She's not in Kansas anymore.
Meet Sarah Weaver - AKA S'Weaves. Sarah is so full of life it's absolutely contagious. We met Sarah years ago working together on a project where, let's just say wandering creatives could feel a bit caged. We shared our love of adventure and travel and immediately bonded and we are happy to follow S'Weaves Adventures around the world. She is one of the most bad ass, adventurous women we've ever met. She's run with the bulls, been a travel specialist in Spain, studied in Italy, taught english in South Korea and jumped off a cliff in Thailand. Read on to learn more about how Sarah became such a travel rockstar!
1. What is one of your favorite memories of travel?
My thighs are sticking to not only the leather seats below my bare thighs but also to the Australian Structural Engineer I met a mere 72 hours ago. It is a hot July day. The windows are rolled down as we weave through Spain on AP-15. Within eight weeks of my first international flight, I had experienced more than a 19-year-old from Kansas thought possible. I lived with an Italian grandmother near the Piazza Republica in Florenza studying the Italian language five hours a day, five days a week. I went Running with the Bulls in San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, slept in a tent for the second time in my life, got into a car with strangers for a six-hour road trip, and was about to go skydiving for the first time. That first summer abroad is how it all started: I caught the travel bug.
Since then, I have called my parents to tell them I wouldn’t be returning to what-would-have-been my sophomore year at college. I have visited six of the seven continents. I have hiked mountains in South Korea and jumped off cliffs in Thailand (okay, I technically fell but, thankfully, into the sea). I have been lonely and scared and out of my element and most importantly, I have been brave. I have also been weak and humiliated and in debt and out of debt and out of my mind. But I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Traveling has become part of my identity. I peel my sweaty legs off the faux leather seats and climb out into what looks like an abandoned field. A small prop plane swirls above us as we are debriefed on the safety procedure or lack-thereof. My tandem guide speaks zero English. The office also ran out of English contracts, so I sign on the dotted line on a contract in Catalan. “Less!” “Less!” he yelled as we are plummeting to the ground. Realizing he is trying to speak English, the ground seems closer and closer every second (because it is!)
“¡Habla español!” I exclaim. “¡Parli español!” I yell. Neither of which are in Catalan.
“¡Pies, pierna, levanta!” and “¡Levanta la pierna!” he yells.
Well, why didn’t you just say so?
2. If you could choose just one, what would be your favorite meal or food experience when you were traveling?
Nothing can compare to the less-than-two-dollar meals in Thailand. I wish I could say this nine-course meal in Tokyo but the truth is my budget doesn’t allow for those, yet! Yet, being the main word in that sentence. Budget travel does not mean eating stove top ramen in hostel kitchens or skipping meals or substituting free toast. Budget travel means doing your research on 49 cent tacos in Mexico City and how to score the best free tapas in Granada. Bless, tapas in Granada!
3. What are 3 essentials you would recommend everyone have in their carry-on?
Ear plugs, night mask and audiobook. Podcasts seem to be king but I am a fan of a good audiobook. My favorites from this year: Modern Roman by Aziz Ansari, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Plus, if an audiobook doesn’t grab your attention, it can put you right to sleep (not listing the books that have done that).
4. What fuels your love of adventure and new experiences?
Connections. Have you ever met someone and you just want to keep talking to them? You want to know how did they get that job? Or what was it like to trek that mountain? It are these moments when I meet someone who has biked up the Continental Divide from America into Canada or the professor who flies to Chiang Mai twice a year to do research but this time to get her teeth fixed. These moments energize me; they bring me more joy than most others things can. They wipe away the jetlag, the lost wallet, the having an upset stomach (and I mean a REALLY upset stomach) on the Inca Trail, the missing a flight at midnight in Morocco. These connections make everything worth it and keeps me wanting more.
5. Do you have a favorite Travel Book or Movie?
If you want to read about two badass women, you must read Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman. If you want to step back into time, this is the true story of the real Amazing Race. In 1889, two female journalist race around to circumnavigate the globe while the whole world watches via newspaper. There’s no instant gratification or instagram selfies, just pure adventure and treacherous journey as these badass twenty-somethings set out to do something no one has ever done before. The historical context alone will keep me wanting more. And, did I mention it is a true story?
If you want to laugh out loud, pick up Maarten Troost’s Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. This laugh-out-loud tale is Troost’s way of venting about the things he goes through on these tiny South Pacific islands. When I was in college, I watched Into the Wild at least 20 times. Now, that I am older it upsets me how lonely he feels at the end (you know, that constant fear that I’m destined to travel alone always!).
6. What’s next on your bucket list?
I am flying to Austin for a Bachelorette Party this weekend and then D.C. to visit a friend and see Chris Guillebeau speak on his new book tour. For anyone looking for a great weekend getaway, I highly recommend Austin. A day on a boat on Lake Travis or Lady Bird Lady followed by a night out on Rainey street followed by late night drinks on what-we-call Dirty Sixth. But trips I want on my bucket list? I want to ride a motorbike up through Vietnam and sail from Panama to Colombia. Those are two experiences I am saving up for and hope to knock off the list in 2018.
Would you mind sharing a funny travel memory with us?
I love packing. Clothes scattered the guest bed of my parents’ house. When did this become the guest room? I thought this was my old room? Piles of maybes, yes’s and I know I-shouldn’t-but-I-really-want-to-pack-this. I grin to myself when I hear people say, “I hate packing!” For me, it means another flight, another taxi or tuk tuk ride and yet another adventure of unknowns. I secretly love packing.