PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL – HOPE FROM TORONTO, CANADA
Hi! I’m Hope and am a Sophomore at the University of Michigan. I’m from Toronto, and all of the diversity there has shaped my desire to travel and understand the different cultures of people who are important to me. I have a travel blog that I started with my sister called MVMT blog where we share our adventures and thoughts on travel. Because I’m a full time student I’ve learned to take advantage of every break I get (even if it’s only for a day) and use it to travel!
1) NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
I’ve visited exactly 25 countries. Most of these were either countries in Europe or in the Caribbean, and many of these were trips taken with my family. I’ve gotten the chance to travel alone a lot more since going to University and have hit 8 of these countries since then!
2) FOREIGN LANGUAGE(S)
I’m fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) as it was spoken in my household throughout my entire life, but my level of reading and writing it is very low. I am currently studying Spanish at my University and can make basic conversation, but I wouldn’t consider myself fluent yet. I can also speak an extremely basic level of French and German.
3) AGE AND FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP YOU TOOK
I am 18 years old and though I started taking International trips at a very young age, I was either with my family or staying with extended family. Not counting places in Canada or the United States, the first International trip I took was this past summer. I had the chance to go to Germany for a little over a month and stay with a local family there, and then I backpacked to five more countries after that. During this trip I was alone in Europe with no family or friends, but this was one of my favourites because it encouraged me to meet more people and make new friends. I grew so much from it and would recommend taking a solo International trip to everyone!
4) FAVORITE AIRLINE
I might be biased, but I personally love Air Canada. This isn’t only because I’m from Canada, or because Air Canada is one of the only large international airlines based in Canada. The service is quality, the snacks are great, and the personal televisions with complimentary in-theater films are definitely an added bonus.
5) YOUR GO-TO IN-FLIGHT APPAREL
I’m pretty sensitive to temperature changes, especially when it gets colder. I’ve spent many a flight freezing on the airplane for hours on end and since then, I have learned to always bring layers, even on hot summer days! That being said, you can usually find me lounging on the plane in a loose fitting top, leggings, a sweater, and tennis shoes (mostly so I don’t wear sandals, forget my socks, and end up with cold feet).
6) THINGS/GADGETS YOU CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT
There are the obvious answers like my phone and charger (I always bring a portable charger too!), but my main must-have are my headphones. I’m the type of person who will never walk anywhere alone without my headphones in, so any trip without music is not going to end well. I also make sure to always bring my worldwide travel adapter when travelling overseas – it’s usually pretty easy to buy one abroad, but I feel proud of myself every time I see a foreign outlet and realize that I’d prepared for it.
7) FAVORITE COUNTRY AND WHY
I have many favourite countries for different things. For example, my favourite country in terms of nature is Norway, my favourite in terms of relaxation is Turks and Caicos, and my favourite to possibly live in one day is either Germany or Austria. I spent more time in Germany than in any other European country so I know it better than the rest, but I absolutely loved the German people and culture. It balanced work and family very well, and definitely embodies the idea of ‘work hard, play hard’.
8) WTF MOMENT
I have had a lot of WTF moments – the entire Trolltunga hike was a massive WTF (not to say it wasn’t worth it, it was extremely character building!!), but one of my more cultural WTF’s involved the Europeans and the Euro Cup. There were two distinct moments where I found myself very confused.
The first was in Germany, where the team won the first round (which was expected anyways), and the entire city spent the next few hours celebrating, shaking cars, sitting on the streets, etc. The other was when I was in Budapest and the team lost 0-4 to Belgium, but the entire city was parading and celebrating well past 2 AM that night.
9) FAVORITE CITY AND WHY
The answer to this question is also why I can’t decide between Germany or Austria being my favourite country to live in. I visited Vienna and fell in love with everything there. It had the most beautiful architecture all throughout the city, was incredibly clean, and had many elements of German culture that I respect and admire. I felt very at home in Vienna, but still can’t let go of my love for Germany.
10) MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT
This was both my most embarrassing moment and most stressful moment. I had bought a Eurail pass for my week-long backpacking trip and was taking an overnight train from Prague to Krakow that left around 11 PM. I had booked a sleeper in the train weeks earlier and went to the cart listed on my ticket.
