Spencer Spellman has been a friend of AFAR since we started. In fact, he’s a friend to all travelers, through his blog The Traveling Philosopher, where he waxes thoughtful on his peregrinations. Spencer has a magical skill for looking inward in a way that gets at the universality of experiential travel. He lays it all on the table, and as a result readers can deeply relate. Spencer traveled to Europe this summer, and he created this great Wanderlist on AFAR.com about Ghent. Check it out!
He’s moving to Seattle from San Francisco this week, and we’re sad to see him go. But we’re happy that he has a next “something better.” And he filled out our travel personality questionnaire. We’ll always be ready with a “welcome back, Spencer” for you here in San Francisco.
Right now I’m in San Francisco.
Though I would much prefer to be in Mexico doing nothing more than sitting in a hammock and napping in between margaritas fetched from a swim-up bar.
Occupation: Writer, editor, and strategist for the travel industry
My next trip is to Hawaii.
My last trip took me on a multi-week trip through Western Europe.
First international trip—when and where? It was in college when I spent a summer in South Africa.
Favorite hotel: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
Favorite restaurant: El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain
Backpack, wheelie, or trunk? Backpack when possible, although I’ve gotten some weird looks when checking into a five-star hotel with a backpack slung over my shoulders.
Plugged-in or unplugged? When traveling, typically plugged in, but when on vacation, I unplug completely.
Public transportation, cab, or bike? Public transportation
If you’re in New Orleans in the spring for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, don’t miss the alligator po-boy.
Finding a local dive bar is the best way to connect with locals.
Five things you can’t travel without: Headphones, TUMS, boxers, Chuck Taylors, and moleskine notebooks
Jet lag: Nap, power through, pills, or herbal remedies? Power through by going on a walk through the city, likely ending at the local pub.
Favorite airport and why? SFO, and more specifically, Terminal 2. With free WiFi, comfy chairs, good food options, and a wine bar, it’s the only airport I’ll arrive early to.
Three travel apps you can’t live without: TripIt, Skype, and a little app you may have heard of called AFAR
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? “Home” is constantly changing, but really any local establishment where I could walk in and hear these words, “Welcome back, Spencer.”
Where do you always take out-of-town friends? Food trucks
Most out-of-character travel experience? Something that you would never have done at home. I once got on a bus, in Innsbruck, Austria, and I had no idea where it was going since I couldn’t understand the bus driver, yet I rode on it until its final destination a couple of hours later at the Italy/Austria border and spent the night. One of the most memorable travel experiences of my life.
If I had a whole month to travel, I would go to Southeast Asia.
If I had a whole year to travel, I would go to South America.
Favorite foreign word or phrase: Costa Rica’s pura vida. While it’s translated “pure life,” it more closely resembles a way of living that is full of life among Costa Ricans.
Travel has taught me that while Santa can get away with checking his list twice, I need to check mine more like 10 times, especially when it involves signing my passport application.