful moment.
I also will never forget Halloween weekend in Mazatlan, Mexico. I was the only ‘gringa' in a sea of thousands dressed up for Dia de los Muertos at a giant party on the beach. Maybe the most memorable was snorkeling with my husband at the Great Barrier Reef. How can you make me pick just one?!
What won’t you travel without?
My smartphone. I have such a love/hate relationship with it. But now I'm really digging Periscope to broadcast my travels live – it reminds me of being on the radio when I was in college. My whole life and memories are all on my phone in photos, sound clips, video and social media. It's amazing we have all that at our fingertips now.
A day isn’t complete until I…
Have a strong drink? Haha, now it's a cup of tea in the morning or a latte, especially when it's rainy or cold.
A quirky daily habit of mine is…
I rarely put on pants. I work from home and TRY to have a routine, but honestly I often end up in PJs most of the day. It's good for me to travel and break things up a bit!
Travel essential – 3 things you always travel with:
A fluffy infinity scarf that can double as a flight blanket, my jacket with big pockets and an international phone charger.
Name one thing people would be surprised to find in your travel bag:
Change and coins from all over. I think I have four different currencies in my purse now, I always forget to use the last of it or empty it out!
Perfect travel day from start to finish.
Sometimes I like no plans, but I honestly love when a local or something very informed kind of brings me around. I enjoy an itinerary most when someone else has shown me their best assets in a destination. Some might be contrived, but if it was left to me I might miss out on the best parts. And anytime I get to sleep in is a perfect travel day!
What are your favorite food cities? What restaurants do you go to in each? Spanish food is perfecto. I would eat tapas and sip wine all day. I also loved Taiwanese cuisine and all its unique vegetarian options. Little Rock, Arkansas had a pretty cool scene and amazing southern food, as did New Orleans for creole eats. I loved the meal I had in Belfast, Northern Ireland as well, full of fresh ingredients and modern twists on old classics. Amazing mussels in Sligo, Ireland too.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Everywhere, as I try not to have too many expectations before I go. I was surprised at how beautiful the southern coast of Portugal is, and how diverse the island of Curacao in the Caribbean is for food and culture.
What has travel taught you?
Humility. Again I'm super lucky to be able to do what I do and I hope to help/inspire others to see the world as well.
Best and Worst place you’ve been to and why?
Best was Seville, Spain. It was the first time I really left the country – I was young and free and loved every moment. I go back every chance I can. On the other hand, I've never been anywhere I've really regretted. I hated Miami the first few times I went, but then it started to grow on me. I also wasn't crazy about Paris, but if given the chance I'm sure I'd return!
What's one location on your bucket list?
India. Yes there's a billion people there, but I couldn't even try to pick one area. I'd want to see the beaches in Goa and visit the giant cities. I want to see it all someday and slow travel my way through that incredible country.
Hotel: The 21c in Bentonville, Arkansas. It's a modern museum, funky restaurant and hotel all in one. I was totally impressed and obsessed as soon as I stepped into the lobby.
Airline: JetBlue is my jam from home, hands down. Now that I'm in London I need to find a new one! Probably Virgin for now.
Airport: Nothing fancy, but I loved the Osaka, Japan airport. Probably most because I had access to the member's club and it was my first time in Asia.
Mode of Transportation: Road trips. Always road trips. I was devastated to leave my car in the states, but rental in Europe are fairly affordable so we still drive around the UK a lot.
Travel snack: Anything local. I love finding little snacks I've never seen before at airport layovers.
Country: Spain. It has my heart, especially the south.
Travel Gear: My shiny DSLR that's Cadillac red. Now if I could only figure out how to use it…
Travel App: Right now it's simply Google Maps to get myself around London. I tried others, but I think maps gives me the best options in the most accurate way.
Travel Book: Traveling Light by Dave Sedaris. It's more prose than about travel, but he's absolutely brilliant with such simple and emotional concepts. My copy is torn and gross but I'll never give it up.
Travel Movie: So embarrassing, but Cool Runnings. Here me out. I remember it as the first movie where I thought, wow, there's other places in this world that are SO different. I didn't want to be a bobsledder or go to the Olympics after I watched it – I wanted to visit Jamaica!
Song on your smartphone: Right now, it's the entire Ryan Adam's cover of Taylor Swift's “1989” album. It's magic. My fave travel songs are “Postcards from Italy” by Beirut and “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
How about you? What would you like to know about Eileen?