What was your favorite travel experience?Where to begin? Honestly, those experiences you can’t plan for, like listening to live Brazilian country music in a local bar in Barretos, night swimming in Coffs Harbour, or watching the most amazing, sometimes R-rated, salsa dancing in Buenaventura are examples of those travel experiences you can’t find in any guidebook. And those are the ones I find myself retelling the most.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a traveler?Always trust your gut feeling. One of my most uncomfortable feelings was walking around mid-day in downtown Rio. I couldn’t really explain it and nothing happened, but we left soon after and had a great time the rest of the weekend in the city.
How do you stay fabulous while you travel?Sunglasses. Always stylish and a less-creepy way to people watch.
What’s your greatest extravagance when traveling?Nice places to stay. Security really varies in a lot of cities I visit for work, so it is always nice to come back after a long day and crash somewhere you feel comfortable.
On what items do you prefer to save money rather than spend money when traveling?I LOVE street vendors, whether you are in Santa Fe or Paris. Why buy a Colombian vueltiao from a fancy store when you can get a handmade one for a quarter of the price on the street? I can’t even begin to tell you how much awesome stuff I bartered for at the Ipanema hippie fair.
What’s your most important travel item?Cash for taxis and a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. And those little laundry soap sheets! I have ended up with too many shrunken shirts and pants from hotel laundry services, so I end up washing clothes in hotel sinks everywhere from Guayaquil to Copenhagen.
What characteristics do you dislike about yourself when you travel?I am a stereotypical introvert and sometimes have hesitations engaging with other travelers and locals. I tend to like to quietly observe the places I am at, but I acknowledge that the times I have engaged with others, it has always been a great experience. I am still working on being better at that.
What characteristics do you dislike about others when you travel?Being rude to airline staff. They did not create the winter storm that got you stuck at O’Hare.
What do you most value in a travel buddy?A willingness to travel somewhere deemed a “no go” by the State Department and try weird food. I am going to admit that I did not love that grasshopper quesadilla I ate in Tepoztlán, Mexico, but I would kill to eat the huitlacoche (corn smut) one that was pulled straight off the cob again. You have to try everything at least once.
What do you absolutely have to know before you go?Vaccination requirements and recommendations. You don’t want to get stuck in immigration in Paraguay because you don’t have your yellow fever paperwork.
What travel experiences are still on your bucket list?Cuba. Myanmar. Palau. The Marquesas. Egypt. Latvia to see where my great-grandfather jumped on that Russian salt ship to the U.S. so many years ago. Bolivia to see the salt flats. The Azores to see the hydrangeas. Vietnam to see the tea plantations. Snowboarding in Chile and Switzerland.
How do you plan for travel, especially paying for it?I am lucky because my expenses are covered on international work trips. If it is a personal trip, I use the airline miles and hotel points that I have racked up over the years. Even if you don’t use that company very often, the points do add up and sometimes just being a member gets you free wi-fi or gym access.
Cheyenne loves to travel and has had two jobs that have enabled her to visit almost all (still missing six) of the 50 U.S. states and 23 countries. She travels all over the world, but spends most of her international time in Latin America. When Cheyenne isn’t on the road promoting U.S. red meat in international markets, she enjoys snowboarding, listening to live music, finding local holes-in-the-wall to eat at, two-stepping, and working cattle with her husband on the family farm.