NomadMania doesn’t always interview those who have been almost everywhere – we like to showcase all sorts of travellers, especially if they have their own blog. It is a pleasure to introduce Cinthia whose bilingual – in Spanish and English – blog is certainly an inspiration.
Cinthia, tell us something about your early years and how your love for travel developed.
My mother tells me I’ve traveled since I was one year old, and that I was always ready to go when she mentioned traveling. I grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in a busy city port facing the Pacific Ocean. My childhood vacations were typical for a middle-class Ecuadorian family: a 45-minute road trip to the beach right after school on a Friday. My family did not own a house at the beach, but at the time it was very affordable to rent a cabin for the entire family for the weekend. I love my childhood travel memories: the smell of the ocean, the smooth feeling of the sand underneath the feet and the heat of the sun warming my body. The beach holds a special place in my heart.
Now I am based in Dutch Country, Pennsylvania. Quite a change, right? I live here with my husband, our four beautiful boys and our amazing dog. My husband has been my main travel companion and partner in mischief as we set out exploring the whole world. As a young couple married in our early twenties, we focused on financial security and career advancement in order to have a stable home that we could return to from our adventures. I believe that discipline, determination and trust in yourself are the key to achieving your goals and dreams. After years of hard work across industries and as business owners, we came across an opportunity to dedicate more time to travel. As for my individual passions, having the chance to combine traveling and writing is a dream come true!
You are from Ecuador. What does it mean to be Ecuadorian and how has it affected who you are?
Ecuador is a small country in square mileage, but it´s full of natural resources and beautiful places to visit that will leave you with breathtaking images that are hard to forget. I was always an explorer, and being from a country with pristine beaches, the Andes, the Amazonian and the Galapagos islands makes me appreciate the wonders of this world even more.
Now you live in Pennsylvania. Was there a culture shock after your move? What were some of the striking differences in the way of life?
To start, the cold weather was and is my main struggle. I moved from 80-degree average weather to below zero in the winter months. The way of life in Pennsylvania is also a little different. The food is good in both places, but Ecuadorian food is more flavorful, and they use tons of organic, fresh fruit and vegetables. One thing I love most about the United States is that you can find really good deals on traveling, therefore, seeing the world is easier and more affordable compared to Ecuador.
What kind of traveller are you and what kinds of place attract you the most?
From tours to self-planned trips, cruise lines to RVs, focused journeys through one country to island-hopping, I have explored a wide variety of travel experiences. I have done both affordable and luxury on many occasions. I went on a 32-day road trip from Pennsylvania to Alaska, sleeping in different hotels every night. I have camped for 2 nights at Denali Park with my 4 little kids and husband. I have done river and ocean cruising, hired a private driver in Morocco, Brazil etc. so I can see what I want in my own time and terms. When I travel, it´s not just to say I´ve been there and done that, but to learn as much as I can about the places I visit, therefore, I am attracted to everything I haven’t been to yet.
Tell us a few travel stories that really had an impact on you.
Every time I travel, I learned more than a thing or two (language, food preparation, habits, political views, geography, etc.) One of the best things for me when I travel is to meet new people and get to know them well. I have made great friendships in the past 21 years with people that I have only seen once but we have kept in touch.
You have your own website, Traveling the World with CK. Tell us a bit about it.
I created a website as my own travel log. I know I won´t be able to remember everything just by keeping it in my memories and pictures. I would like to leave a legacy of what I have seen, tasted and experimented, so others can relate and maybe go and see all the amazing things our world has to offer and meet people or understand cultures that otherwise they will never do.
One of the sections is called Eating Deliciously. We take it you are a foodie. Any recommendations based on your experiences?
I recommend trying it all because you don’t know if you’ll see that meal or item again in your lifetime. I love food and I always try new things regardless of appearance. Some countries have fruits, spices and vegetables that don’t exist anywhere else in the world so that may be my only chance to try it. I have eaten whale, puffins, alligators, ants, many types of birds, fish etc. Some of them were not a favourite, but at least I gave it a shot!
Finally, our signature question – if you could invite anybody in human history to dinner, who would you invite and why?
Angelina Jolie would be my first choice because of her humanitarian work. She has traveled to places I have an interest in visiting when they become safer such as Sudan’s Darfur region, the Syria-Iraq border and the Afghan capital Kabul. Her passion for children´s education, human and women’s rights is inspiring.