What I do when I’m not traveling: I’ve been playing roller derby for almost 5 years and currently skate with the Garden State Rollergirls in Newark, NJ. My roller derby name is “Tacocat”, the best palindrome in the history of wordplay! My website is OpenAirPursuit.com, and is a history based travel blog.
My next stop: I’m currently living in Italy and I want to see all of it. It’s such a beautiful country! I totally get why people fall in head over heels in love with it.
My wildest and craziest adventure was: Spending an unplanned month in Japan and Korea. I had just left my first job out of college and my best friend was teaching english in a beach town, so I decided to buy a one way ticket and go. We road tripped throughout the whole country and see all kinds of every life. Large cities, rural towns, beautiful landscapes…and even an interaction with a Japanese film crew. My favorite part was when my friend took me to her Japanese middle school for a rafting day her students were doing. We spent the day watching kids race on these styrofoam boats. It was great!
Weirdest thing I’ve eaten or drank: I’m Colombian and we eat parts of animals most people don’t agree with, so tongue, chicken feet, or intestines don’t freak me out. However trying Surströmming, fermented sea herring, in Sweden was just too much. Even the waiter was hesitant to bring me some. It wasn’t good. Yikes!
I’ll never forget the time: I drove a friend’s car across the USA as a favor and it gave me a new appreciation for America. I’ve spent so much time LEAVING the country that I forgot to consider all the awesome things to see on my own turf. I’m hoping to hit all 48 states in one trip someday.
I’ll also never forget bringing a dog back from the Dominican Republic. Her owners had abandoned her while on vacation, so a woman had been feeding her but was about to head out as well. I couldn’t leave the poor 7lb chihuahua, so I found a vet to check her out and clear her so that I could adopt her. She’s the sweetest thing and such a joy. I named her “Chinola”, Lola for short. It means “passion fruit”.
Most Memorable Meal: My first bowl of REAL ramen in Shinjoku, Japan. I’ve always stayed away from the instant kind, so I was real hesitant to order it. It’s now an obsession and I think I’ve tried every ramen place in Manhattan. I also tried guinea pig and llama in Peru.
One thing on my bucket list: I want to practice with a roller derby team abroad. Derby has allowed me to make friends with people all over the world, and when I travel I reach out to see if any skaters have games or want to hang out. I also hope to try out for a spot on Team Colombia’s roster in the next Roller Derby world cup, although I’ll go regardless since it means seeing international teams compete under one roof. It’s an amazing community.
Three things I always pack: Ha. A “Go Girl” device. You never know when you won’t find a clean bathroom. I haven’t had to use it yet! Also, lip balm because being caught without when you need it is the longest stretch of time, and sunscreen. Can’t go wrong with sunscreen.
My Travel Advice: Don’t hesitate too much. You may miss out on something that ends up being incredible. Pull that trigger!