Today on GoAbroad, we're thrilled to bring you a new series of interviews, featuring some of the most adventurous and unique travel bloggers around the world! This is your chance as readers to gain advice from those who have traversed interesting worldwide destinations, and who have "been there, done that." Today we sit down with Suzy Guese, a talented travel writer with a redheaded temperament. In her blog, Suzy Guese, Suzy explores the basic joys and mishaps of travel. Take a look at what Suzy has to say about her favorite topic: travel.
According to your blog, you travel with a redheaded temperament. How would you describe this unique personality trait?
I travel with a redheaded temperament in the sense that I bring my whole personality when I travel. I think the best adventures are those where you truly place yourself in the destination. I’m not afraid to speak up when a hotel owner treats me like an inconvenience. I try to have fun with every experience that comes my way. I may cry, laugh or scream my way through a bump in the road, but that is all a part of travel. Redheads know no bounds in the things they can do, see and be (or so they like to think). I like to think of travel that way. Young, old, single, married, broke, rich, travel is all the same to me no matter how you go about it. Like a redhead attitude, there are no limits to where you can go, what you can see and how you will change as a result.
We see you've spent time studying abroad in Italy. Can you tell us about that experience?
I studied abroad in Italy throughout most of my college days. I first studied abroad the summer after my freshman year, living with a host family in Sorrento. I packed on the pasta and learned Italian for just a month, but I knew I had to return for a longer period of time. My junior year, I spent studying half of the year in Ortigia on the island of Sicily and the other half in Florence. I would return to Sicily my senior year to study yet again, except this time in Taormina. My experiences studying abroad in Italy truly changed my life. I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing now had I not had those experiences. Studying abroad made my college experience.
What would you say to students contemplating studying abroad?
Go! I know the paperwork and getting credit approval signatures can seem daunting, but it is an experience you will never regret. I think studying abroad is one of the best ways to travel. You get to experience a place for a set time. You become a local in another world and have the chance to study in the very places that only seemed to lurk on history textbook pages. If you are already contemplating studying abroad, you will regret not taking this time in life to travel if you put it off.
Do you think you've gained skills through traveling that can be applied to everyday life?
Yes. Travel has taught me to be much more independent and confident in life. In Ireland, I drove on the wrong side of the road all by my lonesome for a month. It was empowering to do by myself. I know that experience has made me much more confident in my day-to-day life.
What do you think is the most rewarding part about traveling?
There are so many rewards to traveling, but you can’t put a price on the expanded worldview travel lends. As I travel, I open myself up to sights, people and perspectives I would never get had I just stayed home.
What do you think is the most challenging part about traveling?
For me, the hardest part about traveling can be loneliness. Being so far away from home, you are bound to get lonely from time to time. When I was robbed in Belfast right out of my hotel, at that moment, I wondered what I was doing all by myself without any family or friends nearby. You can battle this loneliness while traveling, even if you are with someone you know. The fact that you aren’t surrounded by anything you know can be daunting on those days when someone decides to help themselves to your wallet.
What advice would you give to people thinking about traveling abroad?
Keep an open mind about every experience. When I first traveled abroad in college, I remember judging places and people in an instant before giving the destination a chance. I was always wrong in my judgments. Traveling abroad is not all sunshine and roses, but it can come close if you let it.
What country or city would you love to revisit and why?
I would love to get back to Italy, but specifically Sardinia. I only visited for a brief long weekend after my semester in Florence finished. The landscape, the food, the people and the atmosphere had me instantly. I want to go back and explore the northern part of the island. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Budapest in the summer. I visited this past winter when Europe was under one of the worst cold spells. I loved the city, but I couldn’t roam its streets without feeling like a nomadic ice cube. I also never tire of Vienna.
Name one not-so-practical item that you can't travel without.
I have these slipper, gripper socks I can’t go on a plane without. They look like shoes but they are indeed socks. Sure, they won’t help me when an arctic chill rolls through, but they make me feel a little more comfortable on those long haul flights abroad.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us or any other advice you'd like to give to aspiring travelers?
Get out there and go. Don’t worry so much about cost or time involved. Travel might not give you anything tangible in return, but the benefits of travel can lead to new careers, life long relationships and unending perspective you will never get just sitting on the couch.
Thanks for chatting with GoAbroad, Suzy! Stay tuned for more GoAbroad interviews with travel bloggers who have all sorts of advice and stories to offer!