Claus Gurumeta breathes travel. It’s his job at Flight Center and his social media oozes the good life with visits to breweries, travels to the United Sates, Argentina, his father’s country of origin Mexico and many other destinations.
I don’t remember when or where I met Claus for the first time. Was it Antwerp or London? He now lives in Vancouver, Canada. As with Thierry Hanan Scheers and Oriol Mundó, I love to hear from fellow travellers how they travel.
Timothy: What do you look for in a trip? What type of traveller are you?
Claus: “Whenever I visit a new place, I like to check out all the ‘must-see’ sights, but I also want to have plenty of free time to be able to enjoy anything that may come up spontaneously, or simply sit down and relax. I really enjoy visiting museums and landmarks, but I will just as much enjoy sitting at a nice café for hours people watching as the locals go about their daily lives. As for the type of travel I enjoy, I like to have a mix of culture and nature, and prefer places that have a lot to offer, even though I do like to relax a bit.”
Timothy : How do you choose your destinations?
Claus: “I have a very long list of places that I want to visit, many of them collected over my years working in the travel industry. When I am ready to plan a trip, I try to visit as many of these places as possible, rather than just one at a time… problem is, this isn’t always possible, and my list keeps growing as I keep discovering new places to go to! Over the past few years, I have also started to enjoy city breaks, especially visiting cities that have a great food scene and anything with wine and craft beers, as I’m a bit of a foodie!”
Timothy: Do you take into account local legislation, such as laws against or protecting LGBT’s?
Claus: “I’ve found myself taking this into consideration more and more lately, but it’s very unlikely this would make or break a trip for me. We unfortunately live in an age where many countries that I really want to visit still discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, some more than others. More than legislations in specific countries, I look at safety track records towards LGBTQ+ people, and decide from there if the added risks are worth a visit, but I would never boycott a country because they don’t allow same sex marriage, for example.”
Timothy :What trips do you remember as special?
Claus: “This is a hard one to answer! I have many great memories from different places that are special for many reasons. My first time to Europe with my friend Meaghan was the trip that started my love with travel, and my three weeks in New Zealand are very memorable as that was the very first trip I took completely on my own, which really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve taken many trips with my boyfriend Eamonn which I’ll always cherish because he’s my favourite person to travel with, and I also have had some amazing trips with my family and other friends. I have great memories about everywhere I’ve visited, even the places that I didn’t necessarily love – I tend to look at the positives, so always have something good to say even about places that were just ok.”
Timothy: Can you tell me about your work travels in Australia and London?
Claus: “I’m a big advocate of living abroad, and I had the opportunity to go to Australia for a year and to the United Kingdom for two years on youth travel visas (which I am unfortunately too old for now!) So many people don’t realize that these types of visas exist, which make it super easy to move around the world and be able to work abroad for a limited time, and I always recommend people look into them, no matter what passport they have. My experiences living abroad have enriched my life beyond words.”
Timothy: Anything on the bucket list?
Claus: “SO many places I want to visit! Top of my list has been Egypt and Jordan, but I still haven’t made it over there. I really also want to go to Vietnam, mainly for the food.”
Timothy: How do you book or plan your trips? Any tips and tricks you can share?
Claus: “I work in travel sales, so I’ve got plenty of experience putting itineraries and trips together for people! I do a lot of research on places I will visit, usually find out good restaurants and bars to go to while there, and when visiting cities I also do a lot of research on the different areas, to make sure I am somewhere lively and safe. I read travel magazines, blogs and articles to see what people have to say, and also ask friends who have visited before. I like planning in advance because I want to make the most out of my vacation. I don’t want to visit somewhere and realize afterwards I missed out on something really cool simply because I didn’t bother reading up on the destination beforehand.”
Timothy: Have you always been a traveller?
Claus: “I’ve traveled with my family since I was a little kid. My parents always took us places, mainly around Mexico where I was born and raised, and in Canada where my mom’s family is. However my real love for travel started when I graduated university and went on my very first trip to Europe. After that I keep getting itchy feet and can’t work longer than a few months before I need to go away, whether it is on a three week trip or at least a long weekend getaway somewhere nearby.”
Timothy: You used to blog, but now you write pieces for Flight Centre?
Claus: “I had a travel blog for about six years and I really enjoyed it, but over time it became more of a chore than a hobby. It is tough finding time to write new blog posts, and it’s incredibly hard to publish regularly to keep the readership up. In the later years I found myself spending more time on Facebook and Twitter trying to connect with people to keep them coming back to my blog than on the blog itself, and I got really discouraged seeing my readership stagnant when I was spending multiple hours on it every week. Once it stopped being fun, I decided I didn’t need to keep at it, and even though I miss having it, I don’t miss the extra stress and lack of satisfaction that came with it. Thankfully around that time, I got asked by my company in the UK to write for them. I don’t do it as often (it’s only been about one blog per month in average), but it’s great because I can continue to do the fun part which is writing, and a lot more people are reading these posts than when I had my own blog. I also get paid to write for them, so I can’t complain!”
Timothy: You live in British Columbia, in Canada, is the area doable by public transport? Any tips and tricks?
Claus: “I live in Vancouver, which is very easy to navigate by transit and even walking. I don’’t drive myself, and have no problem getting around the city. Even to get out to nearby places, we have a decent network of ferries and coaches that will take you to Whistler and Victoria and even down to Seattle on the train! I love Vancouver and think everyone should come visit us here. My biggest advise would be to visit between May and October, as that’s when we have the best weather!”
Timothy: What should someone definitely do or not do in Vancouver?
Claus: “I have a long list of Do’s. Outdoors activities are our best asset: biking around Stanley Park is definitely top of my list as it has some incredible views and is overall a great experience; I also like going for hikes in the north shore mountains which are very close to downtown and easy to access by transit. For art I recommend the Bill Reid Art Gallery, it is small but has some great First Nations art. We have some really nice craft breweries so I recommend visiting those too -they are outside of the downtown core, but very worth visiting!”
A selection of Claus’ writings:
- 10 foods to try in Taipei;
- 7 Reasons to Visit Guatemala;
- A Traveller’s Guide to Central America;
- A First-Timer’s Guide to Madrid;
- 7 Things to Do in Buenos Aires.
Photos by Claus and Eamonn.
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