For this week's Traveler Tuesday I am thrilled to introduce you to Murissa Shalapata of The Wanderfull Traveler. Murissa made her first comment on Misadventures with Andi in January of this year and has commented on nearly every single post since then! We have a shared love for AFAR travel magazine in common, she is a Local Expert for Kelowna, a beautiful area of Canada's British Columbia.
She has also spent a lot of time in Italy, her art history background and poetic soul is the perfect lens for exploring. Like me, she also considers herself an introvert which doesn't mean we don't like to get out and explore and meet new people, but that we need a little quiet time refueling after we do. I am pretty sure we would make great travel companions!
Yesterday I learned that Murissa has been selected as one of the top 100 Canadian bloggers! So exciting! You can check out the whole list and find her listed under W on Flight Network.
British Columbia has an extensive wine country and I am learning a lot about it, as well as where to eat, from Murissa's blog. Her foodie side keeps me coming back for more as well. If you take a moment to read The Wanderfull Traveler, I am sure you'd feel the same. In the meantime, you can learn a little more about Murissa from my Traveler Tuesday questions:
 When and how did you become a traveler?
My dad was a sales rep. for companies selling building materials when I was very young, around the age of 6 or so. His territory spread from central British Columbia and grew to include the North as well. He was required to take long road trips stopping at most cities and towns along the way and many occasions he would bring my mom, sister and I.
Eventually, he started his own company and with the success of that, he was able to cover much of the USA and all over Canada. My sister, mom and I all work with him selling sustainable building materials and we try to get away together as much as possible. Actually, many of the trips covered on my blog include my family and sometimes my grandparents. Some people find it odd that I travel with my family so much but we all have a lot in common and know the value of being together.
The moment that really ignited my own desire to travel whether it is with my family, my boyfriend or alone was my first trip to Europe in 2010. I went to study Art History and the Venetian Renaissance in Italy with a large group of about 35 students. I visited 11 cities in 3 weeks and learned a lot of budgeting tricks, discovered a fondness of photography and gained a lot of writing material for a poetry chapbook I have been working on. I am addicted to travel now. Without it, writing would be much harder as I always come home with a wealth of ideas, new themes to explore and poetry. I am in the midst of finishing a travel chapbook which will be handmade to order and available on my blog in time for Christmas.
 What is travel to you in 10 words or less?
Travel creates a richer narrative within your own life’s story.
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 What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
Although the plane is convenient and gets me there in a timely manner I much prefer to take my time, if I can, by car (convertible is a must). I get to see and experience the landscape and can stop at any time to take a photo, eat at little holes in the wall and invent my itinerary as I go. The time traveling to your destination is an integral experience of the journey rather than a nuisance or an obstacle.
 What do you typically do while traveling by plane?
I order a glass of wine, read a book or AFAR Magazine, look out the window and simply be inside my head – that's when some of the best stories, blog post ideas or poems come about.
 What is your favorite travel memory involving food?
There are so many from my Jamaican aunty who taught my family how to cook jerk chicken and dance, eating at Per Se in New York or exploring Oahu's island eats but since I have to narrow it down it's gotta be when I traveled to Bologna, Italy with a group of art history students to study in the Veneto region. My friends and I had just finished exploring San Petronio Basilica and shooing away a terrible pickpocket who should rethink his career.
We were all a little grumpy and hungry in the heat and it was especially hard to find a place to eat with the budgets we were all working with.
I got to the point where I would sit at the next spot we found no matter what they served. Luckily it was affordable and featured some amazing stuffed pasta. Bologna is not only famous for its Bolognese sauce but its wide range of stuffed pasta from ravioli to tortellini. We took a seat outside shaded by the historic buildings and watched Bolognese life go by. We all became jovial again realizing there are worse places to be famished and sweaty. I ordered the pumpkin tortellini with a balsamic reduction. The kind waitress even brought us free tiramisu for referring our fellow art history colleagues to eat there too. The fresh pasta and dessert was delicious and enabled me to handle another 3 hours at a museum as well as a slow train ride back to Verona sans air conditioning.
 What is one blogging tip or lesson that you have learned along the way that you can share with my readers?
Don't be afraid to write your voice. Whether it be cynical, argumentative or a bundle of sunshine and rainbows it is you and you shouldn't be ashamed or scared to communicate who you are. Readers tune in for the author because realistically they can look anywhere and everywhere for information about travel and food locations with the number of blogs nowadays. What keeps them reading your blog is your unique perspective and way of interpreting the world. It may take a while to find your audience but keep persistent. Pretty pictures also help.
 Where to next?
This month I am heading back to San Francisco for my second time with my boyfriend to celebrate 5 years withstanding each others' antics – my sometimes costly love of travel and his hesitance of it. But we could both agree on San Francisco for its great food, history and our love of Chinatown.
I am also very excited to be participating in the local Okanagan wine country foodie events with the Feast of Fields farm to table event August 18th and the Okanagan Food and Wine Film Festival in September.
Thanks Murissa, I hope we get to meet each other when you come to San Francisco!
You can see all of Murissa’s AFAR Highlights and Wanderlists where she shares her experiences all over the world as well as keep up with her on her blog The Wanderfull Traveler or her Facebook page and check out her chatter on Twitter. Wherever you catch her, I am sure you will enjoy her adventures!
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