ALL POSTS IN [Our Type of Traveler]

Mickela dances with women celebrating at the Asrlar Sadosi Festival in Navoi, Uzbekistan.

Whose dream isn’t to dance around the world? Mickela Mallozzi, host and creator of the travel TV series Bare Feet, ”experiences the world one dance at time,” and boy, are we jealous. From reconnecting with her family’s roots while folk dancing in Italy to sweating it out with locals dancing salsa in Puerto Rico, Mickela discovers how different cultures express themselves without words.

A classically trained dancer, Mickela has performed on various other TV shows, including Sesame Street, the Today show and The Dr. Oz show, and she is the co-director of the Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference for inspiring and connecting women through travel.

We caught up with Mickela — between her Riverdancing in Ireland and getting intimate with Argentines over tango — to chat about the intersection of travel, dance and culture.

Find out how Mickela got hooked on dancing around the world, how dance enthusiasts (read: amateur dancers) can join her as she moves around the globe, and what country she thinks has the best dancers. (Hint: It’s not the US.)

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Photo Courtesy of Alex Chacón

Hitting the road on a motorcycle can be a major adrenaline rush, and for Alex Chacón, viewing the world from the seat of his motorcycle is the only way to travel.  This adventure videographer and photographer lives to ride on the open road and is committed to documenting his adventures while raising awareness and money for charitable organizations.  In fact, his most famous charitable expedition was a 500-day solo trip from Alaska to Argentina to raise money for the Children of Uganda in Africa.

In addition to his charitable efforts, Alex also owns Your Expedition South, a motorcycle travel consulting business that offers advice and occasionally leads motorcycle tours in Latin America. We wanted to catch up with this unique adventurer for Our Type of Traveler and understand why Alex is at his happiest when traveling on a motorcycle, even after clocking hundreds of miles. Buckle up and enjoy this ride.
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Fathom co-founder Jeralyn Gerba on a boat in Burma.

You know that cool friend of yours who always knows the best bench for people-watching in every city or the greatest little hole-in-the-wall bar down the alley that you would never find? That’s Jeralyn Gerba, co-founder and editorial director of Fathom — only she knows even more benches and bars than your cool friend. In fact, the entire Fathom travel website is full of insider recommendations, inspiring stories and unexpected itineraries.

Former DailyCandy editors Jeralyn and Pavia Rosati teamed up in July 2011 to create Fathom with an editorial motto to “focus on places we like, writers we trust, and stories that move us.” That genuine approach captured the travel space’s attention, winning the Society of American Travel Writers’ bronze medal for best online travel journalism site in 2013.

We tracked down Jeralyn — while she was in between logging airline miles, relocating her office to Spoleto, Italy, for 2 months, and mapping sushi joints in Japan — to chat about all things travel.

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Photo Courtesy of Chris Burkard

I was up late trying to beat a bad case of insomnia when I saw Carson Daly’s interview with pro photographer Chris Burkard, who apparently has a knack for traveling to the most remote corners of the Earth to capture his travels, nature and usually, surfers in action.

Based in San Luis Obispo, CA, Chris is a senior staff photographer for Surfer Magazine, and contributes regularly to various international publications and brands like Patagonia. The self-taught photographer and artist has worked on 3 book projects: Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth, The California Project and Plight of the Torpedo People.

I was inspired and amazed by Chris’ work and thought it would be fun to find out more about the man behind the lens of so many awe-inspiring photos.
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Our Type of Traveler, Matt Stabile, meets a monk near Darjeeling.

Founder and editor-in-chief of TheExpeditioner.com, one of the largest independent travel sites in the world, Matt Stabile is Our Type of Traveler. Balancing a full-time career as a lawyer, managing a robust travel website and hosting a travel web series, Matt’s overflowing plate begs the question, “How does he do it all?”

