- September 20th 2011
Next up in our series of travel blogger profiles is Marina Villatoro. Marina’s best known for her expert views on Central American and Latin American travel through the Travel Experta blog. Of the bloggers featured so far, Marina started traveling the earliest – she was a babe in arms when she took her first trip!
Marina, what’s your travel background?
I’ve been traveling since I was born. I took my first plane ride at 3 weeks old. However, the travels I remember started when I was in high school through Europe, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Israel, and then a study abroad program in England, to many cross country trips of the US, until my main gap year and half when I hopped on a bus in NYC and headed all the way down to Argentina and Chile. In total I’ve been to over 36 countries, and counting.
Now my travels are mainly with my family around Central America and the US.
What’s different about your blog or site?
My blog, Travel Experta, is a bit different because I focus on Central America and Latin America. Few travel blogs are so specific and niche. With that I am able to provide more help to readers that have these destinations in mind. I focus on everything about this region from what to do, where to stay, for families and couples and everything in between.
What’s the most unexpected thing that has ever happened to you when you travelled and how did you handle it?
The most unexpected and life-changing for me was when I crossed over the border of Belize to Tikal, Guatemala and found myself camping next to a young Guatemalan. One thing led to another and we have been married for 8 years, with 2 amazing boys and I have been living my dream of being an expat!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d meet my husband camping in the middle of a jungle.
What do you ALWAYS travel with?
My laptop! Unfortunately and actually very fortunately, my business is 100% location independent, so I can work from anywhere. But that also means not going anywhere without my computer.
What place is on your travel bucket list? Why?
I focus on realistic bucket lists. For instance, I know that in the next several years I won’t make it to India, since I prefer to do that when my kids are older.
So my bucket list for now is in the areas that I know I will have a chance to visit. For now, I really really want to go over Mirador Mayan ruins in a helicopter. You can’t get there the conventional way, but either by helicopter or on a mule. I’ll skip the mule!
What is your favourite travel planning tool?
Myself! I am an addict to planning my trips. It’s one of my bigger joys before going! I just sit on the computer and read all I can from every site possible, and do a bit of cross checking with guide books. But I find guidebooks to be bad and unhelpful. That’s why I’m actually creating guidebooks for families to make it so much easier to plan, especially with kids.
Anything to add?
The reason I started blogging, way back when, was to inspire people to travel with their families to the not-so conventional places. And over the years showing my family in the different spots of the world, doing tours and other fun stuff has helped my readers also take trips with their families, which is super!
I hope more people realize how ABSOLUTELY important it is for kids to travel, it opens their minds and makes them global citizens without discrimination and judgements!
Thanks, Marina. I totally agree with you about the importance of travel for kids.
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