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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.


Traveler Profile: Leora Novick

Zak Erving


Sparkpunk’s featured traveler this week is An American Girl In Transit’s Leora Novick, one of my fellow MatadorU alums and an adventurer in her own right. She, like many of us in the full-time travel circuit, left a great job at the height of the recession to bust her ass achieving a lifelong dream of seeing the world. It’s a great story, but I’d rather let her tell it:

Leora is a freelance travel writer with an extensive background in fashion. A former executive for Burberry, she now comments on style around the world at An American Girl in Transit. Leora is most interested in the different definitions of beauty around the world.

What’s your #1 personal rule of good travel practice?  Always approach the locals! I can’t tell you how many times a seemingly fun day can turn into a crazy, unpredictable adventure, just by interacting with some native people. Thats how I ended up at a Carnival paint throwing party in Lima, Peru.

Definitely not Ohio

Definitely not Ohio

Favorite geographic feature & real-world example: Maybe this stems from growing up in landlocked Ohio, but I have always had a special place in my heart for the ocean. I love the calming sounds of the waves, and staring out into the deep vastness. It makes me feel like a tiny part of this huge world. 

Longest time in transit: One year living in Israel, although backpacking for two months straight in Peru felt much longer. When you don’t know where you will end up tomorrow, each day really seems to stretch on forever.

What is your #1 ultimate travel goal?  If I am being truly honest…. GETTING MY OWN TRAVEL SHOW

What’s something you’re willing to spend a little extra money on? Accomodations with hot showers! Hot water can change my entire day.

If you had to pick one country’s signature beverage (alcoholic or non) and drink it exclusively for a year, what would you pick? Italy’s Bellini, particularly the secret recipes from Harry’s Bar in Lake Como. I tried unsuccessfully to learn their secret, but in the end it remained a delicious memory of La Dolce Vita.

What’s something you love about your home country? How much I have left to see! I have flown across the world to Thailand, but I still haven’t visited the French Quarter in New Orleans!

Campaigning against gravity

Campaigning against gravity

Share a powerful travel experience, or one of the most important thing you’ve learned from traveling: For me, I feel like traveling brings out the best in me. I am able to let go of my everyday worries, and just be in the moment. Plus, I am constantly putting myself in situations that normally would terrify me (mountain climbing in the rain..) and finding an inner strength I never knew I had. Its all about pushing your boundaries and seeing just how much you can really accomplish!

What’s the grossest/most exotic thing you’ve ever consumed? Fried squid eggs in Bangkok, Thailand. They look like candy…don’t be fooled like me!

If you had a travel mantra, what would it be? Travel=passion, but there’s no place like home. When you are camping out in the mountains of the Inca Trail for 4 days, your bed at home starts to look REALLY good. 

Finally, what are three posts from your own website that you’d love to share? I’d say that I’m most proud of Tiger Hunting in Ranthambhore, India5 Things to Do in Miraflores, Peru, and my observations of Small Town Life in the Peruvian Andes