As part of the next instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner, I chatted to Marissa Sutera, a passionate US-based travel blogger.
Marissa Sutera’s love for travel first sparked into life during her time studying abroad. In fact, it was this unique, life-enriching experience that led to the launch of her beautiful travel blog, Little Things Travel.
Marissa aims for her blog to serve as a travel guide to the world, while ultimately teaching her and her readers to appreciate the little things in life.
As a Chicago-native-turned-Boulder-Colorado resident, when Marissa is not passionately travelling or else diligently working on exciting new content for the blog, you can find her skiing, hiking or biking.
Marissa hopes that, through her blog, you will learn how travel can be a driver for positive change in both big and little ways alike… Join her as she discovers the little things in life, at home and around the world!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
My study abroad experience is what sparked my desire to start travel blogging. I was studying in Ireland, Scotland, and the United Kingdom – and I knew I would need some way to share with my family and friends back home what I was experiencing abroad.
Once I started writing about travel on Little Things Travel, I was hooked… and I haven’t stopped since!
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or some of everything?
I’d say culture vulture best describes my travel style, but I tend to mix in a little bit of everything depending on where I’m travelling to.
I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new everywhere I go, so that tends to push the limits on the definition of my type of travel.
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
1. Without question, meeting my family in Croatia was the most memorable travel experience. They hosted us for dinner at their home in the small village of Kotlenice, and they shared stories of ancestors we never had the chance to meet, as we enjoyed our delicious homemade meal. To top it all off, we were able to see the homes where my great-grandmother and great-grandfather used to live.
2. Volunteering in Zambia was another powerful travel experience: The entire trip is one that will forever remain in my memory, as it opened my eyes to the intricacies of responsible volunteering and how little information there is out there about how to really know if you are making a difference, how to find the right organisations to work with, and what questions you should be asking.
3. Finally, the day I spent 12 hours on a hot bus travelling from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park in Nepal is one I will always remember. We didn’t make the shorter route because, after a certain time, they close that road due to construction, so we had to take the long route up and down the twisty mountain roads. Despite the lengthy journey, the views sure were beautiful!
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why?
I think travelling to New Orleans, Louisiana was the first time I realised how diverse the United States truly is. Visiting another city or state can sometimes feel like you’re in an entirely different country.
It was eye-opening for me to see how much there was to explore just in my own country!
5) Worst (local) travel experience?
Driving up to Winter Park (a ski resort in Colorado) in a snowstorm in my two-wheel drive car was not such a good idea… There’s a long road that zig zags all the way up to the resort and thankfully, we made it there one slick, slow turn at a time, but it was a very nerve-racking journey!
I still love Winter Park and we ended up having a very fun weekend, but I now have a four-wheel drive – and do a much better job at checking the weather report ahead of time!
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
Croatia is definitely at the top of my list – all of it! The coastal cities are gorgeous, but don’t overlook going inland as well. Zagreb is also worth a visit!
Colorado also has a special place in my heart… The mountains and various landscapes throughout the state are jaw-dropping and make for some excellent road trips.
Nepal is another place of sheer beauty, but really the people here are why you should visit. They are incredibly welcoming and kind to visitors.
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
I also work with Wanderful, a global community for women who travel, and they are my go-to resource for personal travel suggestions and finding a trustworthy place to stay with other members along my travels.
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Ecuador! I have always wanted to visit. Plus, I’ve been working on my Spanish so it would be a great time to test out my skills.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
There are so many things to do in Boulder, Colorado! It really comes down to what kinds of activities you are interested in.
If you do anything, make sure you get outside. Go for a hike, bike ride, stand-up paddleboarding, walk along the Boulder Creek Path or Pearl Street… whatever suits you best.
If you happen to be in town on a day when the weather isn’t so great (which is rare), there are loads of breweries in town (and even a few distilleries) that will keep you plenty occupied – or check out the Dushanbe Teahouse, which is one of my favourites. As for restaurants, I’d recommend The Mediterranean, Sforno, Sushi Zanmai, or The Sink.
My one overall tip is to make sure to drink a lot of water the day before your visit… The altitude can get to you if you’re not prepared for it or used to it.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Keep an open mind. Whether you are travelling across the globe – or simply to another city in your home country, the culture and customs can still vary widely.
Be conscious that people may do things differently than you are used to, and be open to new experiences and ways of doing things… It will make for a much more enjoyable and interesting trip.
To read about and see all of Marissa’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her awesome blog.
Thank you very much, Marissa, for appearing in this guest travel segment.
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.