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Growing up near Chicago made me appreciate big, bustling cities. I also love the outdoors. Hence my appreciation for both major cities as well as remote, natural destinations. I love immersing myself in both the language and culture of foreign places and look for opportunities to practice my language skills while traveling. I'm currently learning Spanish and French.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm an animal lover, so incorporating experiences where I get to observe or interact with wildlife is important to me. I swam with whale sharks in Mexico, watched sea turtles hatching in Costa Rica, camped among grizzly bears in Alaska, and befriended countless street cats in Spain as I walked the Camino de Santiago.
Like many others, I love sampling different cuisines while traveling. The first thing I do in a new country is to visit the local grocery store or street market to peruse the aisles. You learn a lot about a culture through its food.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I'm familiar with cities in western Europe, as well as many ski destinations in the US. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"Despite my father traveling all over the world for work and my mother holding dual American/Irish citizenship, I didn't leave the country until I was 17. My first international trip was to visit family in Dublin. I tried a Guinness on that trip and concluded that it tasted like burnt chocolate (I've since refined my palate). I got to explore more of western Europe in college when I studied abroad in Barcelona. That's when the travel bug really bit me. After college, I moved to Aspen and enjoyed being part of a diverse, international community of seasonal ski resort workers hailing from all over the globe. I've backpacked in Costa Rica and Panama between ski seasons and gone on mother-daughter trips back to Europe, most recently to Paris in 2017.
In 2019, right before COVID changed our lives, I left my job to walk the Camino de Santiago alone which was an incredible experience. I subsequently traveled around western Europe, spending time in Madrid, Porto, Lisbon, London, Bath, Venice, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Dublin, and Reykjavik. I look forward to traveling farther and deeper. India is at the top of my bucket list."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"Walking 500+ miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. I don't have the words to adequately describe an experience like the Camino and the Martin Sheen movie does not do it justice! One of my favorite nights on the Camino was staying at a hostel with a group of Italians. They cooked me pasta (obviously) and in the kitchen, we met a group of South Koreans who were cooking a Korean dinner. We could barely communicate but ended up eating together which turned into the silliest cross-cultural activity of taking turns trying to eat Italian spaghetti with Korean chopsticks. Being on the Camino is like traveling to multiple countries all at once. I'd meet someone from a new country every single day and learn something new about the world. I also rarely hung out with anyone my age, which was a welcome change from my daily life. One of my favorite walking partners was a 70+ Italian man who spoke better Spanish than he did English. We communicated in broken Spanish and became fast friends. The Camino truly is a magical experience and I recommend that everyone do it at least once in their life!"