I owe Sherry a great debt. When I originally came up with the idea for the Ultimate Train Challenge it was merely going to be me going on my own. I was Skyping with her about the concept and she said, “you need to invite other travel bloggers and make this a more community effort.” She was 100% right. If that concept takes off, it will be because of her idea — make it a broader and more interesting journey.
Sherry has been one of my bigger travel influences. I love her balance. She always seems to have it all under control. Her recent decision to do the Mongol Rally with Dave and Deb of the Planet D has inspired me to get back out in 2011 and stretch my adventure travel legs. And her insights into the business of writing and blogging on the web have been invaluable to me. She is simply one of my favorites.
1 – what is your favorite pizza topping(s)?
Plain slice in NYC of course – no topping necessary, just fold and eat.
2 – I wish there was a Nobel Prize for ________.
Packing exactly what you need and no more. Seriously – would the world be a better place if we traveled lighter?
3 – what particular accomplishment are your parents most proud of you for?
Not getting married. I think they actually admire my choice to remain single, untethered, and carefree. If I actually came home one day with a fiancé I think my dad would be pissed. Actually I think my whole family would be pissed; I’m living the dream for them!
4 – language you’d most like to be fluent in?
ANY!!! It’s one of my big failures so far in life; I have been unable to learn another language. I am completely jealous of people who are bilingual and I constantly wonder how they work it all out in their head to make sense. I wonder if there is some mental chip I’m deficient in that others have…the language chip.
5 – Give us a good, embarrassing guilty pleasure.
Oh God…only my family and past boyfriends know this…I still carry and sleep with my baby pillow every night; we are talking 41 years, every night of my life. It’s so small and flat that it easily fits in my pack so it has been around the world with me. There’s nothing like having your familiar pillow with you in a strange bed every night. Plus – it even has a name…but that will remain a secret.
6 – plant or animal you have never seen in person, but want to?
Quite frankly any of those animals and plants on Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series will do. But if I had to pick one, I choose a penguin in Antarctica. But that’s probably less about the penguin and more because I really want to go to Antarctica.
7 – Worst actor/actress you’ve ever seen?
I was recently subjected to watching Teletubbies – does that count? I saw them on TV in Beirut and thought how horrible it was that kids around the world were exposed to it!
8 – festival you’ve most like to see live and why?
I already saw two of them that were on my list – Naadam in Mongolia and Thaipusam in Singapore. One that has still eluded me is Holi in India. I’m dying to photograph it; the colors and energy look amazing. Yet I have no idea how I could keep my camera from getting destroyed.
9 – what’s your favorite foreign word or phrase?
“Troi Oi” (plus some Vietnamese pronounciation signs and sounds like Joy Oi) – it means Oh my God!
For example – “Did you see that huge cockroach in the kitchen -it was the size of a spring roll?! Troi Oi!”
10 – what’s the best career break you’ve ever gotten?
In 1992 I was a recent college graduate in Accounting. I worked for Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha Nebraska in their Accounting Department. Shortly after they hired me someone came to me and asked if I knew anything about this new thing called Windows 3.11. I said no, but I could probably learn about it if they gave me a book. They bought me a book, and I found myself teaching the Accounting Department clerks how to use Windows (they were replacing all of the green screen mainframe terminals with PC’s at that time). Soon they sent me to Novell, Access, and Visual Basic classes. This was the end of my Accounting career and the beginning of a much more lucrative IT career. I spent the next 14 years working in IT Management.
11 – location of your most drunken night?
Seriously – I’m too old to pick just one. I lived in San Francisco, NYC, and was a clubber in my 20’s and early 30’s…so let’s just rule those out as the ‘lost years’. Probably my most drunken night traveling was a night in Essaouira, Morocco – a place where drinking alcohol was frowned upon – which made it all that much more fun. I remember dancing, men, beach…and that’s about it.
12 – funniest person you have ever met or seen in person
If you asked me for the most pessimistic or sarcastic – I could answer you…but funniest…I have no idea.
13 – Fill in the blank: I’d pay good money to see ______ and _____ get into a good rough and tumble fight.
Sarah Palin and Hosni Mubarak
I hope they would both kick the ignorance out of each other. (Another Lucky 13’er picked Sarah Palin out also)
(And in the humble opinion of this interviewer — that is an answer I like. And for information purposes, Sherry answered this on Feb 9th, right in the midst of the Egyptian revolution, when she was next door, in Jordan)