Interview: Travelita Frankie Owens
Travelita: 1. Okay, Frankie, what was the specific incident that got you to this interview?
You invited me to participate.
Travelita: 2. What does traveling mean to you?
Traveling is a means of respite and enjoyment away from the responsibilities of day to day life. To experience new things, new adventures, and different people in different surroundings.
Travelita: 3. Why is that important?
I feel that traveling is important to live a more interesting and well rounded life. You never know what’s out there until you GO!
Travelita: 4. Now that I know what it is, now that I know why it’s important and relevant, how are you implementing this on your travels? I mean like, is there a process, that you follow when traveling?
Well, I would like to say that I’ve traveled a lot, but such is unfortunately not the case. I mostly travel in the US to either local areas near home in California, or to the East Coast where I grew up and where my family (sister, cousins, etc.) still live. However, that said, I do like to explore and experience something/someplace new each time I have the opportunity to go back East, as there’s so much that’s changed over the last 30 years since I moved to the West Coast.
Travelita: 5. What if people took advantage of your tips and steps you are providing? What will happen, how will their travels change?
Since my travel has been fairly limited to vacation time from full time job, I could only say that I do wish I could travel more often. So advice to anyone is to TRAVEL WHENEVER YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY – IT’S A HUGE, BEAUTIFUL WORLD AWAITING YOU!
Travelita: 6. Now we would like to get just some general information about you and your travels:
– When did you start traveling?
Local travel growing up in Massachusetts (USA), I traveled every summer to Cape Cod – only an hour and a half drive away, but like another world. It’s by the beach, and there’s no place better for me to feel at home and be “in my element” – I always feel safe and relaxed there….. like going home. But every day brought new beauty with every stay.
In High School I took my first plane trip to Paris, France along with my school. My sister, brother, their best friends, as well as one of my best friends also were on the 10 day trip. That was in 1973 and it was AMAZING!! That trip allowed me to realize the vast world of beautiful cultures with such similarities and differences, yet know we are all people wanting to enjoy life.
Travelita: – Do you remember how you felt when you traveled alone for the first time?
Well traveling cross country (across the United States from West to East Coast and return) is vastly different than traveling to another country. I remember traveling to Germany and Salzburg, Austria with a friend, and neither of us spoke language other than English, yet we were able to communicate and feel safe among the locals. I wasn’t fearful at all. It was just a beautiful adventure.
Travelita: – How did you, or do you deal with fears?
I’m not necessarily fearful when I travel. I guess my biggest fear is being late for a flight! I like to plan ahead as much as possible to eliminate those kinds of fears. And I act cautiously and carry myself with confidence so anyone who MAY be lurking to do harm is more intimidate by me first!
Travelita: – Is there a place where you have been and you would definitely not recommend it for women on their own and why?
I would definitely not travel to Mexico alone. Nor the Dominican Republic. I’ve just heard way too many stories of people being kidnapped or disappearing or being robbed and thrown in jail when they are innocent. My former roommate is a beautiful Mexican girl, and the police actually stopped her on the road while driving and stole her two dogs because the simply liked them. There’s corruption in government there, and that’s a fear for me. And I traveled to Mexico with a group of friends. On the way home, we were stopped at the border, and my closest friend with us loved to see me drink because he thought I was really funny when I drink (fyi – I don’t drink alcohol at all anymore). Anyhow, the border patrol wouldn’t let us cross back into the United States until I was able to verbalize “I am a United States citizen.” That was very difficult for me after having too many drinks and slurring my words. Finally after much time, they let us drive through. But that was scary. They could have detained me in Tijuana for the night!!
I’d just recommend doing your research before traveling alone to anyplace so you can feel safe and enjoy the culture.
Travelita: – Do you still have this excitement, when you go on a trip?
Yes, I love it! I’m a planner, so I like to know and have secured my place when I get there. I’m one who feels more comfortable knowing the basic schedule of events before I go. Though I always like to take an adventure once I’m there!
Travelita: – what are your top 5 destinations and why?
Oh goodness, this is a tough question. The world is SO vast that I’m sure there’s MANY destinations I’d love to visit, nationally and internationally that I don’t even know about!
Because I’m half Italian, I’d have to say Italy (ALL over the small towns and local places). My maternal grandparents are from Avellino, a small province of Campania region near Naples. I’d love to find extended family there and truly engross myself in my Italian heritage. And of course must experience the Italian cuisine including ‘real’ pizza and cannoli!
I didn’t know my dad’s parents, though they were from Canada and Wales – so I’d love to visit the countryside there as well. Such greenery and beauty I’ve seen in photos!
For places I’ve already visited, France, Austria, and Germany were phenomenally rich with history and beauty. I’d love to experience that again! Since I always feel at home on the beach, that’s definitely in my top 5 destinations no matter where I go.
Travelita: – The funniest story that happened to you when traveling?
Hmmmm… Let me think. Oh I can share this one! It was Christmas in Salzburg, Austria. Somehow our reservations for dinner were messed up and we seriously couldn’t find anyplace to have a meal – everyplace was booked or closed. So we ended up having some strange grilled cheese sandwiches where the cheese wasn’t even melted. It was sort of sad at the time, but we laughed about it as we were so hungry and ate it anyway.
Travelita: 7. What do you want people to do?
Be free to travel, though do your homework and if you are alone, make sure you take some precautions. I think it’s a must to be prepared, and ensure you have an emergency contact “just in case” who knows your itinerary and any details should you need any assistance when you’re away.
Travelita: Thank you for the interview!
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