We’re so excited to welcome Carmen to the Knowmad Team! She is a joy to have in the office, exuding positivity wherever she goes and helping Knowmad meet its goals and grow. Read on to find out Carmen’s best kept travel secret, her favorite activities and more.
Tell us a Little bit About Yourself
Hi, I’m Carmen! I’m a Minnesota native and I grew up by the St. Croix river, enjoying summer swims and reveling in the few – read: very few – snow days in the winters! My passion for travel probably started due to my being a serious Mary-Kate & Ashley movie buff. My first trips abroad were to Spain and Mexico in high school, and after those, I was hooked!
(Peter Pan statue, London)
I moved to Chicago for college, where I made incredible friends, got to study three languages (Spanish, Italian, and Greek), and majored in Creative Writing. Having specifically chosen a school with an abundance of study abroad programs, I also got to study abroad twice; once in Siena, Italy, and again in London, England. The summer after my sophomore my friends and I went on a backpacking trip to Europe, and after graduation we went on another short one to Costa Rica & Panama. Having a best friend who lives in Australia doesn’t hurt either — I’ve been able to visit her twice, too.
Nowadays I’m a St. Paul gal, endlessly amused by puns, inspired by stories of connection and seeing the beauty in the little joys of life, and so looking forward to using my passport again soon!
Knowmad’s FUN FACTS COUNTDOWN
5 words to describe you?
Cheesy. Optimistic. Cozy. Quirky. Fangirl.
(Venice, Italy; Platform 9 & 3/4, King’s Cross Station, London)
4 Things You Like to Do?
- I love waking up on a Saturday morning and doing a little yoga while brewing coffee. Just starts you off right.
- Hearing and telling corny jokes. “I bought the world’s worst thesaurus yesterday. Not only is it terrible, it’s terrible.” (Author: Unknown…and awesome.)
- Going to breakfast with my friends. We have our own (non-detention) Breakfast Club.
- Watching superhero shows. I especially love the crossover episodes.
3 biggest addictions?
- Love stories (real, fiction, book, movie, letter – love them all)
2 favorite places?
- My Grams’ house on the St. Croix River
- Trafalgar Square in London
1 Little-Known Fact?
- I have been an aunt since I was 7. I’ve got two nephews, and they are 18 and 21 currently.
Knowmad’s TRAVEL COUNTDOWN
5 South America Bucket List Destinations?
4 Favorite Drinks or Foods from Your Travels?
- Bebidas in Costa Rica – delicious!
- Spinach gnocchi from Italy. Guys.
- Bubble & Squeak from London (it’s veggie & potatoes mashed together into little balls, served with poached eggs on top).
- Stracciatella & Pistachio Gelato from Italy. I basically wasn’t hungry the entire time I studied abroad in Italy. Just went from pasta to gelato to pasta to gelato to pasta…
3 Things To Read While Traveling?
- I like to grab a magazine whenever I’m in an airport for the flight. I don’t get them that often, so it’s a fun treat.
- Books! When I studied abroad in Italy I brought around 20 books to make sure I had one for every mood.
- Some people have written letters for me to read while on my travels and those are always really special.
2 Favorite Travel Memories?
- Watching a rainstorm from the open-air porch of a hostel in Costa Rica. It was so peaceful and mesmerizing, feeling the mist coming in from the storm, and we got to just watch it all afternoon in a content silence.
- Calling my dad from Stonehenge. He’s a big dreamer and definitely influenced my love of seeing the world, so it was an especially meaningful moment to call him while standing in front of such an amazing site.
1 Must-Have Travel Item?
A watch! I always, always travel with a watch. It makes meeting up with people, scheduling transportation, check-ins, etc. so much easier. And Kleenex, because of allergies.
Are you interested in more travel tips? Take a look at our “Top 10 Travel Tips from the Knowmad Travel Experts” article.
WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS?
What do you crave?
Words! Getting to tell stories, listening to others’ stories, feeling how words can transport you from a book, a joke, a poem, or someone’s memories…they’re so versatile and inherently about connection. There’s so many beautiful collections of words out there.
…Also mac’n’cheese, pretty much every day.
What Are You Living For?
I love those times when you become aware that you’re in one of those moments that you know you’ll remember forever. When you connect with those moments so precious that you don’t want to break it and so you just kind of watch it as it happens, cherishing and memorizing the details. Moments like watching your family open presents on Christmas morning; or when you realize you haven’t even touched your phone in hours because you’re having so much fun; or when you’re watching a truly inspiring and powerful speech that makes you feel excited to wake up the next day. Connecting with those moments and with each other in those moments make me feel alive.
(Pompeii, Italy; Globe Theater, London)
What Are A Few of Your Favorite Items from Abroad?
The photos! I love looking through photo albums of previous trips and remembering the stories behind them. For instance: there’s this photo of my friend and I wearing nearly everything we own for a connecting flight on our way to our international one. We were only allowed a very strict one carry-on item, so we had to wear layers on top of layers of clothing and used our backpacks for the purchases we had made during the trip.
What’s One Thing You Have to Have in Your Carry-On?
Socks; planes get so cold! Also, a complete change of clothes in case your luggage doesn’t join you at your destination.
Are you wondering what other Knowmad’s pack in their carry-on? Take a look at Tara’s “What’s in My Carry-On Post.”
What’s The First Thing You Pack?
Best Kept Travel Secret?
That it almost definitely won’t be what you expect, but it will also almost definitely be better.
Also, that having the right attitude and a sense of humor can make even the messiest of circumstances a great story.
(Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica)
Carmen is an Operations Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to crafting specialized custom, private trips to South America. Carmen has lived in three countries, spent some time backpacking in Europe and Central America, and studied Spanish, Italian, and Greek. She loves to explore languages, new places, and all the ways in which people can share their stories, and is excited to help travelers add to their own story with their next adventure!