1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your passion for travelling started.
I’m Edna, a 23-year-old American and serial expat. Since first moving abroad at 18, I’ve lived in China, Singapore, and Paris; and traveled extensively through Asia and Australia. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love traveling – I went on my first international flight at nine months old and have been hooked since.
2.) When did you decide to hit the road? Was it hard to take that step? What preparations and arrangements did you have to make during the planning period?
The first time I moved abroad was in 2008, when I spent almost a year and a half in China. In 2010, two weeks after graduating, I left the US for good and moved to Singapore on a whim. Neither move was hard at all and I made very little plans: I set up online banking to pay my bills from overseas, and gave my mom power of attorney.
3.) Where & how do you celebrate Christmas?
It’s different every year. In China I celebrated with friends and a large dinner. In Singapore I celebrated only with my fiancé and a picnic in the Botanical Gardens. In Australia I spent the day with one of my best friends and his family. However, no matter where I am, I always make sure to Skype my family at home on Christmas Day.
4.) How do you stay in touch with family and friends? Do you write postcards?
I use Google Voice and Skype, and I always send a postcard to my parents from each city I visit. But they also “stay in touch” with me by checking my twitter account. I’m not the greatest at calling and emailing but I always update my twitter, so that’s how they stay up to date on my adventures and make sure I’m alive.
5.) Are you planning on traveling for the rest of your life or would you like to settle down sometime (by settling down we mean finding a place to come home to)?
I’d like to settle down eventually, though not until my 30s. Even then, I’ll probably still travel quite often from wherever my home base is.
6.) If you could choose one city/country for living, which one would it be? Please give us a little explanation (weather, people, etc.).
Shanghai. It’s my second home; I love everything about the city. My parents are from Shanghai so I’ve spent nearly every summer there since I was born. I understand the dialect, I know the neighborhoods, I adore the food, and the city never fails to thrill me.
7.) Where are you right now and how did you get there?
Paris. I flew here on a long, long flight from Sydney.
8.) Travelling is expensive … so how do you get from A to B?
In Asia it wasn’t too expensive thanks to all the budget airlines – I once got a roundtrip flight to Borneo for 48 USD! For my more expensive trips, some were covered by work, and others were booked using frequent flyer miles. And for the rest, like US-Australia, I just had to bite the bullet and charge it to my credit card.
9.) Do you use a travel guide (Lonely Planet, etc.)? If so, please tell us which one … if not, why?
I do – usually Lonely Planet or Wikitravel – to get an idea of a place. I’m super flexible, but I like to at least create a bare-bones skeleton of an itinerary first. I might follow it, I might not, but I like to have somewhere to start and letting the rest of the trip change or fall into place from there.
10.) What does a perfect day on your trip look like? What season is it? Are you inside or outdoors? Are you in a city or in the middle of nowhere?
My perfect day would involve lots of food, preferably an athletic activity (bicycle tour, rock climbing, anything adventurous), and good weather. Spring or fall is ideal. I’m definitely a big city girl, but I also enjoy places full of natural beauty (like the islands of Thailand or the rice fields of Bali).
11.) Name three spots from your last adventure, which you’d probably not find in a guidebook but you could recommend to travellers. Tell us what’s special about them.
These might be in guidebooks anyway, but here are three of my favorite finds from my last adventure in Ireland:
1.) Number 31: The coziest B&B in Dublin.
2.) Elephant and Castle: Surprisingly amazing chicken wings and Irish breakfast, especially given its location in Temple Bar.
3.) Guinness Storehouse: I realize this is in every guidebook, but here’s a tip: time your visit so that you get to the Gravity Bar just before dusk. That way you get to enjoy your free pint while watching the sun set over the city.
12.) Where & how do you write your blog articles? Do you start with a rough draft or get right to it?
I free-write, and edit as I go, usually after every few sentences. I’m a perfectionist though, so the constant editing means I’ll spend hours writing and rewriting a post before I finally hit publish.
13.) What’s your favorite local dish? Where does it come from? Can you cook it & what are the main ingredients?
Too many to choose from, though pad thai and Chinese noodles are definitely in the top five. Main ingredients in both are noodles…that much I know. Obviously, I’m not the greatest cook.
14.) How much does 1 liter (or one gallon) of milk and petrol cost today?
Not sure since I don’t drive and I buy milk in bulk (you can buy milk in bulk in Paris!) – but I think both hover around $3.15 these days.
15.) On which device to you answer this questionnaire and what shoes are you wearing (if possible please add a picture )?
13” MacBook Air, and my trusty Chucks.
16.) Last but not least: What does “home” mean to you?
Luckily my parents and relatives have lived in the same cities my entire life, so this question has never been hard for me to answer: “Home” is where my family is. I’ll always consider Pennsylvania and Shanghai home.
Want to be a part of this series?
If you want to be a part of our series, just go to the “Home Sweet Home” article and download the appropriate questionnaire. We’d really like to read your stories :)
Participants so far:
#1: Ulli Maier
#2: Nisa Maier
#3: Shvyia Nath
#4: Rika Huang
#5: Yvonne Zagermann
#6: Dario Endara
#8: Roy van den Bos
#9: Monica Stott
#10: Doris Neubauer
#11: Amanda Slavinsky
#13: Casper Oppenhuis de Jong
#14: Ashley Abroad
#15: Inma Gregorio