Hello! Welcome to Travels with Talek.
This blog was created to inspire you to travel and explore experiences in interesting locations. You won’t find an all-inclusive resort in these pages. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. I want you to be as excited about traveling as I am. I want you to imagine yourself in a Turkish bazaar inhaling the smells of the spice market. To feel the exhilaration of anticipating that next dip as you raft down the Zambezi River with local guides. To marvel at the Statue of Liberty as you slowly drift past on the Ferry. It’s all about the experiences that I hope will stay with you for a lifetime.
I guess you could say I began traveling before I was born. My mother was very pregnant with me when she traveled from Cuba to New York City where I was born. Growing up my mother took me to Cuba to visit family. I loved being there. When travel to Cuba became difficult I listened to my family’s Cuba stories and imagined being there.
When I was six I asked a relative where he was going. He flippantly responded, “To the end of the world”. I thought that was a real place. I became fascinated with knowing where this place was. What did it look like? Was it hot there? What where the people like? How far was it? How long would it take to get there? Shortly thereafter, on a cold morning I woke up very early and left the house when everyone else was still asleep. I went to look for the end of the world which I imagined was somewhere beyond 72nd street and Broadway, the farthest I had ever walked. To this day I remember the way I felt that day; the excitement, anticipation and wonder at what I would find once I reached the end of the world. After a few blocks I got really cold. I went back home and got into bed thinking I might not have gotten to the end of the world that time, but someday I would.
Growing up my mother had a travel agency. On the largest wall there was a massive map that covered the entire wall from ceiling to floor. I would stare at that map for hours imagining what life was like in different locations. I knew someday I would visit these intriguing places. Even at a very early age I just assumed it was just a matter of time; you grew up, you travelled…to me it was just one of the immutable and inevitable facts of life.
My early years’ experiences in Cuba, that brief conversation about the end of the world and the map on my mother’s wall is what instilled in me a passion for travel, exploration and different cultures.
In college I determined that whatever I studied would have to lead to the ultimate goal of traveling. I obtained a Masters in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania but felt that alone could not guarantee me a career that would enable me to travel as much as I wanted, so I got an MBA in International Business. My Spanish language background and love of languages also helped me. Over the years I learned Italian, Portuguese and enough French to manage.
My background led to a career in international business. This has allowed me to feed my voracious wanderlust traveling to over 100 countries and living in Colombia, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Mexico and the UK. I’ve worked throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and South America in places as diverse as Nigeria, China and Argentina.
TRAVEL MAKES YOU HAPPY
Travel makes you happy. It just makes you feel good in a way nothing else does. Seeing a place for the first time is especially electrifying; tasting new foods, finding your way around, communicating. The feeling of being a world citizen you gain by sharing a meal with a Chinese farmer on a train from Shanghai to Xi’an is priceless. The thrill of zip-lining across crystalline lakes in Cuba is exhilarating. The challenge of finding your way around the hutong, or alleyways, of Beijing is rewarding. I also believe that travelling outside your comfort zone helps you hone practical skills used in your day-to-day life like problem solving, goal setting and communication.
WHAT I WANT TO SHARE
I want to share these experiences with you and inspire you to create your own unique experiences. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there.
Check out the blog, start planning, take that first step and live the dream. Let me know if you have any travel related questions and I will try my best to answer them. Or better yet, come with me on a future trip.
Goodbye for now!