Carol Guttery is the chief wordsmith and photographer of the Wayfaring Views travel website. Wayfaring Views helps readers go beyond the obvious with alternative itineraries and offbeat adventures.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Carol: I've been traveling for forty years. I was just fifteen when I left the family road trip in the rear view and took a student trip to New York City. Over time, I slowly and steadily built a travel portfolio that included seeing the running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain, hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and snorkeling in Iceland. The more places I went, the stronger the itch to go. I credit my Mom for giving me the travel gene. She was an avid traveler too. She went to China not long after it opened for tourism in the late '80's, she had a "masters" in cruising and she had some crazy stories about the various red light districts that she visited on her travels. Like mother. Like daughter.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Carol: I like offbeat travel, which is not the same as off the beaten path (although I like that too). I might go to a popular place like Paris and visit the Sewer Museum (which is very cool by-the-way and doesn't smell as bad as you might think). I am absolutely crackers for street art and have a whole section of my bucket list devoted to visiting cities that have great urban art. I'm also into hiking and heritage. This means taking hikes in places that also have an interesting cultural history, such as Hadrian's Wall in England.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Carol: In 2014, I chucked my 9-5 job and went looking for a reset. I spent 24 days hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in northern Spain. The hike and the head-space that it afforded me was transformative. I came back and reorganized my life to make more room for travel. I now inspire others to travel with my Wayfaring Views blog and I'm also an independent philanthropy consultant.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Carol: I've been wanting to visit Australia for years.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Carol: A small roll of duct tape. I just recently used it to repair a broken luggage wheel but have also used it to seal up food containers, repair small rips and kill scorpions.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Carol: Use up all of your vacation time... and then some.
What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Carol: I have a few local blogger friends IRL who have sites that manage to be both super useful and really fun to read: A Passion and a Passport and Practical Wanderlust. I also greatly admire Sherry Ott of Ottsworld. She is a great story teller and is always exploring the coolest corners of the world.
What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Carol: Lonely Planet has identified Sri Lanka as a destination to watch and I concur. For such a small country, they have an astonishing number of well preserved UNESCO temple sites that are still in use today! They also have a lot of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, jackals and huge variety of birds. You can do a safari there for far less than going to Kenya. My itinerary in Sri Lanka included a mix of both culture and wildlife and it was a very rich experience. If you want to learn more, you can check out this list of blog posts on Sri Lanka. It includes not only my own content but also that of other bloggers and reading the articles will make you want to go there.
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
Carol: For sheer serendipity, I like using Instagram. If you follow some of the travel accounts with great photography, you'll definitely find someplace new for your bucket list. Once I decide that I want to go somewhere, I use Pinterest or the Women who Travel Facebook group to help me craft my itinerary and identify the things that I want to do there. When it comes to booking, I use Google Flights to help me find a good deal.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Carol: If you are on a very long flight with a layover, consider spending it in the premium lounge. Some airports allow plebeian coach passengers to buy their way into the lounge and it doesn't cost as much as you might think. After two overnight flights to Johannesburg, I spent $20 to get into the lounge where I was able to have a shower, a nap and a meal. It allowed me to hit the ground running when I got to my final destination in Botswana. Best deal ever.
What are the best places to travel solo and why?
Carol: I went to Iceland solo and loved it. Iceland is known for their gender equality and while there I never once got groped, marginalized or man-splained. They have a ridiculously low crime rate and only have 128 people in jail (that is NOT a typo). I was able to get onto a tour without paying the single supplement and the independent part of my trip was made easy because most people there also speak English.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Carol: They pack too much crap. You can do any trip with one of the larger carry-on bags as long as you leave room in your itinerary to do laundry. I wear tragically practical travel clothes and have standardized on neutral colors so that I can mix and match. Keeping it light means that you are less likely to leave something behind and you won't throw out your back.
Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous? Please explain why.
Carol: The Peninsula Valdes in Argentina should be a bucket list spot for anyone who loves wildlife. It's located in the northeastern part of Patagonia. Most people skip it to go to Iguazu falls, the Perito Moreno glacier or Ushuaia. They are great too, however the Peninsula Valdes has a huge colony of Magellanic penguins, migratory southern right whales, elephant seals, sea lions and several species of dolphins. Have you ever seen that video where the Orca whales lunge up onto shore and snatch sea lions from the beach? Yea, it happens on the Peninsula Valdes! Everyone needs to go there. I actually wrote an article about it that you can read here!