However, someone was already sleeping in my bunk, and I went to the cabin manager to let him know that they had double booked it. He looked at my ticket and told me that I had reserved the sleeper for the next day, and at this point the train had already left the station. I was now frantic and flustered because I had scheduled my trip so that I covered one country a day, and I couldn’t afford to wait a day to go to Krakow. Thankfully, I was able to get a normal seat and made it to Krakow on time.
11) FAVORITE CUISINE
I literally love every type of food. I can’t pick a favourite but Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai), Mexican, German, and Italian all tie for first. There isn’t much that I won’t eat other than spicy foods.
12) HOTEL, HOSTEL, OR AIRBNB?
Hostel, hands down. Aside from the obvious reason of hostels being the cheapest option, a huge part of travelling is the people that you meet and hostels are a great way to do this! The majority of people living in hostels will be other travellers open to making new friends.
13) MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
I’ve mentioned this a lot already, but my European travels this past summer have been unbeatable as my most memorable travel experience. I learned and grew so much from every place that I visited on this trip, and I was also able to discover more about myself through being alone for an extended period of time.
14) MOST CHALLENGING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
There was one time last year when I took a spontaneous trip to New York City. I decided on Friday night that I wanted to spend the weekend there and because I went to school in Boston, I was able to get there by bus in around 4 hours. I had planned on finding a host on couchsurfing the day of, and had messaged numerous hosts on the bus ride.
I more or less forgot to check if anyone had replied until later that evening and unfortunately, no one had. i was in New York City with no place to stay until around 10 PM that night when thankfully, a host let me make a last minute request to stay with them (shoutout to Zizou & Moe). This actually ended up being the highlight of my trip and I still keep in touch with them today!
15) BEST TRAVEL ACTIVITY
My favourite travel activity is walking around a city for an entire day with a very basic outline of main sites to see. It’s not exactly an activity, but it’s how I go about exploring new places that I visit and has always reaped great results! I’m able to find a lot more hidden locations this way and it makes the trip more personal and special.
16) FAVORITE TRAVEL SOUVENIR
I don’t have any particular material possessions that I put extra value on, but I do have a box containing ticket stubs, pamphlets, and other little things I pick up from everywhere I go. I’ve been adding to this box for many years now and it’s probably the first thing I’d grab in a house fire.
17) MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM PIC
I’m pretty sure my most liked instagram pic (on my personal account, not MVMT blog) is the one of my standing on a cliff in the Scarborough Bluffs. I almost fell taking the picture, but I guess it was worth it!
18) FAVORITE TRAVEL PICTURE TAKEN
I’d have to go with the picture of my sister and I jumping on the cliff of Trolltunga. It was just a very memorable picture because of how exhausting the hike had been to get to that point, and how synchronized the picture had been even though we hadn’t seen it beforehand.
19) FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS
I will be travelling to Denmark and the Faroe Islands for Thanksgiving, to the U.S. Virgin Islands for Christmas, and to Washington D.C. on January 20th for Inauguration Day.
20) BUCKET LIST
I’ve never officially made a bucket list so I’ll keep this one short – my bucket list is to seize every opportunity and experience life has to offer.
21) YOUR TRAVEL INFLUENCER(S) AND WHY
My sister influenced me a lot in travelling. She’s 8 years older than me and has paved the path for many things in my life, and she’s shown me not to be fearful of anything in life. Travel is something that’s bonded us a lot and now that we’re both out of the house and don’t get to see each other often, taking trips together is even more special!
22) FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTE
“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough” -Toni Morrison
My favourite travel quote changes a lot but in this season of my life, I’ve tried to focus more on reminding myself to appreciate everything in life, even seemingly mundane things. If there’s one thing travel has taught me, it is to view life as an adventure, even when I am not physically travelling. It has taught me to find the beauty in everything and to remember to be thankful for the people in my life and the privileges that I have been blessed with.
For more exciting travel pics, follow Hope and her sister on Instagram @themvmtblog – both currently exploring Faroe Islands!
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