Boarding Pass – Alice-Kate Raisch
Without a doubt, the best part about grad school is who you meet along the way. Although Alice-Kate Raisch and I never had class together, we quickly bonded over travel. She’s currently working on her thesis, studying the impact of travel and tourism in post-conflict regions, with a specific look at female education rates around Siem Reap, Cambodia. When not studying she’s the marketing and communications consultant for VINGT Paris. Often writing for them, publishing articles on hotels and events around Paris, Alice-Kate also contributes to some high profile travel review guides. Today’s Boarding Pass has me itching to go some place new. Thanks, Alice-Kate!
Last trip taken:
Greece. Athens and Mykonos in early April. My fiancé came to visit from the States for a spell during my spring break from classes so we started in Paris where I surprised him with a 24-hour Vespa rental (two helmets) to explore the city via scooter. Highly recommended vantage point especially if you have an assertive driver at the helm and a perfect Parisian day. Then we set out to Athens to hit the main attractions, be inspired, then mused on these archaeological feats while puffing on hookah and playing checkers at an out of the way café. After seeing the Acropolis from every angle and in every light, we pressed on to the islands via high-speed boat that surprised us both in terms of comfort and luxury. Mykonos, known as the hedonistic paradise for the party-going crowd, did not resemble its travel guide profiles. Early April is still prior to the official season, so we had the island to ourselves, including: private beaches, empty roads and cavernous clubs. We continued our new tradition of motor vehicle rental in foreign cities and borrowed an ATV for the day to traverse the whole of the island, had a snack on the water without another soul in sight, and capped off the evening festivities by playing DJ in an empty dance hall because we were the only patrons. I enjoy life in the off-season.
Next trip on deck:
Road Trip through Iceland. I have completed my classes here in Paris and am on to the thesis writing portion with field work in Siem Reap, Cambodia; however, I will touch home for the month of June in order to prepare and just be with family during the graduation rounds and range of summer kickoff events usually held in humid backyards. The layover from CDG to JFK is Reykjavik, so, why not. The fiancé and I are meeting at the airport, packing up the rental, and taking off to be in awe of volcanoes, lush landscapes and rocky shores. (I also assume that everyone sings and dances across the countryside.)
One place you would go back to again and again:
What a tough question! Japan had so much to offer including generous and kind people and interesting juxtaposition from the arresting pulse of Tokyo to the spiritual centers of Nikko and Kyoto. I also visited my sister in South Africa and quickly realized I would not be able to accomplish the span of set travel objectives in a week’s time. I would love to go back and experience a safari and explore more outside of Cape Town proper.
Place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Fez. The maze of the medina, the traditional craftsmen focused on perfection, the intensity of the central market, the visions (and pungent smells) of the tannery, the delectable tagine plates, views from the rooftops and the pleasing cacophony that only a city hard at work can produce, all make Fez an intoxicating experience.
Preferred method of transportation:
Train all the way. I think it is the most conducive to pensive moments, easiest in terms of security and allows a traveler the right ratio of time to distance in order to properly transition to the destination.
Place you’ve never been but dying to go:
South America. I know that is quite a large piece of territory to just throw out there but I am dying to do it all from Peru to Brazil, the Galápagos Islands to the Andes. Right now, it is number one on my honeymoon wish list and will simply need to maneuver ample vacation time (and finances) to make it happen.
Place you’d never go back:
I lived in a trailer in Wyoming among the Tetons for a cherished summer, but will probably never make it back to Cheyenne and be OK with that.
Most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Witnessing the ancient wonders of Egypt and Jordan coupled with the modern culture comparison to the Western nations was one of the most eye-opening and inward searching experiences. I have never felt so small physically as well as humbled in terms of historic accomplishments.
How do you prepare for a trip?
As long as I plan out travel logistics and where I am laying my head, the rest is usually planned while in the thick of it, including gastronomy choices, daily agendas, etc. With a good travel companion, I find it more enjoyable to have a free schedule with a general idea of what you want to accomplish. Flexibility to the twists and turns inherent in traveling to far off (and even nearby) locations is key in my book. (And also a vital in life!)
How do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Photos, photos and more photos. I also capture moments in a leather journal I use only when traveling.
What is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
Street scenes in cities, interacting locals, food-filled tables, signage, and details in terms of architecture.
On an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
Roughly 100 to 150 a day
What’s in your “designer travel kit”?
Canon Rebel, Flip for video, leather (durable) sketch notebook for thoughts and doodles.
What do you do after a trip?
Upload to Facebook, send slideshows to all friends who joined on the trip and old school developed prints for my parents. They are still keen on the tactile and like to dump them in a basket full of memories. With this method, the travels haphazardly intermingle with kindergarten graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and family reunions. (A bit of a controlled chaos collection, if you will.)
How long after a trip does this happen?
Almost immediately! Not because of a hyper organization strand (which I openly admit to), but more to relive the journey as each photo filters through to create the album.
Favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I love buying genuine but cheap pieces of original art and then getting them professionally framed when I return home. That way, when I do a quick scan of my walls, I feel the warmth of past adventures.
BOARDING PASS is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel.