Interview with Sherry Ott of Ottsworld: Lucky 13 Questions 30

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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.

So go check out her website, Ottsworld, follow her on Twitter, and enjoy her answers to the Lucky 13:

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.

blankie cartoon, child with blanket

but does she have a blankie? (credit:

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.

the scary teletubbies

causing nightmares to adults everywhere

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.

colorful holi festival india


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.

hosni mubarak staring right egypt #jan25

the stare down

sarah palin red suit shouting

the shout-down

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)

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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

30 thoughts on “Interview with Sherry Ott of Ottsworld: Lucky 13 Questions

  • Peter

    Great interview, love it!! Funny that ‘oh my god’ is one of your favorite phrase, as we like saying it in Spanish quite often ‘Dios Mio’! Oh and If you do manage to get that rough and tumble fight arranged, I’ll buy a ticket. Cheers!

    • Sherry Ott

      I was debating over Oh my God in Vietnamese and “Yella” (Let’s go!) in Arabic…I think I just like the sound of them both! Maybe I should learn Oh My God in all languages…it might come in handy!

      • Laura

        I can’t believe people let their children watch Teletubbies over something like Sesame Street. What a fun interview!

  • The NVR Guys

    I think it awesome that your parents and family are so supportive of your lifestyle decisions!

    I also think it is awesome that you share our contempt for the sarah Palin’s ignorance. Our dear nephew – who we love to death despite his political leanings – just went to CPAC to see Sarah Palin. He wants her to be President. President. Sarah Palin. I feel like we have failed. I mean, the kid has cool gay uncles! WTF?! Sorry for the short rant.

    • Sherry Ott

      Oh – you have my deepest sympathies regarding your nephew’s political leanings. I was upset enough when I was visiting back home and saw my mother was reading her book…I couldn’t even speak to her about it. At least she got it from the library and didn’t spend money on it!

  • Leigh

    I love reading Sherry’s work and I’m with her 100% on wishing I had full command of a second language.

  • Kirsten Alana

    I already adored Sherry but her answers to 1-4 made me that much more of a fan!! Here here Sherry 🙂 Bravo.

    • Sherry Ott

      Thanks Kirsten! Nice to know that people are reading and following my travels – it’s what keeps me going. Plus I have to make sure I find a new country to live in if Sarah Palin becomes president one day!

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    I love that you told the world you still sleep with your baby pillow, you rock! And haha wouldn’t it be nice that Sarah Palin get “the ignorance kicked out of her.” The world would be SUCH a better place!!!

    • Sherry Ott

      Yeah Andi – I can hardly believe that I shared that about my baby pillow…nothing is sacred in my life any longer!!

  • islandmomma

    I love this interview! The questions are so refreshing…….and revealing. I’ve been following Sherry’s blogs for some months now, but this showed a new side to her!

  • Jillian

    Sarah Palin vs. Hosni Mubarak. God, I wouldn’t know where to put my money. She probably bites!

    NVR guys- Show your nephew her TV show. They’ll come around!

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    Sherry is one of my favorite bloggers. I agree with #2! The world would be a better place if people didn’t bring such huge carry-ons and took up all the space in the overhead compartment. 😉

  • Renee

    I’m really enjoying these interviews, Michael. Keep up the good work. Sherry, I, too can relate to the travails of being monolingual. I really want to learn to speak conversational French, but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Still, I press on…..maybe one of these days…..

    • Sherry Ott

      Yeah – me neither Donna – I’m a horrible packer. I have visions of carrying small little bags and being free of heavy bags…but I haven’t been able to make it happen yet!

  • Roy

    I know what you mean about the language thing. I’m just so lazy. Even when I lived in Prague for a year – rather than try to learn Czech, I found myself a bilingual girlfriend 🙂

    • Sherry Ott

      Very clever of you on the girlfriend front! I lived in Vietnam for a year and only learned taxi directions!

  • Cyndi Ott Sommerfeldt

    Instead of spending your money on the Palin vs. Mubarek outcome….send it to me and I will reveal the name of Sherry’s (flat as a piece of paper) baby pillow! At last my internet money making proposition I have been waiting for…..who would have thought it would have come in the form of my little sister’s baby pillow. Thanks Sherry….love you!

    • Sherry Ott

      Great – my own family is now selling me out…this must mean that I’ve hit the ‘big time’!

      • Michael Hodson Post author

        Whooo hoooo! I think I am going to get that check in the mail. I like the family feedback 😉

  • Samantha Dermot

    The answer about actor made me laugh! Back when I was in Highschool, I can still remember the airing of teletubbies every morning. Even all stuffs anywhere were designed as teletubbies characters. Also my friends know their names! LOL But I really hate them! I really don’t know, but I find it weird watching them on tv. I’d rather chose other cartoons than spending time to watch their show.

  • Leah Phillips

    I loved reading this interview. You seem like a mellow and funny person. I could relate to almost all of your responses. Good Luck with your adventures!

  • Yolanda Mcintyre

    Yeah Andi – I can hardly believe that I shared that about my baby pillow…nothing is sacred in my life any longer!! Nice! The last question and answer still have me laughing. Our dear nephew – who we love to death despite his political leanings – just went to CPAC to see Sarah Palin.

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