It seems that the same limitless energy and attention to detail that makes a great lawyer also makes a great traveler. When we caught up with the globe-trotting attorney to find out how he juggles both worlds, the New Yorker explained that he funnels his boundless energy into documenting his travels when he’s not working on a case.  “I have a disorder that doesn’t allow me to relax, even while on vacation, so naturally, I would turn my travels into as much work as possible,” confesses Matt.

And the travel world seems to be happy Matt can’t sit still — his online web series, featuring his travels around the world, has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube.

Find out how Matt “unplugs” from lawyer life, what destinations he recommends for those short on time and money and where he hangs out when he’s home.

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All photos courtesy of Sonia Gill

A self-described language geek, entrepreneur and an award-winning travel web series host, Sonia Gil is Our Type of Traveler.

Founder of the digital language learning company Fluenz, and host of “Sonia’s Travels” web series, Sonia shows that you can travel the world and enrich your life without breaking the bank. With a mission to “crack the secret code of cities,” “Sonia’s Travels” uncovers the local flavor of destinations, avoiding the tourist-trodden spots, to dig deeper to find the true soul of a city.

Sharing her love of language, Sonia’s projects include the non-profit Fluenz.org that distributes free English language programs for people in need. Recently, Sonia partnered with Lonely Planet to create FluentRoad.com, a unique online program for travelers interested in learning travel Spanish.

Sonia also has her own video series “Almost Free” on Ulive.com. As winner of the Webby Award for “Web Personality of the Year” in 2012, Sonia continues to “recapture the small moments that add up to the art of travel.”

We caught up with Sonia on the road to find out about all those small, but meaningful moments in her travels:

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NYT's Frugal Traveler, Seth Kugel in Colombia.

NYT’s Frugal Traveler, Seth Kugel (Photos: Courtesy Seth Kugel)

Because Seth Kugel prefers the unexpected find to online travel reviews, he’s Our Type of Traveler. As The New York TimesFrugal Traveler, Kugel shares his insights on how to enjoy a destination without breaking the bank — or being a slave to endless online travel reviews — in mapping out a travel itinerary.

For Kugel, it’s all about the delight of discovery, something travelers could use more of, he says.

“We’ve eliminated discovery in travel because places are so well-documented,” says Kugel, from his home in Queens, NY. “I’m not an evangelist for being dumb about a place but there’s something to be said for leaving a little room for discovering a place on your own.”

Here’s how Kugel finds the charm of the unexpected, on the cheap. READ MORE

Wildlife adventurer Jessica Pociask curls up with a Harp Seal pup on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

With her passion for wildlife adventures, from jungle trekking in Uganda to see mountain gorillas or curling up with lemurs in Madagascar, Jessica Pociask is our type of traveler.

As the owner of WANT Expeditions — Wildlife and Nature Travel, a conservation-oriented, expedition-style adventure travel company — Jessica leads tours to see the most amazing natural phenomena on Earth.  Jessica has been to over 70 countries, leading expeditions all over the world, and has visited all 7 continents. She has studied climate change in Antarctica, and she was one of 50 women chosen from the US and Mexico for the Women’s Leadership and International Sustainable Development award by the National Wildlife Federation.

Jessica “photo bombs” a giant tortoise in the Galapagos.

A biologist by trade, Jessica recently spoke on a panel with distinguished conservationists and biologists regarding the impact of tourism on conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

And where is Jessica currently? Oh, just leading a tour in Ecuador to see the first new carnivore species found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years — the olinguito.

Traveling Type: How did you get your start leading wildlife and nature tours?

Jessica Pociask: It’s a long, convoluted story that probably started when I made my first insect collection somewhere around the age of 7. Over the next 20 years, fueled by stories in my grandfather’s collection of National Geographic magazines, I was inspired with the idea of being an explorer and adventurer. I took my first trip abroad when I was 16, and I once traveled with an orchestra through Europe. From there on, I was smitten with traveling, so I began working for various conservation organizations and outdoor outfitters and started traveling abroad independently. READ MORE

Family on Bikes hits the Andes. (All Photos: Nancy Sathre-Vogel)

Having traveled through 15 countries — on a bike — with her kids, Nancy Sathre-Vogel is Our Type of Traveler. The founder of Family on Bikes, Nancy quit her day job of teaching, for 21years, to hit the road with her husband and twin sons. What followed was an incredible journey, captured in one of Nancy’s 4 books about bike touring, Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World.

