My family lived in Madrid for three years, my sister graduated from high school there. I got to work in the American Embassy in Madrid for a summer, an experience that forever marked me – I learned every way that a tourist can be ripped off or robbed, an excellent set of lessons for future travels! I loved my experiences in Madrid.
Then while I was working in Switzerland I had a vendor based in Barcelona and was fortunate to go there for meetings often, and quite simply fell in love with that town. I love Spain and there are cities like Bilbao that are still calling my name to be explored!
For today's travel blogger interview we are learning a little bit about Lauren who has the great pleasure of living in Spain. She combines her love for finding the hidden gems of Spain with food, she's got my attention!
Let's meet Lauren!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
Ever since I was a child I had the desire to see the world. My family didn't travel much (and we didn't go very far when we did!), so I'd pour over National Geographic magazines and library books, imagining such distinct places, foods and cultures. But I suppose to become a traveler, you have to travel!
My first big trip was when I was 16-years-old, I'd saved up at my part-time job to do an EF Tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I loved everything about the experience, right down to the sugar packets they served with our coffees. As I'd expected, I was hooked. While friends saved money for a better car or nice clothes, I saved for travel. The following year I spent five weeks in Sicily on an exchange program. I'd wanted to go for the school year, but my small Massachusetts high school had never heard of anything like that before. Since then I've been traveling as much as possible, and it never feels like enough!
 What is travel to you in 10 words or less?
Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, laughing, & crying.
 What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
I adore Spain's high speed train system and would love to try high speed trains in other countries to compare. There is something romantic and wonderful about train travel in general, and the high speed trains make it quick and convenient as well.
 What do you typically do while traveling by plane?
When flying I have my rituals (especially on long flights): I dress in layers so I'll never be too hot or cold, drink lots of water before and during the flight, get an aisle seat for easy access to the overhead compartment and restroom, moisturize before the flight and bring hand cream and chapstick in my carry on luggage, bring a paperback book so I have something to do while all electronics are turned off, I eat before the flight and bring snacks on long flights (I always say no to the plane food), bring my own headphones, and stretch my legs every so often while flying.
 What is your favorite travel memory involving food?
There are so many! Food is an essential part of why I travel and I think it is a key part in seeing and understanding another culture. But recently I traveled to Poland with my mother to meet my Polish aunts, uncles, and cousins that she hadn't seen since she was three-years-old (and I'd never even heard of!). The trip was incredible and their hospitality was unrivaled. On our last night there they prepared a feast of all the foods my mother missed from her childhood: pierogis, stuffed cabbage, mushroom soup, sausages… it was incredible.
 What is one blogging tip or lesson that you have learned along the way that you can share with my readers?
When you are building a blog, don't forget about the architecture. When I first started Spanish Sabores I didn't have a pre-defined architecture for the blog, so I'd invent a new category every other day. I'm still trying to get it all re-organized! I think that thinking architecturally when building a site is a very important skill, and will help you stay focused on your niche and allow you to create content in a more methodical way.
 Where to next?
In September I'll be in Barcelona for a few days as I launch my new food tour company, Devour Barcelona Food Tours. I love the energy in Barcelona and I'm hoping to spend some time in the nearby Costa Brava region as well. After that I'll be visiting Munich in October where I plan to eat my way through the city and New Orleans in November where I might possibly go into a food coma. And I will definitely fill in any gaps between those trips!
Lauren Aloise is the food obsessed editor of the award-winning Spanish food and travel blog, Spanish Sabores. In 2012 she founded Madrid Food Tour as a way to share her love of gastronomy with tourists to Madrid. Now she's busy in Barcelona with her newly launched Devour Barcelona Food Tours. When she's not leading a tour, she's probably traveling, cooking, or curled up with a glass of wine. Follow her Spanish travels and try her Spanish recipes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
How about you? What would you like to know about Lauren?