In today’s travel blogger interview I feature Magdalena Whitney of Four Whitneys One World. Whitney and family have a unique meaning for Pharoah’s Revenge. Read on to find out why.
What is your name?
Magdalena Whitney, née Rojo.
Which country do you come from/call home?
Born and raised in Mexico City but I live in San Diego, California. (Since 1995)
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
Backpacking Family Travel.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
EMJ: Extreme money juggling. My husband is a fireman and I am a stay at home mom. I am financially creative. I have to be.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
During my childhood, my family used to travel to the US often but I was sent to Canada a whole summer when I was 12 to perfect my English. When I turned 15, I was sent to Oxford, England also for the summer with a group of teens and I think that was when my wanderlust switch got turned on.
How many countries have you visited so far?
32 and we will be adding 6 more in March. I have this crazy rule that I will not visit the same country twice until I have visited all the ones I am still missing, unless of course it is a connecting stop.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Every country we’ve gone to is so much more amazing than I expected. But I have to say Oman was the one that exceeded my expectations. It is such a beautiful country and the Omani people are truly fantastic.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Travelling with children for so many years, we’ve had our fair share of hospitals, doctors and pharmacies. But I don’t consider that a bad experience. You get to learn how other cultures treat patients and how different it is within each region. Fortunately, it’s never been anything serious.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
During our trip of Egypt, our driver Samir made us laugh on a daily basis. He was so charismatic, told us great stories, and his laugh was so loud and contagious. We had a great time specially during those long rides in Cairo’s world famous traffic.
Also in Cairo, when we went to the Pyramids of Giza, my younger son wasn’t feeling too good. He had the ‘Pharaoh’s Revenge’ (stomach issues). He suddenly barfed all over the corner stone of Cheops pyramid. Luckily the place was deserted since we went right after Arab Spring and very early in the morning so no one saw. I was mortified of course and tried to clean as much as I could. Later we had to laugh, I mean, how ironic that what’s called ‘Pharaoh’s Revenge’ ended up exactly at the Pharaoh’s tomb’s corner stone… Now, every time we see the pyramids on TV or a book or online we look at ‘the’ corner and reminisce. Sorry Egypt!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
My younger son loves roller coasters and theme parks. We have gone to several in many countries and he simply loves it. While in Beijing we went to one that was pretty cool but then we were told there was another one. A Disneyland knockoff if you will. He had to check it out. Whoa! It was the place where nightmares come alive. The rides were old and awful, the ambiance was depressing, the characters were horrific…and we were like the only ones there… Dismal! (This may be funnier than the pyramid story. We kept laughing during this bizarre experience)
Have you ever eaten something that blew your mind? What was it and where?
Mexico’s tacos are simply the gift of the gods to the people. (I’m slightly biased) But we had the most unbelievable rose flavored ice cream in Muttrah, Oman. I can’t even describe it!
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Oh! So many… But if I have to choose then it is a four way tie between Guanajuato, México, Jerusalem, Israel, Istanbul, Turkey and the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. I could live in any of these three places forever.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
1. See the whole world (kind of impossible but I’ll try)
2. Figure out how to use these experiences to help humanity understand each other better.
3. Write a book.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to see more of the world than most people. But travel experiences can also be had in your own town or city, your own state, your own country, and fulfill you as much as world travel.
Can I imagine MY life without travel? No.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I love history. I love to read. When I read I travel without physically moving. So if I wasn’t traveling, then I would probably be reading about travel.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Four Whitneys One World http://fourwhitneysoneworld.com/
When did you begin your website Four Whitneys One World?
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Mostly for my children. So that they can have a journal of their life travels. But I enjoy sharing a little bit of history, a little bit of what’s out there and a little bit of what is possible with friends and family. And if anyone else finds the content interesting or inspiring, then all the better.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
We have been traveling with our two sons since they were born (close to 14 years). The four of us have explored 32 countries and hundreds of villages, towns and cities. We do it on a shoestring budget and we don’t just see the main cities or main attractions. We explore each place deeply, we mingle with locals, we rent apartments rather than stay in hotels most of the time. By now, I’m pretty confident I have mastered traveling with infants, toddlers, older children, tweens and recently teens. All stages, a completely different experience.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
I do informal travel consulting. I would love to write for magazines or even write a book.
What has been your favorite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Our amazing homes away from home. A blog post about some of the apartments and houses we have rented or where friends have hosted our family.
What is your favorite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I enjoy them all. I know they are taking me somewhere new and that is super exciting! But I do love trains.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
The only advice I have is to travel now. Not tomorrow, not later, not when you retire. Now! There are places where if you wait too long, you won’t be able to hike, walk, jump or reach. One day you won’t be able to walk from dawn till dusk. Take your children with you. You will open their minds to our very big and diverse world. There simply isn’t a better education than this.
What has travel taught you?
History, Religions, Politics, Tolerance, Acceptance, Humanity. That everyone here on this Earth has the same goals in life. To love, be loved and to be happy. That humans misunderstand each other greatly. And that smiles are the universal language.
You travel with children. What has travel taught them?
It has evolved with time, as babies, toddlers, young children and now teenagers, their experiences have been many and they’ve had life lessons from every angle possible. But in general, I’d say they have an advanced understanding and acceptance of different cultures, religions and customs. They are extremely open to new environments, languages, flavors, smells, and ways of doing things. They recognize basic elements about why wars happen and how they could be avoided. They certainly know their geography and how to travel like a pro. Whenever they share their experiences with others, and this is rare, it really fills me with pride. They are very humble about it.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Turkish Airlines
Favourite country? México
Favourite city? Jerusalem
Favourite beach? Tulum
Favourite food? Tacos
Favourite language? Spanish
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://fourwhitneysoneworld.com/
Twitter handle? @4Whitneys1World
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/FourWhitneysOneWorld/
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/108656885431595897871/posts