Today, we continue our series where we sit down to interview fellow Travel Bloggers and (hopefully) get them to give up some of their best travel tips for you, dear reader. Next up, we get to discuss the wonders of travel with April D. Thompson, who is the founding editor of The Absolute Travel Addict website.
1) What is it about traveling that makes you smile?
One of the best things about travel is meeting new people. Despite language, cultural and geographical differences, making connections with people really makes my heart smile.
2) What is your favorite place in the world?
I like so many places, but I would have to say South Africa, particularly Durban is my favorite to date. I’m not really sure what it was, but I really felt at home. It’s just a laid back and friendly beach town with a unique mix of Indian and African culture.
3) What place would have to pay you to come back and even then you’d have to think about it?
Luckily, I don’t really have any place that I wouldn’t go back to, especially if someone paid me. My only hesitation would be that there are so many places I haven’t seen yet that I would like to see before repeating some of the places I have already visited.
4) What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given about traveling?
I’m lucky to have a handful of friends who are travel addicts like myself who have really encouraged me to just pack a bag and go. Don’t over think it, just do it!
5) How has traveling changed you as a person?
“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination, prepared to be herself and only herself.” Maya Angelou
As corny as it sounds, traveling has really given me insight on who I am at the core. It’s so easy to be a chameleon and get sucked into being that person that your job, your friends, your church, your family expect you to be, but when I’m traveling I feel that people more so than not seem to be interested in getting to know me and not what I do for a living or what degrees I have. I love being absolutely 100%, imperfect me, without pretense, hence the name AbsoluteADT.
6) Have you ever volunteered during your travels? If so, what did you do? If not, will you ever?
Yes, during my 6 weeks in South Africa, I volunteered at various schools doing beautification projects and upon my return to the US, I collected and shipped boxes of school supplies back to some of the disadvantaged schools I visited. When it is time to clean the closets out, I will pack and wear clothes that I no longer need and before departing have them washed and donated to a local charity before returning home.
7) What is the best piece of advice that you can give our readers?
Don’t be afraid to do/try/eat something new, but at the same time be true to yourself. If you hate the outdoors, love luxury accommodations and would rather visit museums and shop at designer stores abroad, don’t feel obligated to go backpacking and hostel hopping because others are doing it. And always register your international trip with the US Department of State.
8 ) Since this is a budget travel blog, what is your best budget tip, bar none?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a better rate or discount, you’d be surprised what concessions people are willing to make, especially in the low and off season.
9) Where do you plan to travel this year?
I brought in the new year on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. In January I went to Spain, Portugal and France and in March I visited Denmark and the Netherlands. I plan to squeeze in a relaxing Caribbean vacation this summer and should have enough points for a SkyTeam RTW ticket by May. Looking forward to planning that for Fall/Winter of 2011.
10) What are the three things that you could never do without during your travels?
I am guilty of being overly connected and need my phone, laptop and now my FlipHD Slider. In Colombia, I got a lot of positive feedback from from friends who enjoyed keeping up with my journey through my tweets and pictures. I was even able to connect with some local Colombian tweeps who found me from my Colombia related hashtags.
About our Traveler
April D. Thomas, the Absolute Travel Addict makes no bones about the fact that she is addicted to travel, so save your interventions! But you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and on Linked-In.