A little intro:
As far back as I can remember, the idea of exploring the world has been fascinating to me. I was born and raised outside of Baltimore, MD, and I graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a degree in Political Science. I moved to Shenzhen, China after graduating, which is where I stayed for 3 years. I initially taught ESL, and eventually got a job teaching literature and history at an international school. In the 3 years that I lived and worked in China, I was able to travel to 40 different countries. Because of my travels, I am now a co-founder of a start-up travel brand called Wild & Away. We hope to create content that can be both helpful and entertaining for travelers and aspiring travelers.
1. Best foreign curse word you know and how/why did you learn it?
“Harami–This is the Arabic word for thief/robber. It’s not a curse word, but it is a really funny/common word to exchange when haggling. A guy in my cab in Lebanon who spoke Arabic kept using this word when our cab driver was trying to rip us off.”
2. What is your guilty pleasure when you travel?
“Beer! I love beer, and I drink beer wherever I go, but hey, I almost always drink the local brew!”
3.Besides the essential items, what are 4 must-bring things that you HAVE to have on your trip?
“First, an external battery to charge my phone. Second, a hat of some sorts. This could be a baseball cap, fedora, cowboy hat, etc. Third, my GoPro to capture all of the memories (and make videos). Fourth, hair gel.”
4.What’s the craziest thing have you done for money?
“I got naked, and did a jump rope that was on fire. My payment was a cocktail bucket, which is basically the currency on Thailand’s Phi Phi island.”
5.How can you learn about a culture and meet locals without speaking their language?
“Non-verbal communication is more important than someone who hasn’t traveled will ever know. I had to do this in China before I knew enough Mandarin to have conversations. These are some of my fondest memories from living there.”
6. Do you ever plan to settle down and get married?
“Someday, but not for a long time. Its difficult to give someone else the attention and love that they deserve when my mind is in so many different places (and countries :))”
7. Which country have you visited where the media has portrayed it to be very “unsafe” and “dangerous”?
“I guess the perception of danger is all relative, as I have recently heard someone say that Italy and Greece were “extremely dangerous”. I did visit Istanbul this past summer after they had an attempted military coup and a bombing at the airport. While their tourism industry is in the gutter, the place was beautiful, the people were really friendly, and the food was amazing. It is also one of the most diverse, and culturally rich places on earth.”
8.What’s the best advice could you give to someone without a passport?
“Get one, because it is the best investment that can be made! In the meantime, explore different parts of your own country as a start.”
In this post, I want to highlight a very inspirational person that I met during my travels, Luke.
I remember being at a night club in Shenzhen and having the time of my life when I ran into Luke, another teacher from my program. I don’t know how, but Luke and I got into an intense conversation about US history and race relations in America. I remember this night so vividly because it was like the first time ever that I was rocking my beautiful afro and everyone kept trying to touch it aha. Normally, I try to avoid these types of conversations, especially when there is alcohol around and especially when I really do not know the person I’m speaking to aha. Actually, I believe the conversation started when he told me that he was a history major and I told him that I was too. I believe that it was easy to have that conversation with him because college American history is totally different then high school history, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!! Anyways, I kept thinking to myself like “wow this kid is incredibly open minded and he knows his privilege. He is also extremely educated and that the world definitely needs more people like him”. People like him are exactly why I love to travel, because coming across interesting individuals with a similar mindset when it comes to being passionate about traveling & being open-minded is such an amazing feeling.
It’s tremendously fantastic that people tend to still travel to certain places, even when the media portrays it to be super dangerous. I personally felt safer in certain countries that were deemed to be dangerous at 3 in the morning then I did in America honestly. This summer A LOT of people did not even have Istanbul as part of their travel destinations due to the perspectives of certain media outlets. We need more Americans to travel to those “dangerous” places and let the world know that these places are actually extraordinary with a very rich culture. Istanbul is my favorite city and I will continue to be a strong advocate for others to travel there. Terrifying things happen all over and we must not let fear blind us from seeing the beauty of this planet.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” -Mark Twain
That is one of my favorite quotes and while writing this, it definitely came to mind when thinking about Luke and other people that I’ve met throughout my travels. It’s extremely important to travel on a global scale and engage in different cultures. For instance, don’t just go to India to see just the Taj Mahal, but actually have a meal and a conversation with the locals.
Thank you so much for doing this interview Luke! Continue to enrich your mind with the unique perspectives and openness that you have come across only by leaving your bubble in Baltimore. Continue to travel the world and good luck with your start up travel brand, Wild and Away. It’s definitely a fascinating travel blog that will suck the readers in and instantly get them to purchase that next flight. Be safe in your current travels throughout Africa 🙂
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