Trippy asked a panel of travelers from all walks of life to answer the same seven travel-related questions. Here are the stories behind the excursions of one of those travelers, Trippy member Chiara Townley. Chiara is an expert on San Francisco, Milan, London, and Seattle among other place, so be sure to hit her up for travel advice if you have plans to visit any of those cities. And for more on Chiara herself, see her bio below! What is the kindest thing anyone ever did for you while you were traveling? The kindest thing that ever happened to me was in London, the place where I believe anything can happen! I was waiting for some friends on Oxford Street when a man dressed with a suit, came to talk to me. He talked like if he knew what I was going through in that moment of my life, I remember I was sad because I had been looking for a job for a while and couldn’t get it. He said: “I have been there, I know it’s hard to start a new life but remember London is the center if the world and you have to fight and never give up because good things are coming your way! ” After that he asked me if I knew what was the color of the 20 pounds. I said “Violet,” and he put 20 pounds in my hand and left me a card saying that if I needed I could call him and that he liked to help people. I was shocked, when I told my friends the story they were worried the money was fake, but somehow I felt I could trust that person so the result was that I paid my dinner with those 20 pounds. I have never called this person but I never forgot this unusual, strange and beautiful act of kindness. What’s the most fascinating subculture you ever encountered while traveling? The most fascinating subculture I met was in Brazil. I have worked in Maceio, in the north east of the country in a resort in 2004. I was just 19 years old and everything was so different from Europe. I discovered the culture of this part of the world through the group that I used to work with so for me it was a little subculture in the middle of all the other Italians working there and the Italian guests. They were always smiling and they were very open minded with no prejudices no judgment and no taboo. My best friends were gays and bisexual, they used to dance in a very sexy way careless of the opinion of others because they were born with rhythm, when we had to change clothes for the musicals we performed they used to do it in front of me with no shame. I loved their attitude and they taught me a lot at that age. Thanks to that incredible experience of three months now I am very open minded, I know how to dance and I am always myself with no shame. When I close my eyes I can smell/ taste the Ocean and it takes me back to my time in Tenerife. I lived two years in Tenerife, a Spanish island between Europe and Africa. Living in an island in Europe but so close to Africa makes you feel like in a sort of Neverland, away from everything else, it’s always warm there so you lose the track of time and space. The ocean was so close to me, and every time I needed some time for my self I would go to take a walk by the ocean so this is the smell I taste if I close my eyes. One travel expense that is always worth the money is Greece. I went in 2008 with a group of friends, we took a flight to Athens and from there, ferries to the islands, we visited Paros, Mykonos, Naxos. Greece is a trip worth the money because it has a unique scenery, all the buildings of the islands are white and blue so the atmoshpere is paradisiacal plus the beaches are beautiful, the stay is affordable and the food is great. The most incredible attraction I’ve ever seen is: the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. At sunset the vision of the Mosque with its lights is the most breathtaking attraction I have seen until now. In that moment I felt all the exotic atmosphere of the Arabic world embracing me. The best meal I ever had while traveling was probably in Naxos, Greece in 2008. I don’t remember exactly what I had but because we were a big group I remember we shared many different dishes of meat and fish: we had moussaka, souvlaki, shrimp and Greek salad. I love Mediterranean flavors and especially Greek food because it’s healthy and cheap. The first time I felt like a traveler and not a tourist was during my trip to Istanbul, Turkey. I have been lucky enough to be a guest in the house of a Turkish friend of mine. I lived in her house with her family and experienced a lot of their culture and traditions. Her parents didn’t speak English and unfortunately I couldn’t talk to them but I will always remember their love for me through their gestures and their smiles. Chiara, in her own words: I am a native Italian with the passion for traveling. I like discovering and experiencing a country with locals, I studied languages and tourism management to make of this passion my work. I have lived in Brazil, UK, Spain and US. I recently got married with my American love met in London and we live in San Francisco. I have a curious adventurous spirit and I am always ready and excited to discover and learn new things. You can catch Chiara and her insightful travel advice here on Trippy! Interested in answering these Seven Questions on our blog? Then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!