Name: Shazia Chiu
Hometown: Provo, UT
Languages: English, Spanish (I), Icelandic (B)
Most McDonald’s visited in one day for free WiFi: 4
Intro: Hi! My name is Shazia Chiu. I’m a recent college grad from Provo, UT. When I’m not busy with freelance writing or working as a brand ambassador, I enjoy horseback riding, outdoor sports, crafts, and language learning. I’ve been married to my best friend and travel partner Taylor for almost three years.
Where have you lived/for how long: I lived in Kentfield, CA for eight years and Utah (Midvale and Provo) for roughly 14 years. My family also lived in Pakistan for 7 months, but I barely remember that since I was only a wee babe!
How would you describe your travel style?
I usually fall somewhere between a frenetic and relaxed pace, depending on the trip. Since I work while I travel I can’t change locations much during the week, but once the weekend hits I like to head off to a different town, city, or country ASAP!
Favorite destination and why?
It’s so majestic and mysterious! Even though plenty of travelers visit Iceland each year it’s possible to avoid most of them since everything is so remote. I’m already planning my next trip back!
Least favorite destination and why?
Las Vegas, NV
Honestly I’ve loved and hated aspects of every place I’ve been, but my least favorite destination is probably Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve been there several times for work and play and I just don’t see the draw!
Ultimate dream all expenses paid trip?
My dream trip is a long, luxury Arctic-landscape cruise with hardcore, multi-day expeditions in Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Svalbard, Norway, and then allll the way down in Antarctica. That would be absolutely epic!!
What are your must have’s for day trips?
Water! It’s the worst when you’re thirsty and there’s none available. I also like a phrasebook or a dictionary for foreign destinations, as well as a camera for pictures
What camera do you use?
We’re a bit lazy about lugging around big cameras, so even though we own a Nikon D7000, we usually just shoot with an iPhone. I’m getting into film photography so I just bought a Minolta XGA!
How do you give back when you travel?
I try to be conscientious of the culture and environment of the places I visit. I think it’s important to keep places clean, to show respect for local customs, and to be kind to everyone that I meet!
What type of backpack do you use/ how much luggage do you travel with?
I only take a 36 L Osprey pack along with a Cotopaxi daypack. I love my Osprey because it’s sturdy and reliable, and my Cotopaxi pack is great for a day of sightseeing or an afternoon of hiking.
What items are your “must haves” for longer trips?
Adapters, back-up chargers, several forms of ID/scans of my passport, Emergen-Cee to stop colds, and painkillers!
Do you have a favorite travel app/why:
Google Maps. Boring, I know, but it’s saved me so many times!
What do you leave behind on longer trips?
I don’t bring along much makeup or any hot hair tools, even though I’d like to have them at times when I feel like not being a total nomadic bum
-individual questions for Shazia-
As you work in finance, what would your advice be to those oscillating between saving for retirement and wanting to travel?
We put a bit of money aside each month for travel, as well as a chunk for investing. It’s really important for us to have a strategy where we’re enjoying our lives now, but we’re also saving and preparing for our future so that we can fully enjoy that, too!
How do you balance work and travel?
Each day I try to designate time for work and time for exploring when I’m away from home. That way I don’t get too sucked into one or the other!
What are your best travel tips?
- Use packing cubes to create more space in your bag,
- Carry around a wallet with expired cards and foreign currency that you can give up if you’re robbed
- Get debit and credit cards that lack foreign transaction fees, and
- Always be prepared with Dramamine for plane trips and long bus rides!
What are your worst travel tips?
Haha, arrive an hour early for an international flight with weapons, a ton of random liquids, and live animals stuffed in your luggage!
Where have you felt most at peace?
The beaches in Thailand! Sooo beautiful and isolated!
Where does your love for travel come from? (or what motivates you to travel)?
I love the free feeling I get when I’m on the road. It’s nice to know that my schedule is entirely up to me (aside from work!), and that I get to spend so much time getting to know my husband better. I also love the ample opportunities I have to meet cool new people when I’m out of my normal environment.
Where are you off to next?
I’m about to leave for 9ish months to explore Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Europe! So excited!!