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Blogger Julie Gerstein
Where do you live now: Brooklyn, New York
Scariest airline flown: I'm of the opinion that flying is part of the travel experience -- not just a means to an end. I find flying to be exciting and glamorous and do my best to elevate the experience however I can.
I'm lucky to never have had a truly bad flying experience. That said, my scariest flying experience was the flight I took to sky dive in New Zealand (with fellow Gadling blogger Mike Barish). Nothing is more frightening than taking off in a plane you KNOW you won't be landing in.
How did you get started traveling?
I worked all through college and never had the time or money to travel. When I graduated, a boyfriend and I had lofty plans to head to Cuba via Mexico. But when we got to Mexico we fell in love with the place and couldn't leave.
This was during the historic 2000 Mexican election, and my travel partner and I decided to become international observers during the election. We were stationed in a small Zapatista village for two weeks in the remote mountains of Chiapas. So I went from no travel experience to roughing it pretty hardcore in a short amount of time.
Favorite city/country/place: Mexico City is magical to me. I love its wild energy and gritty charm -- and tacos. But it's really hard to pick just one place. I love the bike culture of Amsterdam, the quiet beauty of Croatia and the maniacal "Blade Runner"-ness of Tokyo.
Most remote corner of the globe visited: I went to Salta region of Argentina, which is the Andean Northwest of the country -- and traveled through the Quebrada de Cafayate. It's so remote that most people don't have cars -- and even the POLICE hitchhike to get in between towns.
Favorite guidebook series: For sheer aspirational living, I love the "Wallpaper" city guides. But for real down and dirty details, I tend to stick with "Lonely Planet."
Favorite foreign dish or restaurant? I love eating. I'm a strict vegetarian -- so eating while traveling can be challenging and sometimes boring, depending where you are (pro tip: Buenos Aires is a terrible place to be veg!)
A surprisingly fun place to eat -- Ljubljana, Slovenia. It continues to emerge as a travel destination -- and that means more and more varieties of ethnic food can be found there. I ate some really good Mexican in Ljubljana.
Favorite travel book
By far, my favorite travel book is Paul Theroux's "Dark Star Safari." It chronicles his overland journeys from Cairo to Capetown over a six month or so period. Theroux heads into deeply uncharted -- and in some cases -- unsafe territory in order to experience the wealth of culture and beauty Africa has to offer.
Traveler's resume -- where have you been? So far, I've been to around twenty countries on four continents. But I'm itching to travel even more. In the 70s, my dad traveled the Hippie Highway across Turkey and down to India through Iraq and Afghanistan. He's gone places most of us couldn't even think of traversing now, and I'd love to someday, somehow follow in his footsteps. Up first though: expanding my traveling repertoire to Africa -- the cave churches of Addis Ababa sound like a must-see and I'm dying to check out Botswana.
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