Travel Pro Interview Series: Julie Fechter

Our third post in our new series of interviews with pro travelers.

By Ankita Seth

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Q: When you travel, what is your best hack for getting from one place to another?

Julie: In Bali, my friend's brother had a driver, he'd met on his trip. He gave us his number, and the driver gave us reasonable prices for any day trips and phone numbers of friends to shuttle us around. It's all about the relationships you build with people. But usually I just use public transportation. I love public transportation. That's how a lot of the locals live. It gives you an authentic view of their daily lives.

Q: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you while flying or taking a train?

Julie: I took a night train in Ukraine in 2008. Nobody spoke English in Ukraine back then. I was with my Ukrainian friend, however, which made it much easier. We were in beds attached to the walls with beds on top of us with about 18 inches between them. It was insane. I tend to avoid crazy things while flying since I'm still slightly afraid to fly. It makes my stomach clench, so I make sure everything is perfect.

Q: What is your favorite place in the world to travel and why?

Julie: Scotland and New Zealand. Both perfect countries with lovely accents and fascinating history. My BA is in English linguistics, so I love to listen to people.

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Q: When did you start traveling, and what made you want to travel?

Julie: I started traveling when I was 13. My Israeli grandmother took me to Europe and Israel for my first international trip. She had always traveled throughout my life and brought back dolls from each country. It inspired me. Now I travel to experience new things, meet new people, and get out of my comfort zone! I don't always at home in Seattle, and it's nice forcing myself to do things I wouldn't.

Q: What was your favorite meal that you’ve had while traveling?

Julie: Penang, Malaysia has allll my favorite meals. I'm currently here, and I'm literally planning my next meal while eating the current! The Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences make every meal a delight. I don't know if I can pick a favorite.

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Q: Where would you go if you could fly anywhere in the world right now? What would you do there?

Julie: I'm where I want to be, or else I wouldn't be here! To be honest, I'd probably fly home to Seattle to visit my niece and nephew. My nephew is turning 7 next month, and we have a close relationship. He usually spends a few weekends with me throughout the year. I'm missing that part of my 1-year- old niece's life, and I find it really hard. She started walking (doing arm movements like an Egyptian), and I'm not there to see it.

Q: Do you ever take days off from exploring while you’re traveling? If so, how did you spend those days?

Julie: YES. Watching Netflix. I definitely have those days at home because my work is emotionally exhausting, so I need them out of the country! Recently, a guy I went out with showed me a website where I could watch Game of Thrones, so I spent two days binge watching the new season. No regrets.

Q: What are your top two aha moments brought by travelling?

Julie: I used to have really bad social anxiety, and my first solo trip in 2008 started to help me get over it. Definitely confrontation therapy for me!

Q: If you could become a local in one of the places you’ve travelled, which place would it be? And why?

Julie: New Zealand, hands down. Everyone was so friendly, and I really just want to pretend I'm a hobbit living in Hobbiton.

Q: How has traveling long term changed your view of home?

Julie: It's definitely made me appreciate living in the US and in a fairly large city. I can walk to any kind of cuisine back home. I have running water and working electricity. It's also made me resent the people in the US who call for less foreign aid. Our aid helps little countries have safe drinking water. I would way rather our taxes go to helping people drink and not bombing foreign countries. (Oops, politics got involved).

Q: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you while traveling?

Julie: One time, I fell in a hole in front of a bus full of middle-school children. It made me feel like I was going through my awkward teenage years all over again!

Be sure to follow along with Julie on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or on her Blog.

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