Andi is another travel blogger I met through the travel community. I first noticed Andi through all the comments she would leave on everyone’s blogs. She was always so friendly and supportive. I popped over to visit her website and discovered that we not only had a tremendous amount in common, but she was so bubbly and positive. We’ve since become friends and I am excited to interview her for our blog.
Tell us a little about yourself and your traveling life so far.
My name is Andi and I am without a doubt a travel addict! I have always been insatiably curious about life, however about 7 years ago I discovered my passion for travel on a trip to China for my studies (I am a Chinese Medicine Doctor). Since that trip, I have been having the most extraordinary love affair with exploration.
I finally hit the 40 country mark this year. I have been to every continent, minus Antarctica. Most of my travels have been to Central and South America, because of proximity to my home and due to my love of all things Latin. I tend to repeat countries that wow me, such as Argentina (I have been there 7 times), Australia (3 times), and China (3 times).
You say that you believe you can drink champagne at any time of the day. Where and when has been your best champagne drink?
This has to be one of the best questions I have ever been asked! If you had asked me this question 3 months and 1 day ago, I would have said the best champagne drink I have ever had was in the middle of the Australian Outback after an incredible sunrise hot air balloon ride. Now, I would say the best was at a beach side restaurant in Buzios, Brazil 3 month ago. It was the most perfect night: there was a full moon out and the sound of the ocean waves and a nearby bossa nova band were wafting through the air, not to mention the food was superb. But, what makes it the best, is that afterward my boyfriend proposed to me!
Tell me your thoughts on change. You believe it is necessary for the growth of your soul. Why and how do you think travel helps with this?
I heard the quote once, “If you do not change, you become extinct.” And it is true! Changes in life are inevitable, especially when traveling. I named my site “My Beautiful Adventures,” because while most adventures have trying moments that are filled with change, in the end each of them are simply beautiful, since change enriches our lives and teaches us about our true selves. Change is an undertaking usually involving unknown risks and challenges that lead to unforgettable experiences. My life is filled with one beautiful adventure after another since I embrace change.
What are the first couple of things you do when arriving in a new country to ensure you will settle into the new place, enjoy yourself, and learn?
I am a planner. Thus, before I have even left for my trip, be it a weekend getaway or a month long journey, I have researched and contacted locals for information regarding the place I am going to. I then create my own guide, which I bring with me. Having said that, I am open to change like previously mentioned, so if something else presents itself to me I am happy to not follow my guide.
My favorite way of settling into a new place is to meet a fellow Couchsurfer for coffee. Usually, they are kind enough to act as a guide, or at least share with me their favorite spots.
What made you decide to practice Chinese medicine? Where did you learn this and has your traveling at all helped you to develop your skills?
When I was 14 years old, I battled some serious health problems. After trying unsuccessfully everything that Western Medicine had to offer, my Mom convinced me to try Chinese Medicine, since she had been hearing positive things about it. I was very reluctant, however I tried it and after that first treatment I knew that this powerful medicine was not only going to help me, which it did, but also that it was my life’s calling. I wanted to give back to the world, what this medicine had given me. In College, I studied Asian Studies and learned to speak Chinese. After I graduated I went straight into Graduate School in New York City to become a Chinese Medicine Doctor. It is a 4 year, year-round program. I also briefly studied in China as well.
Absolutely traveling has made me a better Chinese Medicine Doctor. Through my travels I have learned about different cultures and more importantly how to relate to all kinds of different people. I bring that knowledge and those skills into my treatment room every day.
What has been your most memorable travel experience so far?
This is an impossible question for me to answer, as every trip I have taken has been the most memorable in its own way.
What would be your ultimate travel adventure and when do you plan on doing it?
Now this question I can answer! My ultimate travel adventure would be to Antarctica, the last of the 7 continents for me to step foot on. I had planned on trying to go in 2010, however after I got engaged I had to put the plan on hold due to the international wedding I am in the midst of planning. I would love to go before I turn 30, which leaves me 2 years. I cannot imagine a more extraordinary adventure than exploring the last untamed place on earth.
I also think elephants are the most beautiful creatures to grace this planet. Can you explain why you think this?
I have no idea when my obsession with elephants began? I find them to be absolutely marvelous and just like most Indians I think they bring good luck, thus I have surrounded myself with elephant charms, statues, and photos. Recently, I read an enlightening NY Times article about them that I highly recommend reading. What elephants are capable of is almost unbelievable.
Your positivity and joy for life really shines through on your blog. Where do you think this comes from? What impact does this have on your life?
I think my eternal optimism comes from my father, who has always taught me to focus on the positives in life. Do not get me wrong, I have experienced some difficult times in my life and I have moments where I am frustrated, stressed, and/or overwhelmed. But, if we did not experience bad times, how could ever fully appreciate the good times? I am head over heels in love with life and I intend to enjoy every single moment I have on this gorgeous earth.
Because life without travel, is truly a life wasted.
Tell us where people can learn more about you and where they can find you .
Last year, after much encouragement from friends and other fellow travelers, I began my website My Beautiful Adventures, which chronicles my travels around the world.