Popupla Questionnaire

Meet the Journalist: Kelley McMillan

by Kelley McMillan

Kelley in Zambia with an oblivious (or well behaved) lion.

Hometown: Gypsy: Born in San Fran, bred in NY and Colorado. After eight years in NYC, I now live in Denver.

Occupation: Journalist.

Favorite destinations: Africa, small European ski villages (like Murren in Switzerland), Cartagena, the Greek isle of Hydra. The Zambezi! in South Africa is pure magic. Hvar, Croatia.

Dying to visit: The depths of the Amazon. Sail the Turkish coast. Trek across the Sahara. Climb Kili.

Bizarre travel rituals: I clean my apartment before I leave for a trip so that coming back is a lot less painful.

In-flight relaxation regime: I  stock up on cheesy magazines and read them cover to cover. Guilty pleasure: People. (Great human interest stories, I swear!)

Always in carry-on: Ear plugs and medication.

Concierge or DIY? DIY. I know what I want and I know how to get it.

See it all or take it easy? See it all, but in manageable chunks.

Drive or be driven? Drive. Last summer, I drove myself twelve hours across South Africa, arriving at dusk in Kruger, totally lost. It was scary. Don't tell my dad.

Travel hero: Kira Salak, Jane Goodall.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: An aroused male elephant in Zambia. A taxi in Prague that had porno pics plastered across the dashboard.

Best hotel amenity: WiFi or an al fresco bathtub. personal concierge was pretty amazing, too.

I dream about my meals at in Zermatt and La Vitrola in Cartagena.

Everywhere I go, I check out the nooks and crannies, Whether it's a side street off the main drag of a big town or a remote corner of a game reserve, it's in the obscure places that you find the soul of a place.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by taking a walk or a run. Or making friends with a local — on a ski lift, at a bar, the receptionist at the hotel.

I always bring home something that feels authentic, often something that I will use: a hand fan from Cartagena; a lantern from the souk in Marrakech; a cowbell from Wengen, Switzerland; a porcupine quill from the bush in Zambia. Wherever I go, I always collect feathers for my Indiana Jane hat.

If I never return to Prague it'll be too soon because it is way overrated — way too kitschy, more corrupt than Mexico, and the sex trade is omnipresent. There are far more exquisite European cities.

I travel for the adventure and thrill, for the joy of meeting new people. I'm looking for my perfect place. 

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