Anna – From Your Couch to the Road
Many people think it’s super hard to travel ALL the time. Anna is an avid traveler who’s always looking to improve her trips and get the most out of them. She has traveled to many countries and continues to help travelers by publishing her own guides and tips for traveling. Anna will inspire you to leave your comfortable home and start getting those great experiences.
1) Who inspired you to travel?
I’ve always been pushed forward by my own wanderlust. Even when I was a teenager, and I was stuck in the suburbs with no public transit and no car, I would take my bike and go explore side streets I’d never been on, or grocery stores I never frequented.
2) What is your biggest fear?
That a couchsurfing host will turn out to be a serial killer.
3) What is the most memorable moment you’ve had while traveling?
The most amazing thing I’ve done was couchsurf at a huge converted coal barge in London. The guy who owns it basically built a house inside a huge empty vessel, and created a beautiful community of Workawayers, couchsurfers, and friends. I had to leave at 4 AM to catch a flight, but we all ended up staying up past midnight sharing food and stories.
4) Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
At the risk of being sappy, (and heck, I’m always sappy,) it would have to be my boyfriend. He keeps a level head in any situation, always carries sunscreen (important on a desert island), and annoys me significantly less than most people.
5) Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without on travels?
Well, I do love breakfast cereal. When I went to France for a few months, my suitcase was half-filled with breakfast cereal.
6) What does your family and friends say about you travelling so often?
They don’t get it. My parents think I’m on an extended gap year, and that I don’t have a “real job.” To be fair, I kind of don’t have a “real job,” but I try to prove them wrong by living as frugally as I can and saving up money, just like I would be in a boring 9-to-5.
7) If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Warning: needs time alone
8) What’s on the top of your bucket list right now?
I visited Mexico for two days thanks to a free flight, and I fell in love. I’d really like to go back and live there for at least a few months.
9) What is the worst misadventure you’ve had during your travels?
I thought I might die in Sweden. I was staying with a couchsurfer who I thought lived downtown, but as I followed the directions he had given me, I realized I was wrong. I was on a bus on the highway for about a half hour, and the end of the line was the middle of nowhere, with nothing but a huge forest. I had no phone and no idea where I was. Thankfully, I chased after some women who had just gotten off the bus, and they let me use their phones to call. I show them the address, and they tell me that that is miles away from here. At this point, night is falling. The host finally shows up and starts to lead me through the massive forest, full of twists and turns. There is nobody around and I realize that at this point, if he turns out to be a murderer and wants to kill me, there is absolutely nothing I can do, so I keep following him for about two miles. Finally, we end up at this isolated cabin in the middle of the woods. I didn’t die, and in the morning, the location turned out to be perfect: he was just a really cool guy who lived right in the middle of a national forest, with a beautiful lake just outside his door. All’s well that ends well.
10) What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Snails and snail juice, in Morocco.
11) How do you make money and control your expenses to be on the road so often?
I travel in the US a lot, so I can often work two full-time jobs. I teach online, which gives me that flexibility. I’m also naturally cheap, and I couchsurf. I’m also a discount travel guru; I’ve flown from the US to Europe for below $300 round trip. (Find out more at my discount travel blog, frugalnomad.blogspot.com.)
12) Have you ever traveled alone, why or why not? If yes, where did you go the first time you did?
Yes, I usually travel alone. The first time I went to a foreign country alone was when I went to Oslo and celebrated Christmas with a lovely, welcoming couchsurfing-host family.
13) Tell me about the craziest or most unforgettable night out during your travels.
Honestly, I don’t party that much. I’m an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of gal. That said, I go to New York a lot, and I once had a crazy all-night adventure with an old friend and a sexist, racist drag queen. Dude was just sexist, racist, and a drag queen, all at once.
14) Where did you go on your most recent road trip?
I have been doing some short fall-foliage road trips through Pennsylvania lately. I most recently went to Jim Thorpe, a cute little town that happens to be surrounded by gorgeous foliage and rivers. Really picturesque.
15) What is one travel advice you’d like to give?
Never say that you can’t afford to travel. You can travel from New York to Chicago for $1 and stay for free with couchsurfers, if you really want to. For the price of eating out at a restaurant a few times, you can fly to Europe. I try to use my blog as a way to share these tips with other people, and help them reach their dreams.