Vicky Sosa has literally has a passport since before she could walk, and had always dreamed of traveling the world. As a child she would flip through encyclopedias (yes, those things people used before that Google machine came along) and see photographs of destinations like Egypt, vowing that one day she would be there to see it for herself.
Now a world traveler, Vicky has fulfills her childhood dream of experiencing the world firsthand everyday. Though she doesn’t travel alone. Accompanying her on every journey is a unique companion, the world’s first traveling monkey!
Buddy the Traveling Monkey is a stuffed companion who pops up with Vicky around the globe, inspiring others, especially children, to develop a passion for the world just as Vicky did all those years ago.
What do you love the most about travelling?
Wow, where do I begin? I love the excitement of seeing something new or going somewhere that you’d always seen pictures of. I love learning about different cultures and seeing how differently people act in different societies.
People always say they learn better by doing versus reading or hearing. I think this especially applies to travel. You can read all about something in a book or online, but it’s a totally different thing to experience it yourself.
What inspired you to start travelling?
I’ve been dreaming of seeing the world since I was little. I would go through our encyclopaedias and see pictures of places like Egypt and tell myself that one day I would travel the world.
It also helped that I had family in Guatemala that I visited often, so the idea of having a passport and getting on a plane wasn’t a huge stretch for me. It’s crazy to me that most Americans don’t have a passport.
Who is “Buddy the Traveling Monkey”?
Buddy is a stuffed monkey who has been with me for a couple of years now. I went to a Miami Dolphins football game and on my way out I stopped by the souvenir shop and saw him.
It was one of those moments where he was just too cute and something told me I couldn’t leave without him. He’s been my buddy ever since and has seen me through both good times and bad.
Tell us about some of Buddy’s monkey business around the world to date.
Buddy’s first big trip was to Bali, and he had a lot of fun soaking in the sun on Kuta Beach. Though he has traveled extensively throughout the US too.
Most recently, he spent some time in Europe, and took some new buddies with him to inspire children to grow up wanting to discover and learn about the world in which we live, and inspire our youngest generation with a desire to travel the world.
Why is Buddy the ultimate travel companion?
The most obvious answer is he loves to cuddle. He also doesn’t complain that his feet hurt when we’re out exploring for hours on end, and he doesn’t eat much!!
You have a segment on your blog called “Monkey Mondays” – share with us some interesting facts about monkeys around the world.
In Central and South America, during mosquito season, capuchin monkeys crush up millipedes and rub the remains over their bodies. This acts as a natural bug repellent.
In Southeast Asia, there are siamangs that drink water by dipping their fury hand into water or rubbing a hand on wet leaves and then slurping up the water from their fur.
Which has been your favourite monkey encounter around the world to date?
Definitely our encounter with long-tailed macaques in Monkey Forest, Bali. I can look back and laugh at it now, but at the time I was pretty scared! I had stopped to take a picture of a monkey and next thing I knew, he had climbed up my leg and onto my shoulder and was trying to take my bag!!
His nails were digging into me though as I yelled for help, everyone around just stared not knowing what to do. I was finally able to shake him off to the point where he ran away.
I was pretty shaken up, but at least now I have a cool story to tell!
How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!
Hell no! I can afford to travel because I have priorities. I would rather spend a few hundred dollars on a plane ticket than on a fancy watch or designer jeans.
One thing which you don’t like about travelling?
The only thing I don’t like about traveling is that feeling you get when you’ve come home. It’s a sadness only those bitten by the travel bug know.
The only thing that makes it better is researching and figuring out where your next adventure will be.
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?
I hate to say it, but while I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina I had a few experiences where people were very rude.
I had always heard people say that Argentinians were snobby and thought very highly of themselves, and unfortunately my experience was the same. Of course though you don’t let something like that stop you from having a good time.
Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
I mentioned I was attacked by a monkey right??!
Three things you can’t travel without (besides Buddy)?
- My camera. I’m not the best photographer in the world, and I’m always trying to get better, but I will stop and take a picture of just about everything I can.
- My itinerary. I like to have a list of the major things I’d like to do or see, so I usually make myself an itinerary with addresses, closing times, etc.
- Gum. I like to have minty fresh breath.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
Everywhere! But seriously, Iceland has always been at the top of my bucket list. The Pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal, and Greece are pretty high up there too.
Most practical piece of advice for those planning travel?
Do your research. Don’t just look at one website for flights or one blog for advice. Really look around and get as much information as you can about where you want to go.
Why should people travel?
Because it helps you to grow and show empathy towards others. I believe that people who travel have a more open mind and are less judgemental because they see that things are done differently all over the world.
Instead of saying something is “weird” you end up saying “huh, that’s different.”
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