This week’s Featured Female Traveler is celebrating something big today. Yes, bigger than being featured on Miss Maps (can you believe it?!) Today, our Featured Female Traveler, Elizabeth Carty, is celebrating her BIRTHDAY! The big 2-5!
So before we begin the interview, we all must yell out into the universe “Happy Birthday Elizabeth!” (You did just it, didn’t you?) And then we all need to go find some cupcakes as well.. because what’s a birthday without cupcakes?
Now that we’ve got that taken care of, as you nibble on your scrumptious cake and celebrate a great traveler’s big day, have a look at what she’s been up to the past 25 years!
Elizabeth is a 25 year old teacher from Winnipeg, Canada. She says she calls this chilly city home “Because that’s where a lot of family is. But I am blessed to feel like quite a few places are home away from home!” And though she’s turning a quarter century old today, she promises age means nothing: “In my mind I’m still 21!”
Between teaching and blogging at Wanderlust And Heart, Elizabeth took some to answer a few questions to help inspire all of us:
MM: Where was your first trip abroad?
EC: Oh jeez. I moved a lot as a kid. Moved from Miami Sunshine State Florida to Winterpeg Canada, then to Mexico, back to Canada. Visited both Peru and Ukraine before I turned 16 to meet and visit family for the first time. On my own, however, I first travelled outside of Canada when I was 21 and I moved to France for 7 months!
MM: Where is your favorite destination?
EC: Probably Paris, but Ireland, Budapest and Greece all follow closely behind, especially Ireland since my ancestors are from there. I lived an hour away from Paris and visited frequently. It’s not just a destination to me anymore, but feels like home. I was blessed with the chance to fully immerse myself in French culture and there is so much about it that I love and that has become a part of me. That being said, I have loved every place I have been to!
MM: What place is on top of your bucket list?
EC: Thailand and Australia!
MM: Who is your favorite travel companion? What makes him/her so great?
EC: The obvious answer would be my husband, since we got married last year we moved to Egypt and have been travelling around and just like marriage, we’ve been blending our travel styles and pace and are starting to really enjoy travelling together. Before him I had two really amazing travel friends, Mary and Jeff. We were very much of one mind in terms of our travelling style, pace and we just got along beautifully. Mary and I backpacked southern France and got into a rhythm that made it easy to hop from one city to the next almost every day.
MM: What destination is on your radar? What about it attracts you?
EC: So many right now! But a long-time goal has been to visit India, which we plan to do this Christmas holidays! I have always been attracted to the exotic culture. The food is to die for, the music and dance is beautiful and the people I have met originally from there are some of the kindest and friendliest people I know! And of course, there’s the Taj Mahal! Gotta cross that off the bucket list!
MM: Have you travelled alone? If so, how did you find the experience? What were the highs or the lows? Anything you would recommend for others looking to travel alone for the first time?
EC: Yes, my first solo trip was to Budapest, Hungary for 4 and a half days. It was a great experience! I still can’t believe I had the nerve to just spontaneously buy a flight and go, knowing none of my travelling friends could come. What really made the experience was the incredible people I met in my hostel. Because of the common room, it was easy to see who was all staying in the hostel, and they were all super cool and friendly. There was a large group of young American girls from the same college, a French-Canadian, a French boy, a Dutch, a Mexican, another American girl, and myself. We all had dinner together, went out together, sometimes we broke into groups and did our own thing. It was incredibly lovely! I did have some moments when I travelled alone, but they didn’t feel so bad because of all the interaction I was having with my hostel peeps. I even managed to not eat alone by be-friending a Brazilian girl who was studying in Germany and was on the same walking tour as myself. We couldn’t speak a common language, so I spoke Spanish and through that we were able to spend a couple of hours together.
This first experience was so incredible it really set my expectations high for when I travelled alone a second time to Ireland and Scotland. It was a very different experience and much more lonely, but I started to learn how to deal with it and learn to enjoy the quiet moments. I haven’t had a chance to go solo since, but I do recommend it!
MM: What type of traveler are you? Budget? Luxury? Adventurous?
EC: My travel style has changed as I have gone through phases of life, from being a single University student, to married and with a career, I find I have done all kinds of travelling from backpacking to five star resorts. I would say I am Culture Vulture. My main high is to experience the environment through sights, sounds, tastes, and smells.
MM: What is your most memorable travel moment?
EC: I will never forget this: My husband and I were having a little vacation in Dahab along the Red Sea. One evening we booked a Bedouin dinner which included a camel ride during the sunset to the location. We were doing diving lessons and were too late to catch the ride to where the camels were. We were devastated, because even though we could make it on time for the dinner, we would have missed the camel rides, which I REALLY wanted to do. So our hotel receptionist made a few calls, and the camel guy came to the camping site so we could ride the camels. The sun had gone down and it was already dark.
Riding along the desert valley floor in the mountains of the Sinai with an inky blue sky and not a single hint of civilization, with only the stars and bright moon to light our way, it was one of the most serene and magical experiences of my life. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
MM: It really sounds lovely, as do the rest of your adventures. As you continue into this new year, may you have even more grand escapades. Thanks for the insights as well as for giving us all another little reason to celebrate!