I'll confess I have something of a girl crush on Geraldine DeRuiter, better known on the worldwide web as The Everywhereist. All it takes is a look at the tagline of her insanely widely read blog—"That's right. She went there." it reads—to get an idea of who she is and how she writes: smart, approachable and funny all the way.
Geraldine's husband was first the one who did all the traveling, and it was for work. When she was laid off from the job that had kept her strapped to a desk while he flew here and there, she decided to join in on his trips and started The Everywhereist in 2009. They've been traveling together since and while he's in meetings, she's exploring and blogging.
Peek her travel style (it involves desserts, which I fully support) in the below interview and you'll pick up on why she's the coolest.
Current Gig: Writer/Founder of Everywhereist.com
Last Trip: Cape Town, South Africa
Annual Mileage: Somewhere around 100,000
Preferred Alliance: Um … The Rebel Alliance?
Frequent Flyer Program: Alaska Air
First, are you a suitcase or backpack kind of person?
Definitely a suitcase person. I have a quad-roller and I can just push it, and it glides across airports like a new shopping cart. It’s amazing.
Laptops aside, are there any specific pieces of travel gear/software/mobile app that you can’t live without?
I’m not a really gadget oriented [person] but I love my Kindle (I don’t watch movies on long flights, so I go through a lot of books). As far as travel gear goes, I’m a big fan of packing cubes. They keep everything organized inside my suitcase. I also bought myself a reusable quart-size bag for my liquids a few years back and it’s one of the most useful things I’ve ever purchased.
What do your travel patterns look like? Are you always going to the same places or going somewhere new?
Since my travel is dictated by my husband’s work, we’re often going to the same places, which means I can get a really in-depth feel for a lot of the spots that we visit. We also try and head to a few new locations every year, too.
What are some of the things that you will absolutely not go on a long-haul flight (8+ hours) without? Do you have any routines for long flights?
Something to read (I try to have at least three books on my e-reader), healthy snacks (because I’ll find plenty of junk food at the airport and I need a good alternative), a warm scarf to wrap around me and lotion and lip balm to combat the dry air.
Is there a favorite airline? Is there an airline you wouldn’t touch with a 30,000-foot pole? Share your most memorable flights—both best and worst.
I love Alaska Air — it’s a small regional carrier up here in the Northwest. Sometimes I forget exactly how great they are and then I fly other airlines, and I’m quickly reminded.
My worst flight, though, was actually on Alaska. It wasn’t the airline’s fault, though. I had gotten food poisoning from something I’d eaten at the airport and the flight was incredibly turbulent. After I landed, I got into a taxi. The cabbie saw that I was sick and not paying attention, so he drove me around in circles, causing my fare to go up and up. I was feeling too rotten to argue.
How far ahead of time do you usually plan your lodging and how do you go about selecting?
We try to plan our lodging as soon as we book a trip, in hopes of getting a good rate. I’m a fan of whatever’s cheapest, which can sometimes lead to disaster. So my husband is usually the one who picks the hotel, often based on location.
What’s your single favorite practical travel tip for other travelers? Also, what’s the best piece of practical advice you’ve received?
My favorite piece of advice for anyone traveling is one I borrow from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “Be excellent to each other.” Just be kind to the people you encounter in your travels — you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
The best advice I’ve ever received from anyone else? The time my husband told me, “No matter how lost you get, you are only a cab ride away from getting back to where you started.” I have a terrible sense of direction, so this mantra helped me relax a lot, even though I rarely, if ever, take cabs.
How do you beat jet lag?
Lots of walking and a borderline irresponsible quantity of snacks.
What’s one phrase you try to learn in every country? Do you use any language apps or tools while on the road?
“Please” and “thank you”! I also try to learn the names of any regional desserts. I don’t use any apps or tools — I’m not technologically savvy at all (I can’t even figure out how to put new songs on my iPod; it still has the same tracks on it from 2004. Modest Mouse is still cool, right?). Usually I just ask an American-speaking local to translate a few words for me.
How do you generally get around the places that you visit? What modes of transport do you usually use and how do you map out getting around?
I am a huge fan of public transportation. I rarely take cabs and we seldom get a rental car when we aren’t in the U.S. I’ll usually buy a map or download one onto my phone, and I’ll chart out a few interesting places I want to visit beforehand. I’m inclined to think that this is a rather brilliant method for getting around but it doesn’t really take into account my terrible sense of direction, which usually has me wandering around in circles until I find a bakery. I’ve learned that the best way to find your bearings is to sit down, relax, and stuff your face with cookies.
How do you stay connected to people on the road? Is there a particular mobile carrier you use?
Email is usually the only way I can be reached — I’ve had such consistent bad luck with getting my phone to work in other countries, I’ve just given up entirely.
What places are left on your bucket list? We realize the list is endless! but please name specific places.
I’m actually staunchly against the concept of bucket lists. I figure it’s impossible to know what I want to see because there’s so much stuff that I don’t even know exists yet. Mostly, I just have an idea of how I want to travel the world: with my husband, while eating lots of snacks.
What’s your ideal vacation?
See above 🙂
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see Bill Bryson answer these same questions.