Interview: Brianne Miers of ‘A Traveling Life’
People spend most of their time working in their day jobs or growing their businesses that sometimes we tend to ignore the things that truly makes us happy like spending time with the family or enjoying our hobbies and activities that we love. Traveling is one of those things people are so eager to do but we usually have our own reasons and different priorities to attend to.
But just because we have a full time job/business and huge responsibilities doesn’t mean we can’t have a life full of travels. It really boils down to what our priorities are. One of those people who encourages busy people to make travel a priority is Brianne Miers of ‘A Traveling Life’. In this interview, we ask about her thoughts on traveling, her life in Boston and her epic travels most especially about her recent trip to the Philippines! Let’s get to know her guys!
1) Hey there Brianne! You’re our first non-Filipino interviewee to be featured in our blog! Kindly introduce yourself to our readers!
Wow, I’m honored! Thanks for the opportunity. I’m Brianne, and I’m based in Boston, Massachusetts, in the U.S. For the past three years, I’ve been the head of my own communications consultant practice, Kind Communications, and I started my travel blog, A Traveling Life, a little more than a year ago with the goal of encouraging other busy professionals to make travel a priority.
2) How is it living in Boston? Can you tell us more about your place like places to see, things to do, food, etc.
I moved to Boston from Washington, D.C., about eight years ago, and it’s the best place I’ve ever lived. So many important moments in U.S. history took place here, and locals have such a strong love for the city. And even though it’s a big city, it feels very small. You can see the major historical attractions by walking along the “Freedom Trail,” a 2.5-mile long brick path that connects 16 sites like Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market, as well as the Massachusetts State House and Paul Revere’s House.
They say Boston is a city of neighborhoods, and each embodies a particular culture. I live in “Southie,” the historically Irish neighborhood that’s been portrayed in many movies like “Black Mass” and “The Departed”). I’m just a short walk away from the beach, and in the summer I love kayaking and sailing in Boston Harbor. It’s also easy to go hiking in the mountains to the north and west of Boston.
As for food, seafood is definitely the most popular cuisine – New England clam chowder and lobster are two regional favorites. There’s also great Italian food in the North End neighborhood.
The only negative to living in Boston is the weather – we usually get a lot of snow in the winter!
3) I’m a big basketball fan and Larry Bird and Bill Russell is definitely on top of my list of all time greats. How big is the Celtics’ impact in your city and the lives of Bostonians?
That’s a great question! Boston is a HUGE sports city – there is a lot of pride for all of the city’s sports teams that everyone shares. It’s common to see people wearing Bruins, Celtics and Patriots gear, and bars are packed when a Boston team is playing. Although I’m not from Boston originally – I grew up in New Jersey as a Philadelphia sports fan – I definitely follow along so I can talk to friends and colleagues! I also have attended games and victory parades, which were all very memorable.
4) Okay, let’s go outside of Boston and talk more about your travels. When did you start traveling seriously or how did it become your passion?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed seeing and doing new things. My parents are retired teachers, so when I was growing up, we frequently took road trips to museums, battlefields and other historical sites in and around my home state of New Jersey. When I was 13, my father was able to take my mother, brother and I on a school trip he organized to China, which was my first time overseas. That trip really sparked my desire to learn more about and experience other cultures, and even though my parents never really traveled internationally again, I continued to pursue opportunities spending a week in Europe with my high school history class and then studying abroad during college.
5) Of all the places you’ve been to, what is your most favorite and why?
That’s a really hard question! If I have to chose just one, I’d have to say Peru. I spent about two weeks there last November and packed in many once-in-a-lifetime experiences – from sand boarding down giant dunes in Huacachina to flying over the Nazca Lines to hiking up to Machu Picchu at sunrise.
And just to add, here are some of my favorite destinations so far:
- Kanyakumari, India
- Hoi An, Vietnam
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
6) What’s your dream destination that you haven’t been to?
Of course my “bucket list” is long, but I would probably say South Africa is at the top of it. I’ve never been to the continent of Africa, and I find South Africa to be particularly fascinating in terms of its history, culture and landscape (plus they have great wine!).
7) What (and where) was the longest time you’ve been away from the U.S.?
I studied abroad for a semester (January to May) in Strasbourg, France, during my junior year in college. After college, I spent the summer during graduate school volunteering in Pokhara, Nepal, and two years ago, I spent about two months traveling throughout Southeast Asia and also two months traveling throughout India. Most of my trips; however, are two weeks or less because of work responsibilities.
8) You’ve just been to my country, the Philippines. What’s your overall impression of our country? Are you planning to come back? What’s the thing you miss the most here? (I’m sure traffic jam isn’t one of them).
Honestly, I didn’t know much about the Philippines before visiting last month, although I do know several Filipinos living here in the U.S. I had seen Palawan and Boracay listed on several “world’s best beaches” lists, and that was about it. I thought the TBEX Asia* conference would be a great way to experience the country for the first time, because of the numerous tours and events that were provided by the Tourism Promotions Board.
I spent the first six days of my trip in Palawan – in Puerto Princesa and El Nido – before heading to the conference in Manila. With the TBEX conference, I did a day trip to Corregidor Island, which was very impressive, and then a bike tour of Intramuros with Bambike Ecotours, which was a lot of fun. Following the conference, I volunteered for a morning with Gawad Kalinga (GK) in Quezon City and then visited GK Enchanted Farm in Angat for two days.
Overall, I was completely blown away by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. The hospitality was the best I’ve experienced anywhere in the world – we even had police escorts at times to help us get through traffic – so I definitely miss feeling like a celebrity now that I am back home! I would absolutely love to return to the Philippines someday – two sites that I would like to see are the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and the Banaue Rice Terraces.
* TBEX is the largest international gathering of travel bloggers and writers. The conference takes place several times each year in different destinations. The first TBEX Asia was held last year in Bangkok.
Read more of our Philippine trips here.
9) What are the things you learned from that trip to the Philippines?
I learned so much about the special relationship that exists between the U.S. and the Philippines, and how much influence the U.S. has had on Filipino culture over the years – I didn’t know the NBA was so popular! It’s sometimes difficult traveling abroad as an American – we don’t always have the best reputation – so it was nice to be in a country where everyone reacted so positively to me.
Also, volunteering with GK and visiting the GK Enchanted Farm allowed me to see first-hand all the hard work that is underway to help make life better for the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
And, of course, I learned Manila has really terrible traffic!
10) I know your travel style is quite similar to ours i.e. having a full time work/business while traveling on the side (as much as we can) but do you plan on traveling long term like 1, 3 to n years soon?
I think shorter trips are better suited to my lifestyle. In addition to my business, I own a home, and I have a dog, so my responsibilities make it difficult for me to leave for more than a few months at a time. (Fortunately, my parents are nice enough to watch my dog for me when I travel!).
11) Besides traveling, what are some of the things you like to do?
I really like spending time outside – hiking, biking and sailing. At home, I enjoy reading and cooking.
12) Any tips or thoughts on traveling you like us to know?
I think it’s so important for everyone to travel. Travel has the power to make the world a much smaller and less scary place – you really find out how many good and kind people there are out there, even if you don’t speak the same language or look like each other.
And you don’t need to travel internationally, especially if time and money are tight. There are so many places in our own countries that can provide a learning experience.
Also read: 5 Life Lessons I Learned In Surfing
13) Where to next?
I don’t know! I have a few trips within the U.S. planned to visit friends, but I don’t have any international trips planned for 2017. However, winter will be here soon, so I need to go somewhere warm!
Follow Brianne’s epic travel adventures in her pages at: