I’m incredibly excited to unveil an exciting interview with Geraldine of The Everywhereist! I met Geraldine at a startup event in Seattle this past January. We struck up a conversation that started on the topic of I Can Has Cheezburger, made a sharp detour to cupcake recipes, talked at great length about Taylor Swift, and then ended with a sort of giddy, “We should totally be friends if we find ourselves in the same city for an extended period of time!” I mean, really—how can you resist this face?
Well, we are currently in the same city, and I have had the privilege of meeting up with Geraldine and picking her brain for travel-related gift ideas. Let me back up. The Everywhereist is her absolutely amazing blog that chronicles all of the cool places that she and her husband travel to for his job, and she first began writing it as a way to commemorate all of their adventures. As she describes in the “About” section:
“This blog is mostly for him. So he can remember the places we’ve visited, the things we saw. So he can know a little bit about what I see when he’s off giving presentations and having meetings.
Yes, it’s a travel blog. But at its core, it’s a love letter to my husband.
A big, long, cuss-filled love letter. The kind he’d appreciate. The only kind I’m able to write.”
Geraldine was sweet enough to take some time out of her busy schedule—I mean, you certainly don’t get selected as one of Time magazine’s top 25 blogs of 2011 by sitting around and doing nothing—to give her two cents on everything travel, gifty, and in-between!
You spend a lot of time traveling. What is the one thing that you would completely freak out over forgetting to bring on a trip with you?
I'm quite good about remembering things, and I have a great technique for packing: I simply start at my head, and work my way down, in a sort of mental checklist (head = shampoo, glasses, make-up, floss, toothpaste; trunk = bra, shirts, and sweaters). It works shockingly well. Plus, most of my toiletries are pre-packed in TSA-approved bottles, so I give myself very little opportunity to forget stuff. That doesn't mean I don't, though. Once I forgot a shower cap and had to wrap a plastic bag around my head to keep my hair dry (It was not my finest hour). Another time, I forgot my accessories. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'm a costume jewelry nut, so I spent a week feeling utterly naked.
Are you a souvenir person? If so, what types of items do you
normally bring home from your trips?
I've never been all that into traditional souvenirs - like t-shirts with city names scribbled across the front or plastic snow globes. Since I generally take a small suitcase with me, I'm quite particular about what I buy. I remind myself that I have to love it, and it has to be something totally unique and different from stuff I can find at home. This means I often stop at crafty little shops and farmer's markets, looking for handmade creations from locals. I tend to come home with a lot of inexpensive accessories, as well as the occasional small painting or drawing. They don't take up a lot of room, they're great conversation pieces, and they remind me of the place of visited far more than a postcard ever could.
What types of gifts do you bring back for friends and family?
Oh, dear. Was I supposed to bring them back presents all this time? I kid! I kid! I tend to buy things for people only when I see something that truly reminds me of them. It doesn't have to line up with a special occasion - as long as it screams their name, I'll get it. I once found a necklace for my friend Skye while shopping in London. Skye's really into both rabbits and skulls (what? That's not weird, right?) and I found a necklace of, wait for it, LITTLE METAL SKELETAL RABBITS. I bought it instantly. I tried holding onto it for her birthday, but I couldn't wait that long and ended up giving it to her, even though there was absolutely nothing to commemorate. That's how I feel about gift-giving in general: if you find the perfect gift, you don't need an occasion.
What do you think is the most useless travel-related item that a person could receive?
A passport protector. I really don't understand the point at all. It simply makes your passport bulkier and harder to stamp. And I truly don't think it hides your nationality, because I've never seen anyone but my fellow Americans use them.
Is there anything travel-related that you are just dying to receive as a gift or purchase for yourself?
It's totally silly, but I really want a durable, reusable 1-quart plastic bag. Something that's non-disposable which could replace all the Ziploc bags I go through (because, man, those little suckers get trashed going through security. They were not meant for such abuse). It's just so, so ... superfluous, I haven't been able to justify buying one.
[Editor’s note: check out this one from Amazon]
What has been your favorite travel destination so far?
Ashland, Oregon. It's a tiny little town on the Oregon/California border, and has a quirky, fun vibe to it. My husband and I were married down there, and we go back every year. They've got a great theater scene, wonderful restaurants, and some fantastic little antique shops and bookstores.
For all the lovers out there, what was the romantic place you've been to?
At the risk of grossing out all your readers, I have to say: any place I go with my husband is pretty damn romantic. I know, I know - totally barf-inducing, right? But if I had to pick one place, it would probably be Rome. Tons of art, history, and gelato: what more could a girl ask for?
What is your best travel tip?
Never leave ANYTHING in the trunk of your car. It's my mantra. If you have a suitcase back there, get to wherever you are going as soon as you can. Having your luggage stolen is a truly miserable experience. And if you can, avoid checking a bag! Keep it with you at all times. It will save you time, worry, and a lot of heartache.
If someone were to purchase a gift item for a jet-setter friend
(like yourself), is there a go-to item you'd recommend?
I am absolutely in love with Lulu Organics Hair Powder. It smells great, lasts forever, and it's great for when I'm on the road and don't feel like subjecting my hair to hotel shampoos (and no, I'm not paid to endorse them, nor do I receive their product for free. I shell out the cash for their hair powder and it is totally worth every penny).
Thank you very much, Geraldine! I encourage all of you to check out The Everywhereist and read her wonderfully hilarious and candid accounts of her adventures. Happy travel-reading!