Fellow traveler #1 – Chicago-based traveler who grew up in Krakow, Poland.

Jetting down notes while exploring the Japanese garden at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.

Meet a good friend of mine. Pola and I met at a soccer event in 2006 and have been good friends ever since. I give her credit for inspiring me to travel the world!  Enough of my yapping…Lets see what she has to say.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Krakow, briefly lived in Algeria in my early teens, and have called Chicago home since 2002. Travel has been a part of my life since I was very little and I credit my parents with giving me the travel bug. My first flight was when I was 3 years old – from Warsaw to Baghdad – and I’ve been hooked on “jetting around” since that day.

 In 2010, I started my blog, focused on exploring cities and their culture, something I’m very passionate about. When traveling, I love hanging out at coffee shops and walking for hours, soaking up the atmosphere. Being a night person, I tend to take pictures after dark, when cities have a special aura.

I’m also an avid sports fan (soccer and baseball) and often my trips include going to games. My husband and I have agreed to visit every Major League Baseball stadium in the US. It will take a while, but it’s a fun goal to have.

Paris – looking down from the Eiffel Tower

Where have you been?

 So far I’ve been to some 25-30 countries, mostly in Europe (Western, Central and Eastern), North America (besides the US in Canada and Mexico), plus North Africa and the Middle East. I have my eyes and heart set on exploring South America next, especially Argentina, and would love to make it to Southeast Asia at last.

Favorite travel destinations? Why?

 Paris has been my great love, even an obsession, for a few years. As actress Lauren Bacall wrote in her autobiography, she has “never been able to say goodbye to Paris,“ and I feel the same way. I love its elegance, walkability, sense of pride in the city you can feel all around, plus gypsy jazzhangouts and the cafe culture. Both my dad and husband lived there at some point, and I would like to follow in their footsteps one day, even for a short while.

Pola on the pier in Santa Barbara, California

 San Francisco/Northern California is filled with so much natural and man-made beauty that I have to pinch myself every time I’m there. I could never tire of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or the Pacific Coast.

 Italy and Spain have fantastic architecture and food, and I also enjoy their laid-back vibe. Mexico is one of the best foodie destinations and I’m lucky to live just a few hours away by plane. It gets a lot of bad press, but it’s a beautiful country with lovely people and I can’t wait to see more of it, especially Guadalajara.

Future travel plans

 I’ve done several road trips lately (e.g. Minneapolis, Toronto) and will probably go on a few more. I’d also like to explore Latin America and see more Europe (especially Scotland and Scandinavia). India and Japan are on my wish list too.

Taking a break during a photo outing with Travel in Pixels 🙂

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