Elizabeth Hansen shares a trait most travelers recognize: the inability to sit still. Before she became a travel writer, photographer, and trip planner (she currently helms the travel section of San Diego’s Ranch & Coast and contributes to a variety of publications), Hansen was a teacher, where she put long summer vacations and two-week winter breaks to good use. She traveled to Europe and spent a year teaching in Munich before taking a leave of absence to travel the Pacific—scuba diving in Hawaii, hitchhiking on a copra boat in Fiji, farming in New Zealand. Eventually she quit her day job. No matter how much she enjoys exploring exotic destinations, though, she still embraces the beauty of her home. And that is something all travelers come to know.
Right now I’m in La Jolla, California and I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be.
Occupation: Travel writer, photographer, trip planner.
My next trip is to the Adirondacks.
My last trip took me to India for four wonderful weeks.
First international trip—when and where? Europe, between college years. It was wonderful and I’ve been traveling ever since.
An antique Vietnamese vase is my most treasured travel souvenir.
My favorite shopping destination is the market behind the Craft Museum in New Delhi, India. Hardly anyone knows it’s there.
Backpack, wheelie, or trunk? Wheelie (No one ever accused me of traveling light.)
If you’re in La Jolla in September, don’t miss the Rough Water Swim and if you’re in La Jolla during the winter, splurge on a memorable high-tide breakfast at the Marine Room overlooking La Jolla Shores Beach.
Preparation: guidebook, online research, or seat of your pants? In my opinion, there’s no substitute for a print guidebook. Rather than carry the whole thing, I save space and weight by tearing out the pages that I need and just take them.
Vacation rentals are the best way/place to connect with locals.
Favorite airport and why? I enjoy the Hong Kong Airport because it’s beautiful (super sleek and modern) and connected to the city by very efficient transit.
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? La Jolla Shores Beach. I walk there almost every day and enjoy the quiet in winter and the myriad activities of summer.
First thing you do when you get home: Check my suitcase for bedbugs.
Where do you always take out-of-town friends? La Jolla Open Aire Market.
Favorite travel book: Blue Latitudes, Tony Horwitz (Hysterical).
Most out-of-character travel experience? Ziplining in Costa Rica. Totally out of character—and I loved it.
Biggest travel mistake? Going to see the heather blooming in the Scottish Highlands without checking on the weather. It had been a particularly cold winter and nary a bloom was in sight.
If I had a whole year to travel, I would go to Italy (and come home 20 pounds overweight).
Favorite foreign word or phrase: Namaste.
Favorite foreign tradition: Afternoon tea—especially in New Zealand.
Travel has taught me that the world is full of endless wonders.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hansen