City travelers, here’s our latest interview with world’s leading travel bloggers, sharing their favorite city destination and travel experiences. Today, meet Clelia Mattana of travel blog Keep Calm and Travel and – her latest project – local travel website My Sardinia Holidays.
Clelia, your best city trip so far?
My absolute favorite city is New York. I dreamed about visiting the Big Apple for so long and I still remember the day I booked the tickets, I was the happiest girl alive! That was also my first intercontinental flight, so NYC will always have a special place in my heart: as the city that gave the final push to my travel bug. I’m actually going back to NYC in 2 weeks for the US Open tennis Grand Slam and I’m super excited!
Your tips for city travelers heading the same way?
Since I’ve chosen NYC as my favorite city, I guess I’m in trouble as it seems that everything has already been said about the city, right? My only suggestion for NYC would be: Take the subway, and (just like me) get lost! Yes, that’s my speciality, getting lost in new cities. In this case I got completely lost in Brooklyn, where I discovered some lovely streets and finally got the opportunity to speak a little with the locals.
As a professional travel blogger, what makes a city worth visiting?
It must have a “soul”. Cities are usually very chaotic and stressful to visit, and I usually don’t like them too much for this reason. But some of them have something unique and magnetic. A special atmosphere, smells, particular buildings or street patterns.
Your five ingredients for the perfect city trip?
- Majestic monuments
- Spectacular view points
- Jumping on the first random bus
- A good pair of shoes!
Which gadgets and travel apps are essential companions for a modern city traveler?
Given my previous answer (I get lost A LOT), my favorite app is a simple Google Map that indicates where I am at any given moment. Even if I love to get lost, sometimes it’s best to know where you are, especially if you are a solo female traveler in a new city!
The second essential gadget is my camera, of course, A Canon 6D.
Would you describe yourself as a responsible traveler?
This is a very interesting question as before starting my extensive trip in 2013 I was TOTALLY irresponsible. I have to be honest here, I trashed the street with my garbage if I couldn’t find a trash bin within 1 meter from me, and I was overall not very responsible. This trip taught me a lot and now, even if I’m not 100% perfect, I am much more aware and responsible.
I keep my trash in a bag, and I’ve also become more respectful of the flora and fauna of the country I’m visiting. In that sense, traveling made me a better person.
As I said, I’m still not perfect but I’m definitely moving towards the right direction. I know, it’s a bad thing to admit that I was irresponsible during my earlier travels. But I’d rather be honest than pretend something which isn’t true.
Your key insight from traveling the world?
Travel is my life. I couldn’t be truly happy if I wasn’t a traveler. What I’ve learned is that the issues you have back home travel with you. They don’t stay behind, so running away from anything doesn’t really work. You’ll have to deal with your problems, no matter where in the world you are. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since confronting issues helps you grow and learn your lessons.
My second insight – and piece of advice: don’t have any expectation when visiting a new city. I recently had to go to Kuala Lumpur for a new visa and I thought I’d hate the city. Well, guess what? I was fascinated by it, it surprised me big time and I actually would love to go back there again!
Usually the Must See’s of any city are the most disappointing aspect of the trip – but not in Kuala Lumpur: the Petronas Towers exceeded my expectations and I was in awe when I saw them by night.
Thank you, Clelia – and safe travels!
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