Our interview with Paula from lookingforthesweetspot.com Travel Blog:
Why did you start traveling?
I did not travel much as a kid, however, when I met my husband all that changed. He grew up in a family that traveled as much as possible. We began traveling together before we were married and have never stopped. When our kids were 4 and 6, we decided they were old enough to start traveling abroad; we began to go to more and farther away places. Travel has become our favorite thing to do as a family.
What is the most important during your travels?
I think the most important thing is to try to be “travelers” and not “tourists”. What I mean by that is, trying to learn about and be a part of the culture –visit with locals, eat at the local restaurants, hang out in the local square with other families. One of my favorite things to do in a new country is shop at the local grocery stores and markets to find my favorite indigenous foods and trinkets. Those are the things I think about and miss the most when I am back home again.
What is the most important experience that you had during travels?
Since most of my traveling is done with my family I thought it would be fun for them to contribute to this question. Truthfully I was curious as to what they would say:
13 year old: “Eating crepes all over Paris – and, seeing the light in the Pantheon in Rome (Oculus) that shown down on the floor, that was really cool.”
15 year old: “Seeing Paris at night while jogging with Dad through the city.” “Also, staying with our German friends in Hamburg and getting to experience their life and homemade German foods.”
Husband: “Each time I travel to a new place, I have the satisfying feeling that I am able to go anywhere and see anything.”
Myself: One of the first trips we took as a family, when my boys were 4 and 6 years old, was a trip all around Mexico. We were in the town of Palenque in Southern Mexico, hanging out at the local square. The square was filled with families talking, teenagers congregating, and couples relaxing. We bought some bubbles and homemade bubble wands from a local vendor. My boys started blowing bubbles and chasing them all around the square. Pretty soon, several local kids had joined them in the action, local teenagers were laughing at the raucous and local Moms and Dads were watching and nodding to us in that welcoming way as all our kids had the time of their life together. It made me realize how small the world really is, and how we are really all just in it together. I love that about travel!
What is the most beautiful place you have been to?
That is so hard to say! I love every new place I go. There are several beautiful towns/cities in Mexico and Italy I just love, but I would have to say the most beautiful city I have traveled to thus far is Paris. For different reasons, the most beautiful country would have to be Costa Rica – where I most recently returned back from!
What do you avoid when traveling?
I avoid “all-inclusive” resorts like the plague! If you want to go to a country and not see it or experience the culture in any way, then an all-inclusive resort is the way to go! I also try to avoid tours that “hold your hand” too much. Again, too much caretaking makes me feel like I am not experiencing a place as it really is.
What is your biggest travel dream?
In a different world situation, I would want to see many parts of the Middle East. There are so many beautiful things to see and experience there. However, my realistic travel dream is to go to Africa – Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa.
Travel and Adventure blogs I read
CravesAdventure.com, AdventuretoAnywhere.com, NomadicSamuel.com, BucketListPublications.com, lookingforthesweetspot.com