It’s that time again to meet someone from EF and learn a little about their travel experiences. This month it is Sandy Kusano from Boston.
Tell us about yourself – I started at EF as a Tour Consultant for Educational Tours in 2005. After a couple of years as a TC, I had the opportunity to have a pioneering role in the newly created outside sales team for Educational Tours. I traveled the country visiting with group leaders, travelers and their parents. About 3 years ago, I joined College Break which caters to 18-26 years who want to explore the world. I don’t even think I have an official title which is fine by me but I am responsible for product development and tour operations and bringing in snacks for the team. My day to day is about getting the job done, whatever that day’s challenge might be and doing whatever it takes to get it done right. No two days are the same and that’s why I love what I do!
First holiday memory? It was the summer I turned 16 and my mother shipped me off to study in England. It was the first time I traveled on my own. It was scary, exciting and ultimately life-changing. My first airplane trip in life was when I was 6 months old and I had traveled plenty after that but it was always with family. This one experience on my own was so different. It was clearly when I caught the “travel bug” and more importantly it was when I gained confidence as a young woman.
Best holiday? Whatever one I am on. It’s near impossible for me to pick a favorite but if I have to, then I will pick last summer when I ventured to Spain and Portugal. I had not been to either country and it was fun to experience new sights, smells and lifestyles. I spent a day at a chiringuito near Malaga and it was the most relaxing, beautiful day ever. For lunch, we had fish that was caught that morning right out of the ocean and it was grilled on an open fire pit and we sipped tinto de verano all day long. AHHH-mazing!
Favorite place in the US? Boston. It’s has unique neighborhoods throughout that tie the city all together. There is an obvious aura of history that you cannot find in most US cities – I can see the Bunker Hill monument from our office window! The charm that lured me to Boston still keeps me here.
What have you learnt from your travels? A genuine smile translates well in every language.
Who would be your ideal travelling companion? Anyone who doesn’t care that we will get lost and we don’t stay completely on schedule – carrying my luggage would be an added bonus!
Greatest travel luxury? iPad. It’s my book, my camera, my tv, my radio, my notebook, my map…I’ve said too much.
Which EF tour would you choose to take? Any of them. I have been a bit spoiled by EF tours. The luxury of having all the logistics taken care of and a tour director to fill my mind with interesting facts is so nice. I just recently went on a trip on my own and while it was fine it was just a bit annoying when the train went on strike and the hotel was overbooked and I had to scramble to figure things out on my own.
Better to travel or arrive? I have always really liked airports and various modes of transportation. In most recent years, I have turned to traveling opportunities as my moments of escape from the real world. I can fall asleep on any plane, train, bus, etc. and I love the peace of mind knowing that I am “off the grid” and not needing to answer phone calls and emails.
Most amusing travel experience? Getting locked in a Paris bar with two friends and then making new friends with the bar owner and staff. We still talk about that night to this day. I have a nickname associated with that night that my friends still use but not really going to share that here.
Favorite Museum or Site? Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest – It has the most spectacular view of this gorgeous city.
Best meal abroad? I did a home stay in Greece when I was in high school. I stayed with a lovely family that included the grandparents in the household. Every meal was the best meal! The grandmother and mother put together simply delicious, fresh plates every night. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
Dream trip? My current dream trip is a Southeast Asia adventure that would include Thailand for sure.
What do you never travel without?
1. Sleep mask – clearly explains how I can fall asleep anywhere
2. Green tea packets – a soothing drink but also great for puffy eyes
3. Vaseline – It’s a great lip conditioner, perfect for dry skin (flights dehydrate you) and if your suitcase zipper gets stuck – BOOM – just rub a little on
Where are you going next? London, Paris and Rome…it never gets old
Flickr photo via munksynz
(Editor’s note: Add Paul on Google+, Paul Mattesini’s posts appear Tuesdays on Following the Equator. If you have a travel question for our resident expert tour director, or an idea for a blog post topic, you can email Paul here, and he will answer readers’ questions in future posts.)