Meet March’s Guide Architect of the Month!

Each month, we like to showcase someone from the Wild Bum community. This month, as our Guide Architect of the Month feature, we are introducing you to Marie Hetherington! She is a female traveler who’s been all over the world. She is a valued part of our travel community and we can’t wait for you to get to know her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Marie and I am an engineer at a gold mine. I grew up in Michigan mostly, with a stint in France when my family moved back to my grandparent’s village. I moved to Colorado for college, and since graduation I’ve lived in rural Nevada, Charleston SC, New London CT, and we’re moving to Fernandina Beach FL in a few months!

My husband is in the Navy which is why we hop around so much. My work is located in rural northeastern Nevada and the schedule is ideal for traveling: I work 8 long hour days, and then I have 6 full days off. Essentially I only work every other week. This allows me to do some serious exploring and to fly home to the east coast. When I’m at work I live in a 31 ft. trailer and fully embrace the tiny living lifestyle!

What type of traveler are you and what would you say is your travel style?

When I travel I love to make myself feel like the place is my home. I like to stay in the cutest Airbnbs I can find, the cozier the better! I make sure to talk to the hosts and get any local tips, little known favorite spots, etc. 

I’m a big planner (obviously), but I also leave several unplanned days in my itinerary so I can take a spontaneous day trip or just have time to wander aimlessly through the streets. I love finding random little hole-in-the-wall spots on these “free days”!

The last thing that defines how I travel would probably be meeting up with friends! I have good friends and family scattered across the globe, so I usually like to align my trips with the chance to grab a bite with my buds. Sometimes this does mean going out of my way but it’s always worth it to catch up!

Where have you been? Where has been your favorite place?

I have been to 17 countries (mostly in Europe) and more than half of the states. It’s so hard to pick a favorite place but I’d have to say southern England! I went to Cornwall while in college for an event; the trip was fully paid for so that’s also a reason it’s my favorite. I love the rolling green hills, amazing seaside cliffs, and adorable little towns! Growing up in Michigan I was raised on pasties (little handheld meat and potato pies), so going to the place where pasties originated was a huge hit for me, I really ate them like every day.

Why did you decide to become a Guide Architect for Wild Bum?

I applied to be a guide architect because I really wanted a way to improve my writing skills and my photography skills. My role as an engineer is very technical and I don’t get to exercise much creative writing beyond the occasional colorful email so I love the opportunity to write both the guides and blog posts! I also like to have a reason take pictures of things I normally wouldn’t (signs, food, restaurants, etc.). Since becoming a guide architect I’ve loved the fact I get to reminisce on my travels and/or places we’ve lived while I’m writing the guides! We’ve even used my guides as a little list of restaurants/places we want to revisit someday.

What guides have you created? Do you have any upcoming guides we can look forward to?

So far I’ve mostly written guides on places I’ve actually lived (Colorado, Nevada, and Michigan) but I will definitely start writing road trip guides and Europe guides once I’ve finished off with my home guides! I’m currently working on a Charleston, SC guide since we just moved out of Charleston after a little over a year (super sad to leave this one), and a New England guide (how to make the most of ALL of New England in ~a week).

Check out all of Marie’s awesome Wild Bum travel guides right here!

How have you stayed inspired during this time where travel has not been as accessible?

I am pretty fortunate to have a job considered “essential” so I’ve been able to keep my travel friendly schedule. Instead of going off to random places, I’ve been using my flights home as a true travel surrogate. I’ve done a lot of exploring in my backyard and ordering takeout to bring back to a pillow fort. It’s also helped me to plan future trips (of course I love planning) but looking forward to future adventures gets me excited for the possibilities ahead!

What is one thing you can’t travel without?

I actually have two items glued to myself at all times when I’m traveling. First is my travel journal! I document nearly everything when I travel. I save subway maps, ticket stubs, pretty candy wrappers, random flowers I picked and pressed, tea bag labels, etc. and I paste them into my notebook alongside Polaroid pictures, small doodles, and of course lengthy handwritten paragraphs about what I saw and experienced each day. 

The second thing I cannot survive without when traveling is of course my camera. I use a DSLR since my phone has a crappy camera. I don’t consider myself a real photographer by any means but like I said, I love to document!

What is something you enjoy about being part of the Wild Bum community?

I enjoy the enthusiasm and positivity that just radiates from this travel community! Every idea is always met with excitement and I just love that. I would definitely recommend it to my friends, especially since it’s a great way to get inspired for your own travels and learn about places you’ve never even heard of.

We are all about inspiring people to get out there and travel, use time-off to explore, and find their wild.

Tell us, when do you feel the most “wild”?

I feel the most wild when I’m with my friends in a new place making new memories together. For me a big part of travel is who I get to experience it with (I very rarely do solo trips), so I love being able to spend quality time with my favorite people and have the thrill of exploring an unfamiliar country!

If you haven’t already, be sure to read this post or this one to meet a couple more awesome Guide Architects that are part of our travel community.

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