On her first trip abroad to Rome, a friend didn’t think “Megan” sounded Italian enough, so renamed her Megano. Since then the name has stuck, and Megan now runs “Meganotravels” – a site dedicated to tales of a career breaker gallivanting around the globe.
What do you love the most about travelling?
Seeing how other people around the world live—their culture, religion, food, language, homes, etc. It’s fascinating to me that we’re all created the same, but we can live such drastically different lives.
What inspired you to start travelling?
I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity about the world and learning everything I possibly could about other regions of my own country, and about other countries around the world. That desire to learn and understand more about the world sparked a passion for travel! I got my first taste of how fun travel could be when I was a kid and I haven’t looked back.
What is ‘Meganotravels’ all about?
Meganotravels originally existed to show people that it’s possible to work full-time and still have time for travel. You can maximize your vacation days and holidays in order to take long trips abroad, or to take weekend trips around your own country.
Now that I have taken a career break and travel full-time, it has transitioned into a career break/digital nomad blog.
One thing which you don’t like about travelling?
Living out of a suitcase/backpack. I’m ridiculously organized and incredibly anal-retentive (it’s as annoying for me as it is for others, believe me). I like when things have their places, and I feel anxious when things aren’t neat and settled.
So, if I’m traveling to several destinations on one trip, I hate not having the time to unpack and find spots for everything, and instead having to pull things out of a bag whenever I need them.
Best trip you have ever taken?
Wow. This is a very difficult question. I’m going to totally cop-out and name a few, for different reasons:
Rome was my first solo trip and also my first trip abroad. Not only did I spend a gorgeous summer in one of the best cities on Earth, but I also learned so much about myself and the world.
Iceland just because I think it is hands-down the most beautiful place in the world. It was the first (and only) place where I was ever reduced to tears due to the sheer natural beauty in front of me.
And lastly, Toronto in May for TBEX and BlogHouse. It helped me regain some semblance of independence after the end of a four-year relationship, and helped me realize that pursuing my dreams of full-time travel isn’t as foolish as I’d been inwardly convincing myself it was!
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?
I’ve always had a sort of fascination with Muslim countries even though I’d never experienced anything relating to Islam. When I was in Durban, South Africa, I heard the Islamic call to prayer five times a day for the very first time. It was very surreal and awesome at the same time to hear something in person that I’d only read and heard accounts about.
Strangest food you have tried while travelling?
I think it’d have to be whale in Iceland. I’m not a crazy adventurous eater, but I try to taste food that are native to the country in which I’m visiting, so long as it’s within reason. I also highlight a new food every Friday on my blog!
The greatest challenge you’ve faced while travelling?
Getting on the plane to come home?
Beyond that, being an ambassador for the US/overcoming the American stereotype is sometimes challenging. When I went to Rome, George W. Bush was in office and he was pretty hated in most countries at that time.
I was invited to dinner one evening by a group of Italian guys who were friends of a friend, and I was the only American. When the Italian guy sitting across from me found out I was American, he had a few choice words to say to me before deciding I wasn’t worth his time (I hadn’t even said more than “I’m from the US” at that point).
Later, he overheard me discussing my dislike for George W. Bush and my love for the Simpsons and he finally decided that I cool enough to talk to!
Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
I was travelling with a male friend and we booked a hotel in Amsterdam that looked pretty cool from the website. Famous last words!
When we walked into the room, we realized that the shower was right in the middle of the room in a glass tube-like structure. There wasn’t a wall around it or anything—but instead a sheer curtain that could be pulled to partition the room. Needless to say, showering was kind of an awkward situation, asking the other to either go downstairs or to turn their head the other direction for the duration of the shower!
Three things you can’t travel without?
My camera, some kind of note-taking item (Moleskine, iPhone, laptop, etc.), and a scarf.
Most practical travel advice?
Work out all the logistics before you go, but also be aware that your plans may go totally out the window. It’s good to be flexible and to go with the flow, as sometimes those deviations from the plans end up providing the best memories and stories!
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
This changes for me based on my mood, but today: New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Why should people travel?
Not only is there an entire world out there to discover, but you learn so much about yourself through travel. It’s an incredibly enlightening experience all around, and something I think everyone should take advantage of.