It is my delight to welcome Annette White to my World Travellers series. Annette runs a really cool and inspiring site called Bucket List Journey, which details all the things that Annette ticks off and adds on to her ever growing adventures. Annette is also one of the few travellers in this series who I know personally (Allan and Agness are two others). I travelled with Annette before – we had a great time together in Tanzania last year and I hope you all like and share her interview.
Who are you?
Hello! I’m Annette the one woman show behind the blog Bucket List Journey.
Where are you from?
I am from the small Northern California town of Petaluma. We are centrally located just about equal distances from Napa Valley, San Francisco, the Bodega Bay beaches and enough wine tasting to keep you busy (& tipsy) for months.
Where have you been?
Just last year I was on five continents and in thirteen different countries: China, Thailand, Argentina, Chile, Palau, United States, Canada, Japan, Tanzania, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland. There are a dozen other countries before last year and I just returned from Ecuador a couple weeks ago.
Where are you now?
Relaxing at home in California for a few weeks in between trips. I just returned from the Galápagos Islands where seeing the Blue-footed Boobies Mating Dance was on the agenda and I will be heading back out of the country next week.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
Of course one of the most memorable was Tanzania, Africa with you Jonny! Besides being on a surreal safari, spending time at an orphanage in Arusha was enlightening and very special.
The Galápagos Islands was another trip that sticks out in my mind as it reminded me a lot of being on safari in Africa, you are inundated with unique animals in their natural environment. We even swam warm weathered penguins!
Tokyo, Japan was another location that I walked away from in awe. It was one of the quirkiest cities I had ever been to and so rich in culture. We did everything from Watching Sumo Wrestlers Practice to Attending a Japanese Baseball Game to Playing with Felines at a Cat Café.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
Swimming in Jellyfish Lake in Palau was one of my best travel experiences. You are surrounded by thousands of jellyfish and it takes a little while before you feel confident that you will not get stung.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
So far, I have to admit that I have been a pretty fortunate traveler. But, while I was solo traveling in Zurich, Switzerland I woke up one morning with a rash all over my entire body. I took pictures, just in case something bad happened to me! Then, I covered myself up from head to toe and went on exploring the city.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
While exploring the Galapagos Islands, our group was intensely watching Iguanas meander through the bushes. We were all quiet, not wanting to disturb them as we ogled. And then a lava lizard climbed up my bare leg. I started screaming and doing that funny dance that people do when they think a spider is on their back.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
Besides every time I fly (I am not a fan), Glamping in Serengeti. I was in a large tent all alone and just before zipping it up I could see the beady eyes in the wilderness staring at me. It was also an adjustment getting used to the evening noise; the wind blowing the walls of the tent, random animal calls and light footsteps outside the zippered door. But, at least I didn’t have a mouse in my tent like you Jonny!
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
Feeding and bathing elephants while volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand was the most random (& AMAZING) volunteer work.
How do you fund your travels?
My husband and I own a successful Italian Restaurant, Sugo Trattoria, in my home town of Petaluma, California. We have spent the last five years setting up systems for it to run smoothly without us while we travel the world. With that said, when I am at home you can find me there just about every day creating recipes, managing staff and tasting lots of wine!
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
1. Don’t worry about looking stupid or being embarrassed, just try new things and ask lots of questions. I used to be too worried to talk to people while traveling or ask for help until I realized that I’m probably never going to see those people again anyway.
2. Take a five minute breather and allow yourself extra time. I always allow myself extra time to find my way around a city or an airport. When I feel myself get anxious while being lost in a busy airport or on a foreign street I take five minutes to regroup myself. I will take a seat somewhere out of the way, pull out my map and make a plan.
3. Wear comfortable shoes, you will rarely have a need for those high heels!
What are your future travel plans?
Next week I will be heading to Italy to do a Tuscan Villa tour, then it’s straight to Vienna, Austria for wiener schnitzel. After I will be exploring Istanbul and hopefully having a Turkish bath in a Hammam. In the early Summer I will be in Greece and who knows where else. That’s one of the best parts about traveling, never knowing where you’ll be next.
Annette White is a passionate restaurateur, dedicated writer and new experience collector who is traveling the world in search of bucket list worthy experiences. Most days she can be found either writing in the corner of the local coffee shop, creating new recipes at her Michelin recommended restaurant or traveling to adventurous locations looking to create a new memory that can be shared on her award winning blog, Bucket List Journey.
Thanks to Annette for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!