Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Ben Mutzabaugh
Title/bio: Today in the Sky blogger, USA Today
Born in: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Currently living in: Washington, DC
1. Where would you rather be right now?
Nowhere. Cheesy as it may sound, I love
my hometown of Washington. And, though I do love to travel, I really enjoy
being here when I'm not on the road. The one caveat: in my "if money were
no option world", I'd also keep a place in New York and split my “down”
time between here and there.
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to
go on a trip with:
Benjamin Franklin, who – of course –
first made a name for himself in my native Pennsylvania. I think it’d be
fascinating to hear his take on modern-day Philadelphia or to hear his tales
from his days in Paris.
3. Tourist must-see you think is
actually a “must skip”:
I don't think there is such a thing. I
believe everything is worth seeing at least once. However, I do think there are
plenty of places you'll end up deciding you "must not see twice”. That
aside, I thought the Manneken Pis in Brussels was quite a letdown. You trek
across town and fight though the crowds only to find a glorified lawn ornament.
If you're in Brussels, go see it to satisfy your curiosity… but don't expect to
4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of places you want to go before
you die. But what’s your #3?
I'd say Antarctica. It sounds
fascinating, and what an adventure it would be!
5. You’d be mortified if people knew you did what when you travelled?
It’s foodie sacrilege, but sometimes the
quick convenience of a fast-food joint like McDonald’s or Burger King can fill
an empty stomach and get you on your way to your next sight in a snap.
6. Strangest meal abroad:
Reindeer in Finland. That probably
doesn't rate high on the "exotic" scale, but it was unusual to me.
And, it was absolutely delicious!
7. Travel-related invention you
It's probably a bit cliché to say
"teleporter", but is there really any traveller who hasn't wished for
that at one time or another?
8. Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
My own bed. Or, my running shoes, if I
didn't have room to pack them.
9. Most unique souvenir:
The bill from the Mexican doctor who
treated me after I was stung by a stingray in the Caribbean Sea off the coast
or Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
10. Best celebrity encounter while travelling:
I sat a row behind Barack Obama shortly
after he announced he was running for president. Once people realized that’s
who it was, he had a long list of well-wishers on the Chicago-to-Washington
flight. It was on United, and the future president was in coach, though he did
manage to snag a bulkhead seat.
11. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
A toss-up. It’s either the dogsled
(through Finnish Lapland) or the Monte toboggan ride down the side of an urban
hillside on the Portuguese island territory of Madeira. The toboggans are essentially
wicker carriages that begin from a steep mountain terrace and whiz you down
winding streets – occasionally past oncoming auto traffic – on the way to