1. Tell us about yourself and where we can find more about your travelling.
Hi, I’m Maggie. I used to have one of the coolest jobs ever driving a boat on the World Famous Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World, so that’s what brought me to Orlando. I’m still based in Orlando, but obviously traveling as much as possible. Life is short, I want to go everywhere and do everything! You can catch up with my most recent adventures here.
2. How many countries have you visited and where would like to settle down at some point (I know you fall in love in so many places, but choose one and tell us why)?
I’ve been to 22 countries so far, but I’m adding two more in a couple of weeks. I plan to hit them all someday. I actually love where I live. I don’t plan on staying here forever, but the concept of “settling down” really stresses me out. I like to just find what makes me happy in the moment. I will say that if I were to ever have a family I would like to leave the States our maternity and health care system is pretty dismal.
3. What do you miss most, aside from your family, from home?
My shower, and sometimes the Florida weather. I do love being warm!
4. What is the most common misconception that people have about you during your traveling?
That I am wealth because I travel so many places. It simply isn’t true (unfortunately) I’ve just made travel a priority and I save… and occasionally go into debt for it.
5. Is there any place which you wouldn’t visit again and why?
I’ve liked everywhere I have ever visited, and even if it’s not my favorite place, I’m always glad for the experience. I’ve never vowed to never go back anywhere. I will say, my least favorite place is probably my hometown of Franklin, TN. I visit because I have friends and family there, but I don’t really like the vibe of the town. The weather’s terrible and I find that many of the people are very suspicious and just kind of mean. I know that horrible to say about the place I grew up, but there it is.
6. Where did you meet the friendliest people and how did you feel about being around them?
There are a few places I’ve gone that I’ve just immediately felt at home because the people were so welcoming and nice. New Orleans was the first place I experience this and Scotland was the most recent. From the second I arrived at both places I just felt like “these are my people”
7. Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
When I was 17 I went on a school trip to Australia and lost my passport at the airport on the way back. They wouldn’t let me on the plane and I had to stay in Sydney for an extra day. It was actually kind of great because I got to explore all of the places that I wanted to, but didn’t have time for because we were on a group trip. I felt pretty bad though because the chaperone was my anatomy teacher and was a very young, I want to say 24ish, new teacher and she lost one of the kids on her first trip. My friends told me she spent the whole plane ride home pulling out her hair. I was able to go to the embassy and get a passport and a flight home the next day.
8. What has been the most under-rated country/place you have been to and why? Most overrated country/place?
I just got back from my first trip to Miami after hearing from all of my friends how terrible it was, and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back. I had a first impression of Iceland when I was there this past summer. The first few days if you had asked me, I would have said that I would never go back there, but it ended up growing on me. Me and Iceland are cool now, but it’s still not my favorite place I’ve ever been. I would go back though.
9. Tell us about a favourite dish from the world and one from your country that everybody should try.
Well, as far as foreign food goes, I cannot get enough Thai food, I don’t think I have a favorite dish though, I love everything! I guess Pad Kee Mao is probably my ultimate comfort food. From the USA, BBQ shrimp from New Orleans. My family is from Louisiana, so I grew up with food like this, but it’s really really hard to find good BBQ shrimp outside of New Orleans. I’ve tried! Everywhere else your likely to get a skewer of shrimp with barbecue sauce, and that’s not even close. This is shrimp in butter and barbecue seasoning with french bread for dipping. It’s terrible for you, but it’s just the best!
10. What is your favourite author and what did you like about his style?
I love Oscar Wilde! His dry wit and insightfulness. He was able to hit on some major flaws in society and human nature, but in a charming funny way. I never get tired of reading his work.
11. What song from your country everybody should know?
That’s kind of hard to answer as an American. I feel like we provide a lot of artists for the Swedish to put a dance beat behind and then the whole world knows them for 5 minutes. Billy Joel and Prince are probably my all time favorite American artists. So from those I would have to say my favorites are Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, and Little Red Corvette.
12. Give us one of your favorite phrases in your mother tong and explain what it means.
Again, I feel like a boring American. So since I don’t have any pretty flowery French turn of phrase, I’ll just stick with the Oscar Wilde quote that has become my mantra “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” I have to remember that when I have to figure out how to pay the bills and still travel.
13. Best foreign curse you know?
I have two, and I’ll preface this by saying that I do not in fact speak other languages, but here we go. The first is French – Va te faire foutre. It means “go fuck yourself” and I like this one because I had long since forgotten giggling about it in high school French class, until I was in France as an adult and got so frustrated (it was during the George W. Bush administration) that it just popped in my head. It felt right, but I even had to look up what it meant later to make sure.
The second is, and I’m probably spelling this way wrong since I’ve never seen it written, but Ba te die in Cantonese. I still don’t know exactly what it means, but when I worked for Disney, the team that was getting ready to open Disneyland Hong Kong was training with us. The used to make all of us Americans scream that and then laugh and laugh. I’m sure it’s super dirty.
14. Do you have a favourite name from the world and what does it mean?
I don’t know if I have a favorite name. I do have a name story, also from the Hong Kong Disney reps that trained with us, but there was one who’s name was “Hung” of course, they all had English versions of their names, so since in Cantonese Hung means bear, he went with Teddy and we all convinced him to introduce himself to guests and “Teddy… Hung, like bear”
15. You have a chance to ask one question to anyone in history and get an honest reply – what is your question and to whom?
This is a terrible answer since I’m given anyone in history, but I was really wrapped up in the Casey Anthony trial here in Orlando a few years ago. It made national headlines, but basically this girl (probably) killed her two year old and hid the body and lied about it to everyone, but there were so many weird things in the trial that didn’t quite make sense and no one could figure out exactly how or why everything went down. She ended up getting off because the jury was just so confused about what had happened, but I felt cheated and really need to know the details. Everyone has said when she inevitably comes out with a O.J. Simpsonesque book they won’t buy it because she’s a murderer, but I’m not that strong. I’ll buy it and read it. I really need to know.
16. What is your favourite website (apart from social media platforms)?
Maybe Helpx.net, it’s a website where hosts post for international travelers to come work at their farms, b&bs, etc. in exchange for a free place to stay. I can spend hours on there dreaming about all of the places I want to live and jobs I want to do.
17. One thing you don’t like about other travelers or traveling?
I hate airport étiquette, or lack there of. I will never never understand why everyone just crowds the gate waiting for their zone to be called. You are never going to have to make a running leap onto the plane. Have a seat and wait for zone 3 to be called. Then maybe zones 1 and 2 won’t have to push through you to get on, or do that awkward “oh, are you in line” bit. I don’t understand people’s need to be the first on and off the plane. I want to spend as little time on the plane as possible, but I also know that the second we land I don’t have to leap into the aisle. Everyone just needs to relax about air travel. You’ll get there.
18. What has been your most valuable lesson learned from travel?
I think it’s taught me a lot about adaptation. Something will inevitably go wrong and I feel like I now have to tools to handle it, to improvise, be resourceful, not panic, and better yet, see frustrations as potential adventures.