WOULD YOU RATHER? A series of interviews with Travellers, Bloggers, Travel Bloggers and just generally interesting people. We’ll ask a series of difficult travel questions with two possible answers. They’ll tell us what they would choose and why.
For this article we have Crystal a writer and broadcast journalist who also runs her travel blog Adventures with Crystal. As a news reporter, she also writes, films and produces most of her stories for TV newscasts and social media platforms. The personal entries featured on her blog are about sharing with her readers the adventures away from the studio cameras, including food, travel, books, and so much more.
Often travelling solo and while sometimes it may be scary or lonely, with some practice and a lot of persistence, Crystal has found spending quality time with herself to be one of the most liberating feelings in life.
For those willing to take on the challenge, she hopes giving you a taste of her experiences, will inspire you to venture out of your comfort zone. Always believing life is a “buffet” of goodness, and there’s so much to try and taste. It’s a “choose your adventure” — and you have a lot of choices!
Now to the questions …
A hard one to start off – for the rest of your life only be allowed to leave the USA for 3 weeks a year or only spend 3 weeks a year in the USA?
Tough start! I think the glamorous answer would be to only spend 3 weeks a year in the USA, but I don’t think I’d be able to do that! I would miss working as a news reporter in America and serving my country through accountability and investigative journalism, and also I would miss the opportunity to see friends and family!
From your interview with Ingrid Zen Moments, we know Vancouver is your favourite foodie destination but to make things tricky, for the duration of a one week trip would you rather eat only Italian food in Spain or only Spanish food in Italy?
Italian food in Spain! I love some good fettuccine Alfredo and a good bolognese, no matter where it’s made!
For a party week, would you rather attend Burning Man Festival in Nevada USA or Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival?
Neither. Is that a surprising answer? It probably is quite anti-millennial or contrarian, but I think I’m okay with that. I enjoy exploring places solo (how my travel blog came to be) or with a small group of friends. Sometimes the overwhelming chaos of debauchery and big crowds and way too many selfies is a little too much for me.
Would you rather try a Scorpion on a stick from Wangfujing market in Beijing or deep-fried Tarantula rolled in sugar in Cambodia?
Yikes. Both those things give me creepy-crawlies. The only scorpion I want is a strong scorpion bowl (lol) but I’d still take the scorpion over the tarantula because I think tarantula legs are probably a little furry and I don’t think I could handle knowing that texture was there.. deep fried or not.
You’ve already ticked skydiving off your bucket list above the beautiful North Shore in O’ahu. For your next big adrenaline activity would you rather Bungy Jump in Queenstown, New Zealand at a height of 134m with 8.5 seconds of free fall or fly through the air on all three 200m flying fox zip lines in Auckland, New Zealand?
Can I also surprise you and pick neither? I don’t think anyone could convince me to bungee jump, because my fears of any type of cord snapping and something breaking is too big. I have no idea why skydiving was extremely meditative for me, but I think it’s because you knew at some point there was a parachute and backup parachutes and then once they open, it’s almost like hang-gliding. The actual feel of falling, sounds terrifying. There’s a lot of air that pushes back up against you when you’re sky-diving so it wasn’t like toppling over head first (what I imagine bungee jumping to be). I also would turn down zip lining because we did some intense studies in college about eco-tourism… where traveling activities are centered around exotic, often threatened, natural environments. And the effects some zip lines have on local environments and local ecosystems are devastating. Certain parts of the world with natural beauty are not meant to have humans (and human scent) fly or trample through them, and building those zip lines cut into a lot of the local habits and end up wrecking the trees. When traveling, I’m really conscious of trying to still preserve and be careful around natural beauty so that it remains for decades to come.
For a close up animal encounter, which adventure in Africa would you rather take on, visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda or Great White Shark cage diving in South Africa?
I once came upon a shark while snorkeling in Hawaii, and they really look like what you see on the Discovery channel! I was terrified. I would pick Mountain Gorillas because I’m fascinated by the connection between humans and primates. Jane Goddall changed our perspective on Gorrillas and I think there is still much to learn. They’re so human at times, and fascinating to watch. I once did a news report about a chimpanzee sanctuary, and the chimpanzees had all such distinct personalities. One chimpanzee loved a particular doll and took care of it so delicately, which was captivating to watch. I’d like to stay away from sharks for now!
For an easier animal encounter, would you rather visit Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island in the Exuma area of the Bahamas known as Pig Beach to swim and play with the pigs or the popular resort of Okunoshima, known as Rabbit Island in Japan, to play with the rabbits?
