Monday, 30 May 2011

Twenty Questions

Travel interrogation.  It happens pretty routinely.  Here are 20 questions I get asked on an almost-daily basis:

1. Where are you from?

Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

2. Where is that?

A city in a state in the middle of America that borders on Canada.

3. What do you do?

I am unemployed.  In September 2010, after five 1/2 years in the army, I got out to pursue my passion for writing and travel. 

4. Did you like the army? 

I did, but I was ready to do something else.  That said, I would do it all over again if I was 18 again.  I met amazing people, got to live all over the world, and gained priceless life experiences.

5.  How long have you been traveling?

114 days (as of  May 30, 2011).  I have another three to four weeks to go.

6. Where have you been?

I've been to India, Israel, Jordan, Cairo, and all over Europe.  I have spent most of my time in Europe in eastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula.

7. What is your favorite country?

India, hands down.  Nothing else even compares.

8. How much did your trip cost?

I have not been keeping track of every dollar, but I estimate that this trip will cost me about $16,000 when it's all said and done.  (About $5,000 of that cost was airfare.)

9.  How did you afford it?

The old-fashioned way:  I worked.  I was a full-time military employee for five 1/2 years.  I put money away for this trip every month from October 2009 to February 2011.  It was like a second car payment.   

10.  You're alone.  Do you like traveling alone?

Absolutely.  I have total control over my itinerary and daily schedule.  Traveling alone has also given me self-confidence as I have to rely on myself for everything.  I also believe that travel, at heart, is a truth-seeking journey.  Every truth-seeking journey begins from within.  It is easier to be introspective when you are a solo traveler.

11.  Have you ever been in danger?  Sick?  Injured?

No, I have never been in danger that I know of.  I've been lucky, but I've also been smart.  I practice safe travel tips every day.  Other than a mild upper respiratory infection in north India, I have been sick and injury-free.  I owe a lot of that to my dad.  I inherited his steel stomach.  I can usually drink the local water and eat the spiciest, most exotic cuisine without gastrointestinal mishaps. 

12. Where else do you want to go?

In the three to four weeks remaining, I hope to visit Venice, Barcelona, Lisbon and Marrakesh.  In the future, I want to visit southeast Asia, and Africa.  But travel is travel.  I am happy to go anywhere.  Even if it is a city five miles away from Roanoke, Virginia (my future home)!

13. How old are you?


14. What are your plans after the trip?

This August, I will move to Roanoke, Virginia to began a two-year masters degree in writing.

15. What kind of writing?

My favorite writing is nonfiction (e.g. memoir, essay, journalism) but I also love to write fictional short stories. 

16. How will you support yourself writing?

In the future, I hope to support myself through multiple writing-related income streams such as editing, teaching, tutoring, free-lance and journalism.  I know it is not going to be easy.  I will get a second job to supplement my writing income if need be.

17. Do you miss America?

Absolutely.  This trip has made me fall even more in love with "The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave."  That said, we don't have all of the answers in America.  

18. Are you dating anyone?  Engaged?  Married?

Why does it always have to be about that, LOL?  No, Franz, I am happily single. 

19.  Do you find me attractive? 

If I say "yes" will you buy me a cappuccino? 

20.  When do you leave this city?

I've been staying two to three days in each city, so probably not enough time for us to decide we are soulmates.

* Pictures are from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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