Amy T. is one of my longest, closest friends. I’ve known her for more than 10 years, starting with our younger days at Princeton Chinese Language School teaching Chinese Knotting and trying to learn Chinese. She’s been one of the busiest people I’ve known, always off doing amazing things – getting involved in this program, applying to this school, making plans with friends to visit this place, etc. She just finished this great roadtrip across the country where she and her friend Pin recorded their scavenger hunt as they drove from NJ to CA to drop Amy off at Stanford where she is starting an engineering Ph.D. yep, she’s incredibly smart, well-traveled, laid-back, totally fun, and i get to call her ‘friend’.
considering my incessant wanderlust, i was inspired by this recent NYTimes article Q&A With Beth Whitman, a Woman’s Perspective on Solo Travel to ask amy about her traveling experiences. this is the first in a new series i’m starting of interviewing friends on a topic they have expertise on or at least a lot of experience in. I’m still working on finding an appropriate program to record skype conversations, somehow the one i was using didn’t fully record, and also deleted itself after the trial 30 days was over. so, against all journalistic integrity, parts of this are paraphrased. BUT without further ado: Amy on Traveling.
Why did you choose this type of program for your next travels? [Amy’s headed to Romania for a Habitat for Humanity trip]
I’ve wanted to go to Eastern Europe for awhile. Plus my friend, Nancy, brought up the idea of a service trip. I’ve heard Romania is beautiful, this just seemed like a great opportunity.
Is it better to be a tourist, a student, or a worker?
I prefer a combination of all three. i like having some structure, and it’s safer to travel as a group. I liked being a student abroad because it made everyday things like late-night food runs, or figuring out a library system seem like new.
Any advice for travelers, especially women traveling alone?
I really don’t like traveling alone. Even if it’s 2 girls, it doesn’t feel safe. its better in a group, guys will look out for you. it’s sad but that helps a lot.
Why do you keep traveling? Any life or world lessons learned?
Ease into traveling, its much easier to travel somewhere where you know the language. So if that’s English, seriously, go with England first. Without sounding corny, I keep traveling because you really can learn so much from new and different people and cultures.
What other places are next on your list?
I’m trying to see more of the US, I think we forget there are some great places right in our own country. I’ve also wanted to go to Italy for a long time. I love Italian food, great art and architecture.