Having logged 27,000 miles throughout the Americas, including Alaska and Argentina, Nancy knows all about family travel. Recently, Traveling Type caught up with Nancy, who now she lives in Idaho, where she pursues her passions of writing and beadwork. Here’s what Nancy had to say about traveling with kids — including her top picks for destinations every parent should take their kids, and how to live out your life’s passions. Plus, she lets us in on the time she found a man in her bed … naked … at 3 a.m. … and it wasn’t her husband. Hmm … let’s get going!

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
Nancy Sathre-Vogel: It was an accident. I actually started an online journal — a place to document our travels for ourselves and where my mother could follow along. I had no idea that people actually read blogs — or that there was such a word as “blog,” for that matter. I was stunned when we started getting messages from random strangers telling me we had inspired them to get out and live a more adventurous life.

What’s your blog about?
My blog started as documentation for our bicycle adventures. Now that we are back home, I’ve morphed it into a site to encourage and inspire others to grab life by the horns and steer it in a direction that is more fulfilling and satisfying.

How many countries, cities, and continents have you and your family traveled to?
As a family, we have ridden our bicycles through 15 countries. Before we had kids, my husband and I cycled probably another 15 or so. And then there are dozens of countries that we’ve traveled in, but not cycled.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Ethiopia is amazing for the sheer beauty of both people and scenery. And Honduras for my basic personal growth.

Sippin’ in style: Family on Bikes’ Nancy Sathre Vogel

Has it ever been a challenge on agreeing on a place to go?
It’s never been an issue. If there is one place that any one of us really feels strongly about, we all respect that. For example, one of my sons said he wanted to go to Yellowstone National Park, so we routed ourselves through Montana and Wyoming rather than along the coast in order to go there. Another desire was to see Chichen Itza, so we planned our route through the Yucatan.

What are the benefits of traveling with young kids — isn’t that tough?
Not at all! Kids are great travelers — even easier than most adults. Kids are so flexible and enthusiastic; they’re willing to do just about anything. And, of course, they have an energy level that allows them to go and go and not get tired.

What’s your family’s favorite place to get away from it all?
Our cottage on the Connecticut shore.

What are the most overrated places to take your kids on vacation?
Pretty much any place that advertises itself as “kid-friendly.” What we’ve found is that the best places are those that are not listed in guidebooks, they are not publicized.

What places should every parent should take their kids?
The 4 destinations I think every child should experience are: 1.) Northern British Columbia — it’s like taking a safari through an African savanna with all the wildlife on the side of the road; 2.) Ica, Peru — seeing conehead skulls in the regional museum, then on to mysteriously carved stones found in the desert, and culminating in a flight over the Nazca Lines, this area will get you questioning some very basic “truths” about our world as well … oh yeah, and the sandboarding in the massive sand dunes is a blast as well; 3.) Chinese New Year — seeing these celebrations should be a must for every child! We lived in Taiwan, so got to be a part of the celebration there; 4.) Ecuadorian New Year — Ecuadorians know how to do New Year right!

What’s your must-have item when traveling — especially with kids?
A Kindle. One for each person.

Tell us your funniest travel story/experience.
Probably the time in Colombia when I found a naked man in my bed! It’s a long story.

Family on Bikes hits northern Alaska’s Dalton Highway

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where?
If you asked my kids, one of them would say lomo saltado from Peru and Bolivia. The other would say plain ol’ beans and tortillas in Mexico. For me? Pretty much any and all Ethiopian food. Except the raw beef — couldn’t bring myself to do that one.

How do your family healthy while on the road?
I think the trick to staying healthy is being active in the outdoors. There is something about Mother Nature to take care of us. That, and we try to eat semi-healthy food, but we don’t stress over it.