I’d also skip both because I think tourists and travelers need to be more mindful of sustainability and should not encroach on natural environments just for some cute selfies. Rabbit Island has a dark history. It’s the spot where the Japanese Imperial Army manufactured thousands of tons of poison gas during World War II. Some believe the island’s terrible history may hold the key to why rabbits now call it home. Back in 1929, when the army began manufacturing chemical weapons, rabbits were brought to the island and used to test the effectiveness of the poison gas, according to The Guardian. Now, all the visitors feeding the feral bunnies has led to an unsustainable population boom that has destroyed the island’s ecosystem. I don’t know if the solution would necessarily be to NOT visit, but I do think visiting and taking photos and petting the rabbits could make it worse. The other option, Pig Island, isn’t actually paradise for the pigs. There’s been many pieces about how the tourism industry there has lead to the exploitation of pigs. Many of them aren’t supposed to be exposed to humans, and as a result, the ones who shouldn’t be around humans (tourists) and are aggressive are killed, according to a few articles from travelers. Animal tourist attractions are not a whole lot different from the orcas imprisoned at SeaWorld, so I would skip this one too. A lot of how we choose to spend our time and our money creates effects, and me spending my time and dollars there would probably only feed into more pigs being taken advantage of. I hope that’s something travelers and blog readers will take in mind when they’re planning their next trip! To me, a photo opp is never worth the lives of animals or possibly endangering an environment.
Which South American new Wonder of the World would you rather visit Machu Picchu in Peru or Christ the Redeemer in Brazil?
This is a tough one! My sister and I went to Chichen Itza in Mexico, which was also one of the new World Wonders, and that was amazing. The pure architecture and the amount of planning and expertise that had to happen for Chichen Itza is a marvel. I’d visit Machu Picchu for its deeper historic value. Christ the Redeemer was finished in the 1930s, whereas Machu Picchu was in the 15th century! That’s AMAZING to me. So I’d pick the one that goes back later into history to really see the significance of how another culture lived, and in another time. I’m sure Christ the Redeemer would be breathtaking too, though Machu Picchu would be higher on my list.
Your blog has a lot of fantastic information on your passion for solo travel but we’d like to know for your next big solo trip would you rather spend two weeks in Cuba or Iceland?
It’s funny you ask because on my list next is New Zealand, Cuba and Iceland! So you read my mind! Or perhaps my blog – haha. There’s a lot of travel restrictions right now with Cuba and some tensions politically, so I’d pick Iceland. Also, this is the perfect time right about now to travel to Iceland and see the Northern lights which is on my bucket list, so I think that would come first!
Would you rather have to take less than 7KG of baggage on every flight you take from now on or always over 30KG?
I would always travel with less! In many spots I want to travel to, a good pair of shoes, swimsuit, hat, sunglasses, and some easy staples are all I need! I think a part of learning how to travel is also learning to leave things that are excessive day-to-day. I probably don’t actually need most of the clothes in my closet or some things I have inside my house, so the ability to “leave it all behind” (literally and figuratively) is some of my favorite parts about traveling. On that note, I highly advocate for deleting social media and turn off your e-mails when traveling! You can post those photos later so enjoy the moment and be present — it’s what you paid for!
For a completely free trip, would you rather hike to the top of Ben Nevis at 1,345m the highest point in the UK followed by a weekend in Glasgow or to the top of Carrauntoohil the highest point in Ireland at 1,038m followed by a weekend in Dublin?
I would pick hike to the top of Ben Nevis and a weekend in Glasgow because I’d love to see its Victorian and art nouveau architecture in Glasgow! It’s one of my favorite parts of sightseeing is looking at different architecture and I bet I would have an absolute blast starting there! But honestly, if it’s a free trip, I’m pretty much happy going anywhere to explore!
Last new years eve you celebrated in New York City! Which city in Asia would you rather ring in a new year Hong Kong or Tokyo?
I’ve had my eyes on Singapore, but between Hong Kong and Tokyo, I’d pick Tokyo. I think Tokyo is a bigger city with more access to public transportation, which is always a great way to explore a place. It’s also a sustainable one! I also think the urban areas of Hong Kong are a lot more packed than Tokyo, and it would be nicer to feel like I could move through the city at my own pace! I would also love to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo and the Imperial Palace!
As anyone who follows your Instagram knows you love dogs and recently adopted an 18-month-old Scout, a beautiful labrador-retriever mix from the @mnhumanesociety, but which doggy based trip would you prefer to go to Norway for 2 days of Husky dog sledding and playing with Husky puppies or go to Nepal to see Kukur Tihar an entire day dedicated to all dogs in which they are dressed up in garlands made of flowers and decorated with ceremonial paints, plus, every dog, including strays, are fed like a king for a day?
Aww, Scout! Thanks for mentioning her. She is the sweetest. I would probably pick Husky Dog Sledding because we did a unit in 5th grade where we studied the Iditarod in Alaska, which is a long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. When it was happening, and I was always amazed when we got to track their progress through a live map and I researched the racers and their dogs extensively and it’s quite amazing. I’d love to experience it for myself, and if Scout could come with, she’d probably just LOVE that.