We asked Gladys, our resident globetrotter, to share her experiences and thoughts on traveling, as well as some tips for those looking to set out.
So how many countries have you been to?
Wow. Everyone knows you love to travel and encourage it. What sparked such passion for traveling?
Reading as a child and learning about places beyond where I lived was really what inspired me. Also being able to travel as a child. I learned people eat different foods and live in different places. This last year, I found that I needed to travel and felt trapped that I couldn’t. This made me appreciate my memories more.
Tell us your favorite memory.
I was fascinated by India and I really think everyone should just go. I feel like you just have to let India in. It’s like an assault on all your senses. The colors, the smells, the people touching you, the noise, and although I’m from Ghana, India is completely different. I liked it because of the vibrancy and the energy.
And we heard you also do marathons abroad?
Somewhere along the way, I started traveling to do marathons and it’s allowed me to see the streets and cities on the ground versus driving. My favorite was the 2008 Tokyo marathon. It was really cold, like 24 degrees in the beginning and at the end 40 degrees. People were giving hot soup and rice balls during the marathon and it was just an amazing experience that I won’t ever forget.
That really does sound amazing. Care to share some tips and advice for novice travelers?
Don’t think it’s so expensive, it’s possible to travel inexpensively. It’s more fun to take the trains and stay at hostels to see the city like a local. Most think they can’t afford to travel, but there are so many ways to travel. There are companies that cater to different travel styles and budgets and help plan your next trip. Also, get lost! Don’t rely on GPS. In every city I’ve ended up getting lost because I was exploring.
Any tips on budgeting when going abroad?
Depending on the city, I’ll come up with a plan. Obviously, Europe is more expensive than other parts of the world, so maybe $100 a day. For Asia and Africa, maybe $20 a day since the cost of living is cheaper. But it all depends on the specific traveler and what you want to do. Just account for food and entertainment and that should be enough.
Has COVID affected your passion for traveling in any way?
Yes, during COVID I felt trapped, but I was glad that I’d had the opportunity to travel. I learned I need to travel and that it’s an incredible escape. Going through my old pictures gave me more joy and inspired me to travel again as soon as I can. Travel is about culture, food, and the people. Even during COVID, I found that I watched a lot of travel and cooking shows.
Where will you be going next?
There are so many places I would love to go to. I would like to travel more to South America and I would love to see Antarctica one day. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m sure I will be booking a flight somewhere soon.