This week’s Go! Girl is Suzy Guese, the fiery redhead behind her self-titled travel site. Check out her recommendations for gems in Italy, who her “travel saints” have been and more on this week’s Girls that Go!
GGG: Welcome to Girls that Go! Who are you and how did you get your start traveling?
My name is Suzy Guese. I started traveling when I was about three months old. My parents decided to take four kids, including me, to Orlando.
They must have been out of their minds as that was my first flight. While we traveled a lot growing up on road trips across the U.S. and in Europe, I didn’t really start traveling by myself until I studied abroad for a year in Italy.
I spent time eating far too much gelato in Sicily and Florence. That stint overseas really sparked my whole career and zest for travel.
GGG: Speaking of Italy, you’ve traveled all over it! Where are a few spots you’d recommend that are maybe a bit off the beaten path?
I can’t recommend Sicily enough. The layers of history on that island are truly incredible, but they are not often on Italy itineraries.
Sardinia is also one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. On the mainland, one of my favorite cities is Bolzano. It was part of Austria until the 1920s so it is this culturally confused place.
Pizzerias perch next to biergartens. I love the crashing of cultures in Bolzano, but I don’t think many get up there.
Bolzano offers plenty to see and do including visiting a 5,000-year-old iceman and dramatic cable car rides.
GGG: You recently did your first solo trip in Ireland. What was your favorite thing about traveling alone? Least favorite?
I really enjoyed the overall confidence you gain through solo travel.
I drove on the wrong side of the road. I chatted with locals at cafes and pubs. I found comfort in eating alone and forging my own itinerary each day.
That confidence to do things on your own is incredibly empowering. I know traveling alone in Ireland really helped me recognize that I can do whatever I put my mind to in the end.
My least favorite aspect to solo travel is not having someone that knows you well by your side. Sometimes when you are robbed in a foreign city or just having a bad day abroad, you want to release it all on someone that knows you and can comfort you.
If you are traveling alone, sure you will meet people, but they won’t know you like a best friend or family member to lend that comfort.
GGG: One of your regular site columns is “Suzy Stumbles Over Travel,” a small compilation of the week’s best travel blogging as submitted by your readers. Why did you decide to do these features, and what have you learned from it?
I decided to start Suzy Stumbles Over Travel as not just a way to see what was going on in travel around the travel blogging world but also to shine some light on some writers that might not get noticed.
There are loads of travel blogs out there and the big ones tend to mask some great stories going on blogs that are smaller and just starting out. I wanted to help bring those great reads to a bigger audience if I can.
I have learned loads about travel from all of the articles that I read. Whether it is travel tips or just a new destination, I am constantly enlightened.
GGG: Other than traveling abroad, you also take time to travel within the United States. Where has been a place that surprised you or exceeded your expectations?
I did a road trip through the U.S. South last fall. I was really surprised by places in North Carolina and South Carolina.
People in the south are just so hospitable. They make you feel like you belong in these parts, even if in essence you don’t.
North Carolina has such a varied landscape and South Carolina blew me away with every meal and stroll through the streets of Charleston.
GGG: As a natural redhead, you proclaim that you travel “with a redheaded temperament”. What does that mean to you?
We often create packing lists of material possessions that we shouldn’t leave home without. On those lists, I think we sometimes forget to pack ourselves, our personalities.
As a natural redhead, it might just be my fate to always bring my personality when I travel. The best travels are those where you truly place yourself in the destination.
I’m not afraid to speak up when someone mistreats me on the road. I try to have fun with every experience that comes on the road.
I may cry, laugh or scream my way through a hiccup in the road, but that is all a part of travel. Redheads tend to know no bounds for what they can accomplish. I like to think of travel that way.
Young, old, single, married, broke, rich, travel is all the same to me no matter how you go about it. We can all be redheads when we travel in adopting the attitude that there are no limits to where you can go, what you can see and how you will change in the process.
GGG: You wrote about a “travel saint” you met while lost in Sicily. Since then, have you met any other helpers sent from the travel gods?
Luckily, I have met more travel saints. The saints of travel are everywhere problems follow me.
In Ireland, I arrived incredibly jet lagged and probably not ready to drive on the wrong side of the road for the first time. While trying to navigate to my hotel, I ended up heading down the lane of no return. It gradually became smaller and smaller and I quickly met a dead end with nowhere to turn around.
I knew that I would hit the very near and dear stonewall next to me if I didn’t ask for help. Two men in business suits were standing at the dead end, but really to me, they looked like angels.
I asked one of them to just back my car out. They laughed and chuckled in those sly Irish accents, probably a sign I was living up to American girl stereotypes, but they saved me from scraping the side of my rented wheels.
I owe them thousands.
Another travel saint near and dear to my heart are my host parents in Florence. I lived with this elderly Florentine couple when I studied abroad in Florence.
After I graduated college, I returned to Italy to be an au pair. When I found my living conditions to be a hallway and a lackluster family greeting me, I packed up my bags and knocked on the door of my “Italian parents”.
They welcomed me with open arms when I was lost and in search of direction, the perfect definition of travel saints.
GGG: Perhaps the most important question: where are you headed next?
Next week I am headed to Arkansas to do a bit of exploring in a state few explore. I want to see the leaves changing on the Ozarks.
After that I’m off to Europe to see a bit of Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. In other words, I’m beyond excited to experience winter in Europe and in these places.
All photos in this post are courtesy of Suzy Guese.