Traveller Tuesday with Jennifer from Made All the Difference

Each Tuesday from now on I'll be hosting interviews with other travel bloggers, to help you discover more blogs and even more inspiration to travel. If you want to be part of this series please contact me.

1. For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself and your blog

Hi ya’ll, my name is Jennifer.  I am a little different than most travel bloggers.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineer. Don’t let being an engineer fool you.  I live for travel and exploring the world.  I leveraged my degree to a job working abroad (until the recent drop in oil price).  Currently, trying to locate another job that allows me to work and still travel.  I tend to travel without much of a plan like showing up in Iceland with only a car rental and one night in a hostel.  I have a plan for next day and nothing else.  My blog is Made All the Difference It is named after the last line in my favorite Robert Frost poem “The road not taken.”

2. Are you a light packer or an overpacker, what one thing won’t you leave the house without?

I am a light packer.  I limit myself to my large backpacking pack and my camera bag.  I carry a small draw string bag for carrying my computer on the plane, but everything I have will fit in my backpack.  I will not leave the house without my camera.  I love photography and I couldn’t live without taking it with me.

3. Do you plan trips or just go with the flow?

I love just going with the flow. I have a rough outline of things I want to do, but I like the flexibility to change.  Unless it’s necessary, I tend to book about a day or two in advance.  In February 2015, I showed up in Iceland with one night booked in a hostel and a car rental.  I knew I want to drive the ring road but with the winter weather, things could change quickly.  Not having set plans helped me be flexible without missing things I wanted to do.  Traveling solo does help greatly with the going with the flow.  It is much easier to find space for one person then a group.

4. Where has been your favourite place to visit to date?

That’s a hard question.  I love places for certain things.  I love getting to road trip in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region of the United States.  As an avid hiker and outdoors person, the National Parks in this region are some of my favorite are some of amazing terrain.  I guess if I had to pick just one park.  My favorite park is Canyonlands National Park.  It has such a diverse views from the Island of the Sky to the Needles.

5. Is there anywhere you don’t want to go?

There isn’t really anywhere I don’t want to go at some point.  I really mean that.  I want to take one of those official state sponsored tours of North Korea.  I want to go trekking in Northern Iran.  If ISIS doesn’t manage to destroy them all, I want to see the ancient ruins in Iraq. Every country has something to unique to explore and I want to see it all.

6. What is the most important item on your “Bucket List”, or if you don’t have one what one place or thing don’t you want to miss out?

The most important item on my Bucket List is visiting all 59 United States National Parks.  From Yosemite to Denali to Everglades to Acadia, I want to see them all. Currently, I have been to 28.  Each park is a unique adventure.  No two parks are the same.  I enjoy planning cross-country road trips that will allow me to visit a new national parks. 

7. What is the best experience you’ve had whilst traveling?

While in Palomino, Colombia, I went hikingin Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park.  I hiked up to Wiwa village.  The Wiwa are one of four indigenous groups still living in the national park.  The Wiwa are the most tourist friendly of the remaining tribes. They still don’t like tourists.   After a 3 mile hike, my guide and I arrived in the village.  I had to wait outside the village while my guide arranged entrance with the village leader.  After making a donation to the school, I was allowed to enter and take photos of the village.  I got to wonder around the village and see how the locals live.  Most were camera shy and refused to have their pictures taken.  As we were heading off the mountain, we meet a young girl who were open to having her pictures taken. 

8. What tip would you give other traveller’s?

Make the trip your own.  Don’t waste time doing things that you have no interested in just because someone says you have to do it.  Travelling requires making choices.  There is never enough time to do EVERYTHING in a location.  Pick the things you are going to enjoy the most even if it isn’t on someone else “must do list.”

9. If you had to choose one place to live forever, where would it be and why?

I have only experienced Iceland during the winter, but I would love to live in Iceland.  Iceland was amazing in the winter, and it’s hard to imagine that the summer wouldn’t be just as spectacular. It has hiking, climbing, caving and so much more. During my trip around the Ring Road, I found Icelandic people to be open and warm.  I could walk into the local pub anywhere on the island and within a couple of minutes I would have several new friends.  They couldn’t wait to share how amazing their island is. 

10. What’s next for you?

I am at a crossroads right now.  My job was a casualty of low oil price.  So my main thing right now is job hunting and trying to sneak travelling in where I can.  I am hoping to fit in another American Cross-country Road Trip.

Jennifer can be found around the internet at:

Instagram: @MatDifference
Twitter: @MatDifference


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