Tell me, who are you and where do you live now?
My name is Federico Arrizabalaga Sandoval, a 30 something year old guy who was born in Chicago, raised in Spain and has lived in Belgium and Australia as well. I recently traveled for a year, am currently in Mexico but don’t know where I’ll be when you read this.
When did you first start to travel, and how?
Looking back in time I would say that the travel bug creaped in during my latter college years: the need to surf new waves became too appealing as it happens to any surf aficionado and I found myself dragging friends and brother to Portugal, southwest France and northern Spain. It is then that I began to feel the excitement that traveling gave me and thus contemplated traveling further away and for longer.
How many countries have you visited?
Check out this cool little map from www.travbuddy.com I use. I’ve been to Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela and Vietnam
Of these, which are your favourite and why?
Costa Rica (beautiful nature, lovely people and great surf) and Thailand (charming people and culture, superb food and a plethora of activities to do) have traditionally been at the top of the list, but I was recently in Taiwan and it blew me away: the people are in my opinion the nicest in the world (sorry Ticos, you are still very cool) and there is just so much to explore and do too.However, you know what? I consider naming a country as a “favorite” is not a good indicator as to how much you enjoy traveling there. What I actually think is important is the travel experience that stays with you years after visiting, and with this in mind sleeping in the desert(Tunisia), the views in Machu Picchu (Peru), Uyuni’s Salt flat (Bolivia) or relaxing in Corfu (Greece) are just a few of the many recurring memories I have.
Any place you would not go back to?
I once said that about Bulgaria because of a bad experience, but guess what, times change, life brings you new ones, and I can now tell you that I like it very much and will certainly go back.
Do you travel alone?
I have started several trips alone, but as always I end up meeting fellow travelers and making friends along the way. I have also done trips with friends, and ever since I got married I have done most of my traveling with my wife Liza, who had never backpacked before and now enjoys the experiences she is living which she never thought she would. Most of them anyhow… And I will now be traveling as well with my newborn son...what and adventure awaits for him!
Finally, do you have any hobbies besides traveling?
Absolutely. I love ocean sports such as surfing, bodyboarding or windsurfing, and just recently discovered I can snowboard too. I like to read, and sharing my passion for travel through my writing and photography though this website.