What’s the best hotel you’ve stayed at as a family?
In general, we prefer the small locally owned Ma and Pa places over large chains.

Where’s “home”?
Boise, ID. It’s where I grew up, and now – after many years of living all around the world – where we’re living again.

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
Do what the locals do. In the summer, take an afternoon to tube down the Boise River. In the winter head up to the ski resort at Bogus Basin. Listen to music at Alive After 5, walk around the farmers’ market on Saturday morning. There is always plenty going on.

Nancy and family on Tierra del Fuego

You say everyone should pursue their passion — what would you say to someone facing challenges?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I know, I know … that’s trite and cliché and all kinds of boring, but it’s also true. You will find a way to do what’s highest on your priority list. The key is to honestly reevaluate your priorities. What do you value more than anything else? Make a list of your top 5 priorities, then take a good solid look at your life. Are you living in a way that is consistent with those priorities? If not, why?

What’s No. 1 on your bucket list?
I’d like to explore Europe someday. We’ve traveled all over the world, but still have managed to explore much of Europe. Need to change that!


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Our Type of Traveler: Nomadic Matt

As an expert in how to travel the world on $50 a day, Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, is definitely our Type of Traveler. Since this Boston native quit his day job in 2006 and started travel blogging at 23, he’s gone on to visit 70 countries, hundreds of cities and 6 continents. On his No. 1-ranking travel site, Nomadic Matt (and in his book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day) Matt dispenses tips on how to travel longer, better and cheaper. We caught up wtih Matt, who’s currently on tour in Europe, to answer your questions. Whether you’re seeking to become a world traveler yourself or start your own successful blog, Matt’s got the insider look at what it takes.

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
Nomadic Matt: I created my blog in 2008 as an online resume in the hopes of becoming a freelance writer. I wanted to write guidebooks and in a roundabout fashion, that’s what I do.

What’s your blog about?
I teach people how to travel the world on a budget.

How many countries, cities and continents have you traveled to?
I’ve been to 70 countries, countless cities and 6 continents. I’m only missing Antarctica.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Picking a favorite place is a little like picking your favorite child. It just can’t be done, but I would say my top 3 are Thailand, Sweden and France.

What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
My apartment. I love sitting on my couch, ordering Chinese food and watching movies. That’s my vacation!

What’s one place you would just as well not see again?
Vietnam.

For the budget traveler, what budget-friendly spots should they put on their radar?
Greece, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ukraine and Nicaragua, to name a few.

What’s your must-have item when traveling?
For me, I never travel without my iPhone. I love music too much. It makes me tremendously calm and happy, so I always like having access to my music while traveling. It’s especially great on long, long bus rides.

What’s your favorite travel app?
I don’t use apps other than ones related to airline loyalty programs, so I can check my miles. I would have to say my app is now my favorite. I’m building an app that will help people track expenses and budget their money on the road.

Tell us your funniest travel story/experience.
I once got lost in a jungle in Costa Rica with a few friends. We took the wrong path, got lost and before we knew it, it was nighttime and we didn’t have a flashlight. In retrospect it was funny. At the time, we were really scared.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where was it?
The best thing ever? Tough question. I’ve had so many delicious meals. If I had to pick one meal that stood out, it would definitely be the paella I had while in Valencia, Spain. That was phenomenal.

What’s the best hostel or hotel you’ve ever stayed at?
My favorite hostel in the world is The Flying Pig in Amsterdam, though it’s a bit on the pricey side. For absolute value, I love Aboriginal in Budapest. That place is a great bargain, with great stuff and a big breakfast.

Where’s “home”?
New York City.

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
My hometown is a little suburb outside of Boston but we do have the Deane Winthrop House, which is one of the oldest historic houses in the area and famous for its slanted walls!

Any recommendations for anyone wanting to start a travel blog?
Be an expert in something. A general blog isn’t good. Focus on a topic, no matter how narrow, and be the best at it.

What’s No. 1 on your bucket list?
Going on safari in East Africa for 3 months.

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