Fathomaway Compass

I travel for the Good

Fathom Questionnaire: Charyn Pfeuffer

by Charyn Pfeuffer

Charyn and her trusty hound, Manita.

Hometown: Seattle, Washington.

Occupation: Freelance writer and director of social media.

Favorite destinations: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, Peru (especially the Amazon), Sonora Resort, B.C., The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (I love all of Colorado and would likely live there if I weren't in Washington), Spain, New York City, the B and C of the ABC Islands, Boquete, Panama, and, when I want a super-luxe stay in the sun, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

Dying to visit: Colombia.

Bizarre travel rituals: If I'm traveling solo, I jot down where I'm going, the time I left, and the name of the person I'm meeting (if applicable) on the notepad in the hotel room. I also register all trips abroad with the U.S. Embassy just to be safe.

In-flight relaxation regime: A gin and tonic. If it's a redeye, I'll add half an Ambien, which will put me to sleep before the intro credits of the in-flight film are finished. Otherwise, I just try to relax, be comfortable, and enjoy the ride.

Always in carry-on: SmartWool socks, Benadryl, a warm wrap, earplugs, a stockpile of magazines, reusable water bottle, Phytomer Oxygenating Serum, Burt's Bees Lip Balm, and Sahale snacks.

Concierge or DIY? DIY.

See it all or take it easy? Take it easy.

Drive or be driven? Drive.

Travel hero: Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, followed closely by the Cousteau family.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: I saw syringes being reused for yellow fever vaccinations in Peru. I now travel with an assortment of different gauge needles in my trusty travel first aid kit.

Best hotel amenity: Breakfast in bed. I love a leisurely morning in bed in a comfy robe with a big pot of coffee and a local newspaper before starting the day. Reading the local paper helps me better understand a new destination and, in Spanish-speaking countries, helps me practice my language skills.

I dream about my meal at El Bulli in Spain — we went for my 35th birthday.  

Everywhere I go, I check out the supermarkets, parks, plazas and public spaces, hotel lobbies, artisan markets, and local fare.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by strapping on sneakers and hitting to streets to get to know the neighborhood. I like to know where I am and what's around me, and this usually involves a stop at a local café or bar to chat with a local about the things I should see and do that a concierge may not tell me.

I always bring home spices, hot sauces, cured meats, illegal cheeses, woven goods like hats, gloves, and scarves, handmade paper, and lots of photos. 

If I never return to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it'll be too soon, because I never felt less safe as a solo female traveler than I did when volunteering there in 2010 — and I was staying in the compound of Basilica de Suyapa. I loved my volunteer work there, but the daily safety concerns were a bit overwhelming.

I travel for the good. 

Charyn Pfeuffer

Charyn is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer and a director of social media in Seattle. Follow her on Twitter @charynpfeuffer. She travels for the greater perspective on the world.

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