Lisa Siegle and friend Sara wonder, wander, and share their stories in the hopes of entertaining and inspiring other curious people. Be certain to checkout their blog Curiosity & Comfy Shoes.
Lisa was kind enough to answer our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Lisa: 35 years. I love how travel adds color and detail to my understanding of history and cultures.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Lisa: I go anywhere I can and do anything I have the opportunity to do. I've gone paragliding in Kyrgyzstan, kayaked the second largest alpine lake in the world, poked through museums in cities, gotten lost in alleys worldwide.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Lisa: My husband and I spent a month in Italy, much of that in Rome with our "family Italians," who are as dear to us as blood relations. They showed us their city, we experienced life in a typical Roman neighborhood, heard their informed explanations about what we saw, and ate at their favorite locals haunts.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Lisa: Index cards. On one I list essential phrases; another simplifies the local exchange rate; another has addresses and phone numbers pertinent to my destination.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Lisa: Pack less.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Lisa: Hole in Donut Cultural Travel, Uncornered Market, Be My Travel Muse, The Sane Travel, Green With Renvy, Solo Traveler.
TA: What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten overseas?
Lisa: Squid ink sauce in Tulum, Mexico.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Lisa: Slow down. Savor the experiences you are having and don't worry about those you don't have time for.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Lisa: Personal safety. Tourists are targeted and Americans are often especially targeted, that's true, but basic security precautions will likely be enough to keep you safe. Pack light, don't draw attention to yourself, and GO! Don't let fear limit you.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food? (And what are some good things to eat there?)
Lisa: Kyrgyzstan. While national dishes are variations of the same ingredients, the Dungan and Uyghur populations contribute color, spice, and odd combinations to the mix. Dungan Ashlyanfu in Karakol is addictive, as is the Uyghur iteration of Laghman.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited? (Any specific locations people need to see there?)
Lisa: Moscow, Russia. It's a striking city with impressive architecture, museums, monasteries and parks. We rented a full apartment with washer and dryer for about $30/night near the Metro stop for Moscow State University and could get anywhere in the city quickly and cheaply by Metro.
TA: Have you ever met someone while traveling who changed your life? Who were they?
Lisa: In the mid-1980s we chaperoned high school students on an exchange with a village in Germany. We were hosted by the architect Peter Hubner and his family. At the same time they were hosting a 15-year-old Italian boy named Filo who attended the German school in Rome. The three of us hit it off immediately and Filo came to live and study with us for a year. He has been family ever since.
TA: What are the best places to travel solo and why?
Lisa: I love exploring cities alone. I can get up when I want, go where I want, spend as much (or as little) time at an attraction as I like, and take a break when I need to.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Lisa: Comment loudly on the price of things. While the prices may seem incredibly high/low to us, voicing that can be insensitive to locals.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous? Please explain why.
Lisa: Osh, Kyrgyzstan. It's a pleasant, multicultural city with a fascinating history and great food. Northern cities are more influenced by Europe, whereas Osh is a melting pot of Nomadic cultures.