Inspired Traveler

The Inspired Traveler # 18 – Michael Figueiredo

Today is my final installment in the Inspired Traveler series. I appreciate all the support from the readers and the participation of some really great travel bloggers who generously shared their wit and wisdom in their interviews. Helping the fat lady sing is one of my faves, Mike Figueiredo, who quite by accident has found himself blogging about traveling in between his day job in La La Land. Mike shares his adventures in his travel blog Strux Travel and as the local guide/contributor to the Los Angeles Examiner.

Standing on a dolphin’s head in Punta del Este, Uruguay!  (not really)

1. What is it about traveling that makes you smile?

Just sitting at an outdoor café, sipping a cappuccino and watching the people go by. It doesn’t really matter what part of the world I’m in—it could be Paris or Istanbul, Buenos Aires or New York City. I really enjoy seeing how people go about their day-to-day lives.

2. What is your favorite place in the world?

That’s a hard one! If I had to narrow it down I’d say Barcelona, Spain. I love the lifestyle there—tapas bars, afternoon siestas, eating dinner at 10 p.m. Plus, the people are so friendly and the city is teeming with spectacular art and architecture. I love that it’s a very cosmopolitan city but at the same time it enjoys a relaxed Mediterranean vibe.

3. What place would have to pay you to come back and even then you’d have to think about it?

I have yet to go to a place that I disliked so much that I’d never want to return. I hope I never have an answer to this question!

4. What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given about traveling?

I don’t know if this is advice per se, but being taught how to read a map and a train schedule was very important. Knowing the direction you want to travel, how and when to make transfers, and having an overall sense of where you are at all times is definitely a necessary skill. When you’re traveling, you want to be confident and comfortable in your surroundings and flipping a map around or taking a train or subway in the wrong direction won’t accomplish that. It will just cause unneeded stress.

Mike enjoying the view in Croatia

5. How has traveling changed you as a person?

Traveling has had an enormous impact on who I am. Ever since I backpacked around Europe after graduating college I’ve wanted to see as much of the world as possible. I remember that first moment when I ascended from the Paris Métro at the Saint-Michel station in the Quartier Latin. It was dusk, and the first thing I saw was this huge illuminated fountain. People were everywhere, milling about and sitting at outdoor cafés. Everything seemed so bohemian—the street was practically glowing. It was so different from anything that I’d ever seen before back home. After three months of backpacking and hitting something like fifteen countries along the way, I returned home with a totally different perspective of the world.

6. Have you ever volunteered during your travels? If so, what did you do? If not, will you ever?

So far, I have not. Whenever I’ve traveled I’ve always jammed so much into my itinerary that I haven’t allowed any time for volunteer work. I’d definitely be open to voluntourism in the future, though.

7. What is the best piece of advice that you can give our readers?

Travel with no regrets. Don’t skip out on something you want to do or see because you never know if you’ll ever be there again. You don’t want to come home saying, “I had a great time, but I wish I had done ___.”

“If you think I’m going through that door, you’re crazy! I’m a TRAVELER, not a tourist!”

8. Since this is a budget travel blog, what is your best budget tip, bar none?

My best tip is to create a budget and stick to it! What I do is figure out exactly how much money I have for the entire trip. Then, after paying for airfare, I divide the remaining amount by the number of days I’ll be traveling. I keep one of those small spiral memo pads and make a page for every day and put that magic dollar amount at the top of each page. I then keep track of every dollar (Euro, Pound, peso, etc.) that I spend—whether it’s for lodging, food, transportation, souvenirs or even to use the restroom. I make sure I stay on budget by tallying up what I’ve spent every step of the way. It might seem like overkill, but it’s a great way to maximize your budget (and possibly even to afford a longer trip.)

9. Where do you plan to travel this year?

I am really hoping to go to Cuba. I wanted to go this spring, but things didn’t work out that way. Summer will be way too hot, so I’ll try to go in the fall. I’ll be doing some trips within California and will visit family in Miami at some point too. I’ve been talking about going to Peru with my sister next year, as well.

It doesn’t get any better than this – in Sao Lourenco Azores, Portugal

10. What are the three things that you could never do without during your travels?

Definitely my camera (I’m a total shutterbug), my Macbook (so I can Skype, write, and immediately upload my photos), and my iPod (loaded with my favorite tunes.) Oh, and a good book too!



 

About our Traveler

Michael Figueiredo aspires to own a wildly successful web-based travel service and figures all of this traveling is part of his…umm…..research.  Check out his website, Strux Travel and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

comments

Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
10 Comments
  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 11:21h, 17 June Reply

    Great interview with Michael! Great to see that Barcelona is one of his favorite places!

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    Posted at 11:29h, 17 June Reply

    Cool interview. I’m just as obsessive about my travel budget.

  • Michael Figueiredo
    Posted at 11:40h, 17 June Reply

    Thanks for the honor of being your final “Inspired Traveler” Renee! I hope you’re just taking a break though–I look forward to this series every Friday. I love learning more about other travel bloggers! Thanks again 🙂

  • Pat King
    Posted at 12:47h, 17 June Reply

    Great interview. I am learning so much from your site. Missed you at tbex ’11.

  • Caanan
    Posted at 14:10h, 17 June Reply

    We are Strux Travel fans from WAYYY back, I mean, like, almost a year ago! 🙂

    Great interview. BTW MIchael, that picture in the grey box is especially handsome.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 14:29h, 17 June Reply

    My favorite place in the world? Hmmmm … would have to say Switzerland! I have family who lives there and have been lucky enough to travel there a couple times. So beautiful, low key, cultured … I love it! Thanks for your fun posts, I enjoy reading things from all over!

  • Christy
    Posted at 19:00h, 17 June Reply

    Michael – in that last photo you look like G.O.B. from Arrested Development! And he’s adorable, of course, so it’s a good thing. 😉 Great interview!

  • Laurel
    Posted at 06:18h, 20 June Reply

    Another great interview Renee. I would have thought Michael would have said that Portugal was his favorite place though, so guess I don’t know him as well as I thought I did 🙂

  • Candice Michelle
    Posted at 06:55h, 22 December Reply

    A person worth remembering. For sure, it would be a great feeling to meet Michael. I just hope I can see him personally in a beautiful place like that one on the background someday in my life.

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