Travelers of the World – Cecilia


From: Stockholm, Sweden
When We Met: Feb. 2014
Where We Met: Playa del Carmen
Occupation: I’m a student.  I study biology and geoscience.

Don’t plan too much and be open minded to what you learn along the way.
Where are you from?  I’m from Stockholm, the capital of Sweden

What do you do back home?  I’m a student.  I study biology and geoscience.

How old are you? 26

Where are you going on this trip?  I’ve got two months in Mexico only and I’ve been to Mexico City and the Yucatan Peninsula so far and I’m going to Chiapas and Oaxacaand back to Mexico City.

How long are you spending in Chiapas? I think one or two weeks I think.  I haven’t really decided yet.

What made you want to take the trip?  I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mexico.  I have a lot of close friends from back home who went here and who told me a lot of great stuff, especially about Mexico City and I use to live in Iceland and I was living with a Mexican girl, Nohelia, so I was talking a bit to her and I just thought this is the place to go.

What did you think about Mexico City?  I really liked it.  I was with her then, my friend Nohelia, it was really nice.  She showed me her best places.  So I think I wouldn’t have gotten that with just a guide book, so I was lucky.

Are you currently traveling alone?  Yes, I am.

What is your favorite thing about Mexico City?  Well, it felt safe and very cultural, very rich in culture and that no matter what you want to do you can find it there because it is huge and there is something for everyone.

Do you have any other favorite experience on this trip so far?  I’ve been fishing with local fishermen.

Deep sea fishing?  Yes, I’ve done it twice which was just amazing.  I think that will be on my top list.   And I went diving in Cozumel and the reef is just great here so a top notch thing.

How may days were you deep sea fishing for? It was just two days but I caught a 7 kilo barracuda.  It was really cool.

Has anything undesirable happened to you on this trip? No, I was about to say not yet, but no I hope it wont.

What are your impressions of this country, this town, the people? The people I find very welcoming and just interested in me and why I’m here and interested to show their side of Mexico and their life.  This town, Playa del Carmen, I’ve actually only been here for three nights but different times just in transit so I haven’t been out here or anything but it’s kind of hectic for me.

As a single female traveler do you take any extra safety precautions?  I do, yeah, I don’t go out alone drinking at night, but I don’t do that at home either.  Yeah, but I’m definitely more careful than back home.  I don’t travel during the night for example, which I’ve done in other parts of the world.  It’s because people have warned me about it and I’m listening to them.

What is your daily budget?  I have a Swedish budget in Swedish Kroner.  It will be like 8,000 Swedish Kroner (1,200 dollars) per month.  Then I just try to, if I want to spend money on something like diving, I’ll do it and just eat cheap for a while.  I’m not strict on daily budget just a monthly budget.

Do you have any sort of dietary restrictions?  I’m a vegetarian at home but I eat meat here.  Because it’s really good.  I’m on holiday.

What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?  I have to say either Reykjavik or Flores Islands Indonesia.

What draws you to those two places?  Reykjavik is the culture and the people are so open minded.  It’s a very small town but there is always stuff going on.  Flores Islands in Indonesia was just because it was so beautiful it was mindblowing.  Crystal clear water, rarely any people.  I went out on a boat, lived on a boat for a week, that was incredible.  The marine life is really cool there.

How long were you in Indonesia for?  I was in Indonesia for two months.

Was that part of a larger trip?  Yeah, I was away for eight months and I was in Southeast Asia for six of them and two of those six months I spent in Indonesia.

Were you traveling solo then as well?  No, I was with a friend.  We did everything together almost.

Do you prefer traveling with someone or do you like traveling on your own?  I don’t really know.  I think when I plan something, I like to have someone with me to plan it with and then it will be fun to go together, but since none of my friends could join me for all of this trip then you just have to kind of accept it and go anyway.  But I think i’m learning a lot more when I’m traveling alone and I’m planning a lot more.  I read more about the places i’m going to.  So I do a lot more research when I go alone, which is good because it makes you appreciate places a lot more I think.

What inspired you to do eight months in Southeast Asia?  I was finishing school and I didn’t want to go to University straight away.  I wanted to just do something very different and I always liked to travel so I knew I wanted to travel.  Southeast Asia was because it’s quite cheap and I knew that I could work for a while and stay away for quite a few months so I chose to do that.

​Do you remember what your budget was?  It was kind of the same that it is now.  It was eight or ten thousand Swedish Kroner.  But I didn’t have to use it all then.  I haven’t here either.  I tend to plan a trip more expensive that it becomes so I don’t have to cut back when I’m away.

Can you walk us through how you plan a trip?  When I’m alone, like now, for example, I came here and instead of going around the town, I just sat down with my book and read about my next trip so I don’t have to sit down and read about where I’m at.  I can just start when I arrive.  So, I have a guidebook and I read about the place.  I read everything about it and I also go on asking friends if I know they have been there and talk to fellow travelers about do’s and don’t’s and just try to get a different point of view from different sources.

How much of a percent of your planning comes from looking stuff up on the Internet?  I think it’s a great deal actually.  I have my book with me to look stuff up but I always Google stuff that I read in the book and I take it from there.

Are there any particular sites you use to research your trip?  Here I’ve used Tripadvisor for the first time.  But anything like dive sites, different forums, questions being asked like five years ago at some point but no, no special sites.

How many pairs of shoes did you bring on this trip?  Four.

What were they?  One pair of hiking boots because I’m going up on volcanoes, and one pair of sneakers that I can throw away, and then sandals, and the fourth another pair of sneakers.

Any words of advice or words of wisdom for people that want to backpack but haven’t tried it yet?  I would say from my experience, don’t plan too much and be open minded to what you learn along the way and what you hear about places along the way and just really listen to other travelers and their experiences because I’ve learned lots from that.

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