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Ash Merscher

I help readers and travelers make the most out of their trips to European countries, especially Central and Eastern Europe. As a traveler myself, I love the adventurous feeling that a foreign destination gives you; but I also love knowing a little about what to expect. The adventurous unknown—the travel butterflies in the pit of your stomach—are still there, but you can picture a place before you arrive.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I've called a handful of European countries my home, including Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Croatia, and Romania. I've taught English and freelanced as a writer. During my time abroad (I'm currently living in Budapest, Hungary), I've enjoyed extensive travels across Central and Eastern Europe. Besides where I've lived, my countries of expertise include Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, and the Balkans. I'm a big fan of architecture, wine, and food, which are my main reasons to keep traveling. I love a budget trip, so road trips are my go-to, especially in gorgeous countries like Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia."

How did you get involved in travel?

"While growing up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, trips across the border to Canada were a childhood norm. The allure of international travel was always there, tempting me across the water and prompting my first big trip abroad when I was in my early 20s. I spent the next decade trying to be in Europe as much as possible, working multiple jobs and prioritizing travel. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"After a whirlwind trip around Western Europe with my best friend, I decided to stay longer and volunteer at a farm in County Cork, Ireland. Each afternoon, after I finished my duties for the day, I'd grab the family dog—who was very pregnant at the time—and we'd walk up the hill to the cliffside. There, I'd sit on the edge (but not too close), Bella the golden retriever lounging just at my side. We'd listen to the Irish wind, which I feel has its own unique personality. It'd whip through tall tufts of grass like a dance and plummet down the cliffs, seabirds catching its drift and gliding across the horizon. I will never forget those afternoons, with the sun slowly swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean. They occurred a few years after I had experienced a tragedy in my family, and they helped to heal a broken heart and a lost soul. Travel tends to perform that sort of magic."

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