Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Traveler Spotlight--Verena Gelbe

Written by: Krista Baum

I met Verena at the Traveler Excursion Event when we all went to the Kingston Mines Blues Club and thought she was fun, smart, and a perfect candidate for traveler spotlight!

Verena Gelbe is 27 years old and from Goettingen, Germany. She has done extensive traveling all over Europe, has visited Northern Africa and has seen numerous cities in the United States, including: San Francisco, New York City, Washington D.C., Orlando, and now...Chicago!

So why did she stay at HI-Chicago?

Verena found HI-Chicago on hostelbookers. HI-Chicago had the smallest dorm (4 bed dorm room) available, a good location, nice accommodations, and it was inexpensive. Everything that Verena was looking for as a traveler. Verena said that HI-Chicago "just turned out to be the best!"

While Verena was in Chicago, she immersed herself in the city life! She saw almost every mall, and really enjoyed Water Tower Place and checking out the shops on State Street. She went on a boat tour, as well as told me that HI-Chicago travelers could find coupons for it at the hostel! She also went to the Hancock Observation Deck, the Sears Tower Skydeck and the Art Institute of Chicago. Along with all the tourist hotspots, Verena enjoyed attending the Chicago festivals, including: Pride Fest, Green Music Fest, and the Taste of Chicago. She also really enjoyed the traveler excursions and the free concerts in Millennium Park!

This was Verena's first trip to Chicago, and she initially thought that it would be bigger and busier. She does state that it's not a bad thing that Chicago's not busier. She thought that it actually made everything a little less stressful when exploring the city.

As a woman traveling alone, Verena had a really nice time! She said that it was nice traveling on her own and that she could explore Chicago at her own pace and her own schedule. She was more open to meeting new people and made a lot of new friends at HI-Chicago through different events, like the traveler excursions, and thought that they were all very welcoming. She definitely wanted to mention that HI-Chicago has a very nice staff :)

She does recommend to women traveling alone that they should inform themselves beforehand and do not look like they do not know where they are or where they are going.

She did say that it would be tough meeting people if you're shy, and that you really have to be outgoing and put yourself out there. Another disadvantage of traveling alone was that she could not share all of her experiences or special moments with someone. So, even though traveling along can be an amazing experience, sometimes you just wish you could have a travel buddy.

Even though Verena is traveling alone in Chicago, she has a special someone at home waiting for her in Germany. Verena and her boyfriend have been dating for 4-5 months and both live in Germany. This then brought me to the topic about long distance relationships, and how it was for Verena being in the USA while her boyfriend is in Germany. She said that they are doing well, and that they talk on the phone regularly to keep in touch. She definitely misses him, but since they both know that they will see each other again in 4 weeks, it does not seem like it is that long of a wait. One of the most important long distance relationship advice that Verena gave was saying that a long distance relationship "is all about trust and communication."

So where does she plan on going in the future? Verena will be attending a wedding in Michigan later next week. It was interesting though because she said that her initial plan this summer was to go to Asia! Even though her trip to Asia was postponed, she still plans on going there in the future!

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