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Who’s Out There Now? Ayngelina

Written By: jeff

Posted On: January 25th, 2011

career break travel adventures in Ecuador

Ayngelina in Ecuador. Copyright

In this week’s ¨Who´s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Ayngelina, the solo traveling diva behind BaconIsMagic.  She’s traveling around Latin America and has been on the road for over 9 months.  Her travel stories have struck a chord with travelers and her blog is one of the most popular of those currently traveling.  I missed her when she was in Colombia. But, happy to say that we’ve since connected.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

In Cuenca, Ecuador (for the 3rd time) staying in a wonderful hostel. The desk is overlooking the street and I’m sitting in the sun listening to the people start their day.

2. So, as a bacon fan, I love the name of your site. How did you come up with the name? And is it a reflection of your travel style or philosophy?

I love to cook and often have friends over for dinner and one of the things they noticed was that I eat very little meat but I always put a bit of bacon in vegetables or pancetta in my minestrone. It’s because bacon is magic and I quickly got the reputation for using pork as a secret ingredient.  Other than the cultures who do not eat pork for religious reasons you’ll find pig plays a very central role in cooking. It’s something that unites many of us, our love for pork fat!

career break travel adventures in Mexico

Interesting Signs Along the Way. Copyright

3. Why did you choose to explore Latin America?

I had previously lived and traveled in South East Asia and Europe and Africa were beyond my budget. Latin America seemed to be a great place that had less of a gringo trail.

4. You got off to a rough start in Cancun when your bags didn’t arrive with you. Which helped dull the pain more, tweeting about it, or the tacos de carnitas?

Well I have to give WestJet credit, within an hour of tweeting they responded and gave constant updates over Twitter. But I will never forget my first real taco!

career break travel adventures

Self Portrait. Copyright

5. You started in probably the most touristy place of anywhere you’ve been (except maybe Cartagena). Did you ever find the ¨real Mexico¨? And looking back, do you now see any parts of the ¨real Mexico¨ in Cancun?

I flew into Cancun because it was a very cheap one-way ticket but it wasn’t a great place to start the trip. It’s not Mexico at all, it’s the Mexico that foreigners want it to be. I did stay off the beach strip but found it very difficult to find non-touristy things. I’m sure if I went with a local I would find the real Cancun. However, one thing will last in my mind and yes it’s a taco! Outside the ADO bus station two women have a taco stand and sell maybe 20 kinds of tacos. I had a chile relleno taco that was to die for. The farther you venture from Cancun the more you see the real Mexico. In Campeche I was able to meet my friend’s family and in Oaxaca I was in off season and really learned to appreciate the cuisine of Mexico, which I believe ranks up there with Italian and French.

6. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trip?

I worked for ten years before leaving so I guess a career break, although now I don’t want to go back and am looking to make it into a nomadic adventure.

career break travel adventures in Nicaragua

Friends Made in Nicaragua. Copyright

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

The biggest secret is that it isn’t really hard. I plopped myself in Mexico and didn’t know any Spanish. I’m 33, female and traveling alone. Other than once sitting down to cry because I couldn’t find my hostel, it hasn’t really been that hard. When you show up at a hostel they know you want a room, a bus station a bus, and a restaurant food. 99% of the world is filled with really good people who only want to help you. FYI on the crying moment, a cab stopped to see if I was okay and offered to take me to my hostel for free.

8. What was your first ¨We´re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

Day 1 in Cancun, although I’m an experienced traveler I really didn’t have any idea that there wouldn’t be any English at all. I immediately got on iTunes and downloaded a bunch of Learn Spanish podcasts.

career break travel adventures


9. What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

I’m a huge fan of couchsurfing and I won’t visit a country without staying a few nights with a local. It’s been an extremely rewarding experience and actually I’ve only ever had my own room so they should call it roomsurfing. But the best experience was studying Spanish in Nicaragua and living with a family for 3 weeks. They really became my family.

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

One of the first nights in Cancun I found this outdoor food court where a band was playing. After I ordered my food the server was trying to ask where I was going to sit so he could bring me the food but I thought he was asking me to dance. Finally someone came over and explained in English. I was mortified.

career break travel adventures in Mexico

Tacos in Mexico. Copyright

11.  You have a lot of content about the food and drinks you encounter. How important to you is food as part of the travel experience?

For me food is culture. The foundation of any culinary heritage is the street food. I don’t know why so many people are scared of street food. You see them make it in front of you if they drop it you’re going to know. In restaurants if they drop it they just brush it off and put it on a plate. Knock on wood but I haven’t had even the slightest stomach issues in Latin America and I eat on the street.

12. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

I didn’t Couchsurf before this trip but it’s really changed my view on traveling. Even if you don’t want to stay overnight at someone’s house, Couchsurfing groups hold a lot of public events and it’s a great way to experience the country with locals.

career break travel adventures in Ecuador

Overlooking the Volcanos in Ecuador. Copyright

13. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: hands down the taco in Cancun
  • Most exotic food eaten: balut, a partial egg embryo in the Philippines
  • Most breathtaking moment: Semuc Champey in Guatemala, it’s like the real blue lagoon
  • Biggest disappointment: Belize: expensive, very touristy and not always safe
  • Most memorable place: too hard to pick, I’ll say Cuenca as I’m here now
  • Most memorable person: Barbara, an 80 year old Scottish woman in Fiji. Her husbard had died and all her friends were waiting to die so she told her farm and was backpacking around the world. She had gone skydiving the week before. She’s an inspiration.
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Podcasts on an iPod
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: Diarrhea – the bathrooms on the bus are awful
  • Best thing you packed: Netbook
  • Dumbest thing you packed: Clothesline and soap, it’s so cheap to get someone else to do it
  • Funniest travel habit your partner has: Mr. Bacon? He always runs off on me. Lost him twice and a new one is in the mail
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Guatemala, two weeks wasn’t enough

You can follow Ayngelina online at on Facebook and on Twitter @Ayngelina

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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4 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? Ayngelina”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristin, Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: Who's Out There Now? It's Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic Check out my interview her and then see her… [...]

  2. [...] Who’s Out There Now? Ayngelina at Career Break Secrets [...]

  3. I follow Ayngelina’s travels on her blog and Twitter and she’s an amazing writer. Great interview!
    Leslie (of Downtown Traveler) recently posted..Best of China- Top 5 street foods in Xiamen photosMy ComLuv Profile

  4. jeff says:

    Thanks Leslie. I’ve enjoyed following her too. Just bummed that I missed her in Colombia.

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