Anika Mikkelson is a 20-something math teacher who decided to break out of the classroom walls to see the world. Making her way through 30 countries so far, the Minnesota native now travels full-time and aims to inspire others to explore through collections of her personal photographs and stories. You can find these photos and stories through her blog Miss Maps and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
What Place Do You Often Revisit?
The place I often revisit, and really the only city outside of North America which I have visited several times, is Grenoble, France.
What is it About This Particular City or Country (s) That Holds a Piece of Your Heart?
Grenoble is a beautiful city in south eastern France nestled between three mountain chains of the French Alps. I find the city to be charming, with two rivers flowing through, many parks perfect for relaxing or for hiking, and . The best thing about this city and the part which holds a true piece of my heart, is my brother. He has lived there since 2012 and is of course the main reason I continue to go back!
Is it a Feeling of Trying to Recreate Moments from Visiting the City (Listed Above)?
Please Elaborate; For Instance, in visiting Paris I may try and recreate the moments of getting lost with friends I met through Busabout. I remember we tried to find the Sacre Coeur late at night and upon finding it, we climbed to the top of the steps, sat down and drank from a bottle of wine as well as ate the baguette we brought along with us. Perfect ending to getting lost since we got the best view of the city below us.
In revisiting a particular area, it’s about finding a sense of familiar. While being on the road full time is a gift full of new adventures every day, it’s incredible how seeing a familiar shop or hopping off the train and navigating the streets without a map feels like such a success. Last time I was there, in July of this year, I was walking from the train station and remember rounding a corner, seeing a favorite cafe from past visits, and lighting up. I walked with a smile the rest of my way ‘home’. That’s another bonus about returning to a city, in a way it becomes a type of ‘home’ – a safe place and a cherished place.
What Are Your Reasons for Exploring New Cities Over Revisiting the Same One Again and Again?
I’m constantly in awe how different ‘everywhere’ is from ‘everywhere’. Just like no two people are like, no two places are alike. They each have their own charm and splendor. Each has distinct communities, histories, food, landscapes and architecture. To read about it and see photos is one thing, but to be able to walk the streets, meet the people, and even breathe the air in different cities and countries around the world offers a new perspective.
In Exploring New Cities; How do You Decide Which Places to Visit?
New destinations are decided by several factors. First of all, a map. I take into consideration where I am and how I might get to a new destination. Currently, I am in Ukraine and have plans for Christmas in Austria. So any travel I do between now and then I will do with that in mind, sticking close enough but exploring other countries in the meantime. Reviews from other travelers, photographs, festivals, these all spark an interest. As do historical places such as UNESCO sites and the wonders of the world. Traveling full time, I have so many ideas of where I’d like to go and when I’d like to be there, but it is usually not set in stone. So if I come across a great opportunity or suggestion, I’ll go with it!
Do You Want to Visit New Cities Because it Would be a New Experience for You?
Please Elaborate; For Instance, do you visit the Cinque Terre in Italy so that you can walk through all five villages having never experienced it before since this would be your first time visiting them.
Absolutely! How can I stay in one place when there’s so much to see and experience?