What was your favorite travel experience? Every place has been a favorite in some way, but I especially loved Plitvice National Park in Croatia, exploring the Taiwanese mountains by scooter, and hiking in the Himalaya and Caucasus mountains.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a traveler?Pack light.
How do you stay fabulous while you travel? I always pack one or two colorful scarves. Layering is so important while traveling and on a chilly evening I am always thankful to have a scarf to put around my neck or shoulders. An artsy scarf can dress up anything, even a T-shirt! Also, keeping lipbalm and a tube of mascara in my purse is a lifesaver. I prefer to go makeup-less during the day, but for an evening dinner I like to put a little accent on my lashes and lips.
What’s your greatest extravagance when traveling? Food! If I’m going to a new country I want to sample the cuisine. Throughout the day I like to eat inexpensive things, but having a more expensive dinner with the local beer/wine is definitely worth it.
On what items do you prefer to save money rather than spend money when traveling?I prefer to save money on accommodation. I have used Couchsurfing, hostels, and AirBnb to travel throughout Europe and the US. It is important to be comfortable, but I will take less privacy so I can see and experience more.
What’s your most important travel item? My iPhone. It’s a camera, map, communication device, music/podcast player and mini laptop all in one.
What characteristics do you dislike about yourself when you travel? When I have to sit for long periods of time I get antsy and impatient. A lot of times while traveling I will find myself sitting on a late bus or being frustrated at a slow moving train. Having a book or a podcast ready always helps to cure my impatience.
What characteristics do you dislike about others when you travel? I dislike traveling with a person who wants to rush from one tourist site to the next, just to say they’ve been there. I prefer to explore the culture and cuisine more than the tourist spots.
What do you most value in a travel buddy?Someone who is easy going and can make me laugh! I also like someone who can sit back and smell the roses with me. I travel to relax and experience the culture, so it’s important for my travel companions to want to do the same.
What do you absolutely have to know before you go? I absolutely need to know what the weather will be like. I always check the highs and lows and chances of precipitation so I know what to pack.
What travel experiences are still on your bucket list? I would really like to backpack through the Balkans. I think this area is a hotspot for culture, history, beautiful nature and is still mostly untouched by tourists.
How do you plan for travel, especially paying for it? A lot of my traveling has been for academic purposes, so if I get interested in traveling to a country I first see if there are any grants or scholarships for traveling to these countries. If I’m just traveling for pleasure I look at the average price of flights, food, and general traveling in the country. I round up all of the expenses, and put enough money aside every month so I can swing my next adventure.
Jessie grew up in a farming community in Nebraska and caught the travel bug after a summer trip to India four years ago. Since then she has lived in Estonia, Taiwan, Georgia (the country), and has travelled in over 20 countries around the world. She is currently a masters student in Budapest, Hungary. Between degrees she taught English and was a freelance employee for online language-learning companies. Jessie enjoys catching up on current events, exercising, watching nature documentaries, and of course, traveling.