Boarding Pass – Dorkys Ramos

Dorkys Ramos is a NYC-based magazine writer with a zest for travel. Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, Time Out New York and Anthology magazine amongst numerous other publications, while her blog, Dry as Toast looks at anything from inspiring creativity to life in NYC, and her own travels. After her recent 23-day backpacking trip around Europe I’ve been dying to get inside her travel style and am so excited to have her on today’s edition of Boarding Pass. Thanks, Dorkys!
A boat tour in Los Cabos, Mexico.

home town: New York City
where you live now: New York City

New York City from the top of the Empire State Building.

last trip taken:
A 23-day backpacking trip through eight cities in Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, and Italy with my boyfriend, A. about two months ago. During that time we went to Berlin, Prague, Munich, Paris, Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, and Rome. What made it even sweeter is that we figured out every detail ourselves. An overwhelming undertaking with just three weeks to plan it, but we were happy that it all happened without any glitches.
Prague, Czech Republic

Full moon over Florence, Italy

next trip on deck:
My friend just asked if I’d like to go to Montreal with her so I might be heading to Canada next. I’ve only explored Niagara Falls for a day and ventured into the Canadian side for a night so I don’t think I can truly say that I’ve traveled to Canada yet.
Looking down onto the streets of Montmartre in Paris, France.

one place you would go back to again and again:
Paris without a doubt.
Buying flowers and fruits on Rue Cler in Paris, France.

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Costa Rica. I know my friends’ jaws will drop at the sheer amount of nature that can exist in one place. You don’t realize how powerful, rejuvenating, and necessary this is when you’ve lived in a concrete jungle your whole life. For honeymooners eyeing the Caribbean, I’d recommend St. Lucia.
Overlooking the Pitons in St. Lucia.

preferred method of transportation:
I always get this great rush (and the goofiest smile on my face) when the plane is speeding down the runway right before we take off to our destination. It just never gets old. And train rides are great to view the passing countryside and houses while contemplating and writing about how amazing and vast this world is. It makes you feel connected to everything and yet so small at the same time. Once I’m in the city, I like checking out the local subway system (to compare to NYC’s extensive one) and could walk for miles on end if you let me.
Dessert platter at Cap Maison hotel in St. Lucia.

Makeshift breakfast at our Paris Airbnb apartment.

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
There are still so many spots left on my list and since my previous position at Travel + Leisure magazine, it’s only grown more! Some are: Brazil, Greece, Egypt, and Japan.

Fresh berries at an outdoor market in Munich, Germany.

place you’d never go back:
Munich, but maybe it’s because we stayed in a hostel full of young college students right before the start of Oktoberfest when I’ve yet to acquire a taste for beer.Drowning in beer at Hofbrauhaus beer hall in Munich, Germany.

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Our three weeks in Europe in which I crossed off so many places I’d been dreaming of visiting in just one trip. I can’t wait to go on another adventure like that.
Getting my bearings at a rundown sculpture park in Berlin, Germany.

how do you prepare for a trip?
To prepare, I make way too many to-do lists like what to pack, what to see, where to go, what I need to get down before I leave, etc. I’m such a worry-wart so I like to have as much settled before I take off. Since our trip to Europe was our biggest one yet, A. and I created a Google Map for every city we were visiting and plotted out the things we’d each like to see. I also search for others’ itineraries and ask friends for suggestions. I’m such a last-minute packer though!
Raspberry sorbetto from Festival del Gelato in Florence, Italy.

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I take a lot of photos and carry a notebook to jot down thoughts, story ideas, streets and names of points of interests as we’re walking around. I also take along a map so I can remember the route we took during our walks. (Here’s the trail we took through Barcelona in one day and Rome on another).
Fresh fruit juices on La Rambla in Barcelona.

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
Whenever I check into a hotel room, the very first thing I do is hide my luggage and whip out the camera so I can remember each accommodation. For the last trip, A. and I gave our thoughts on every hotel, hostel, and Airbnb home we stayed in – all 10 of them. I also love photographing scenes such as landscapes and city streets and close-ups of food. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t happen as much as I’d like because my plate is usually halfway gone by the time I remember to snap a photo.
Hüttenpalast Hotel in Berlin, Germany.

Silken Diagonal Barcelona Hotel in Spain.

on an average, how many pictures do you take on a trip?
Somewhere around 200 or 300, but on our last trip we took more than 3,000 pictures! We bought our first digital SLR right before the trip so we went a little crazy on the documentation. We had a lot of fun getting to know the camera and testing out different techniques.
Cave Without a Name in Boerne, Texas.

what’s in your “designer travel kit”?
I’m an old-school writer so I still function with pen and paper. Any notebook will do, but I’m a pen snob and only like the Pentel R.S.V.P. ballpoints. Now that I just got a MacBook Pro, I might take than on my next trip so I can get some blogging and freelance work done while on the road. Our DSLR is a Canon Rebel T3i with an 18-135 mm zoom lens and a 50 mm/ f2.5 macro. That thing makes everyone look good!
White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.
Sledding down the sand dunes at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Zip lining over the forests of Costa Rica.

Wading through the Everglades in Florida.

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I try to blog about the trip and upload photos to share with friends over Facebook or a web album and try to do it as soon as I get back if not while I’m still traveling. Otherwise, life will take over, a month will go by, and people will still be wondering about those pictures. In fact, I only JUST made my Europe album on Picasa public the other day. I’ve also made scrapbooks in the past, but just haven’t had the time to sit and bang one out in a few years.
Chichen Itza in Mexico.

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I know I have too many already, but I love collecting notebooks and paper goods from little stationery shops. The only problem is that afterwards I think they’re too precious to actually use. I also like to bring back the folded, tattered (and free) maps we’ve acquired during our travels. As for souvenirs for friends and family, I have a “no useless kitsch” rule so I prefer to bring back sweet goodies or send out postcards from the road.
Souvenir shop by Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Paris.

why is traveling so important to you?
Growing up, my parents took us back to their village in the Dominican Republic nearly every summer so I caught the travel bug early in life. Still, I always wished we’d visit someplace new, that we’d immersed ourselves in different cultures, geographies, and languages. Now that I can, I’m making up for lost time! I think seeing how others live can have a profound effect on how you view your own life and the people around and hopefully makes you less likely to perpetuate stereotypes and ignorant thoughts. To me, it’s food for the soul. I feel like I can bust through anything when I’m out there shedding fears and exploring new territory.
Mailboxes in Florence, Italy.

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Boarding Pass is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel.

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