Inspiration corner: interview with Geena from “BartenderAbroad”

Geena Truman is a bartender and passionate free-spirited traveler. She runs the blog BartenderAbroad where her partner Evan and herself chronicle their off-the-beaten-path adventures around the globe. They pride themselves on having immersive inexpensive travel experiences where they can really get to know the culture and the locals. Her biggest pet peeve is tourist traps and they have gotten very good at avoiding them.

Follow their adventures also on Instagram or get inspired from Pinterest.

What inspired you to start traveling?

This is a question I get asked often and there really was no single event that inspired me to become a traveler.

When it really comes down to it I think I planned a trip abroad just to do exactly the opposite as was expected of me.

I have always been someone that pushed boundaries and was somewhat of a rebel. And upon graduating college instead of applying for “adult” jobs and settling into a normal life, I chose to instead book a month-long backpacking trip to Thailand.

From there the rest is history and I was completely hooked.

What do you pack first?

I pack all at once and never more than a few hours before my flight. The first thing in the bag is always my clothes in these neat travel sleeves from Tripped Travel gear. I’m a minimalist packer so it’s carry-on only and not a lot else comes with me.

Where do you go for the best view?

Before Los Angeles, I lived in Seattle and some of my favorite “hometown” views are in that area. The view of downtown from gasworks park at night and the Seattle skyline while driving the 99 are some of my favorites.

What’s your fave foodie destination?

When it comes to food Asia has no competition. Pretty much all my favorite dishes come out of Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
For a specific foodie destination, I would recommend Chaing Mai in northern Thailand. The spiced pork sausages, quail eggs, green papaya salad, and Khao Soi are unmissable.

Name a place that most lived up to the hype.

The Gili Islands were a picture-perfect paradise. Sitting just off the coast of Bali we expected them to be swarming with people and nothing like people described to us. But everyone was so right.

Pristine white-sand beaches, swimmable waveless waters, stunning sunsets, some of the worlds best snorkeling, and all for dirt cheap.

Name a place that least lived up to the hype.

I’ve got nothing. Maybe I’m a hopeless optimist in love with the world, but I have been blessed with amazing travel experiences every single country I’ve been to. So I don’t have one that least lived up to its hype.

BUT, everyone I met hated Bogota and highly discouraged my plan to stay for several days while in Colombia. And THEY were so wrong. I fell in love with the city and it’s mountain vibes. Exploring the graffiti-covered buildings in downtown and relishing in their blossoming food scene could keep me occupied for a year at least.

If I had a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 

India. This is a country that has so far evaded me and I know I could spend some serious time there. It has always intrigued me and always been on my “travel to soon” list. The food, the culture, the history, the spirituality, the yoga, the hiking, the crowded gritty cities. I want it all.

Tell us about a great little place you know?

In Ubud (Bali), just outside the sacred monkey forest, you’ll find a little hippy bar/restaurant/hostel called Bohemia. This was our home base in the area. We drank here every night with locals and expats and pretty much ate our every meal here. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was even better.
Plus it’s fun to guard your dinner against the hordes of hungry monkeys watching from the rooftops around you.

Where in the world have you felt happiest?

This one has to go to Bali. My first trip with my partner Evan. We had been dating only a few weeks and set off to explore Indonesia for 5 weeks. Bali was basically one giant honeymoon for us. We’re both beach bums and we were madly in love. Still are.

But thinking about that trip, there is absolutely no question that it was some of the happiest times of my life.

Any horror/funny stories while traveling?

I’ve been scammed, bitten by monkeys, injured in motorbike accidents, been lost in sketchy neighborhoods, suffered bouts of food poisoning (many), stung by jellyfish, and caught driving in an Icelandic blizzard with hurricane force winds.

But my biggest travel horror story was getting conned into visiting an Elephant park my first trip to Thailand. I love animals and this concrete Elephant jail broke my heart. From then on I was very careful about the kinds of animal organizations I visited.

What places have you planned for 2019?

2019 is a big year for Evan and I. Pretty much no one in our personal lives knows this yet but…we are heading out on a one-way ticket this September!

We will be beginning back in Indonesia and will work our way up through Borneo (to see the orangutans in the wild), Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, and onto mainland Asia.

Then over the course of 6 months to a year, we hope to see Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India.

Depending on our stamina for long term travel we plan to continue into Europe for the Spring/Summer and explore as long as we are financially able.

So definitely our biggest year in travel yet!

Ingrid is the author of IngridZenMoments, blending in travel, reading and loving in the life of a full time mutinational worker and encouraging people to live and love life to the fullest.
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