Go Away With … Brittany Bowe

Photo credit: Ed McCulloch

Photo credit: Ed McCulloch

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
March 5, 2013

U.S. speedskater Brittany Bowe has her eyes set on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. An inline skating champion who was ranked number one in the United States, Bowe took time off from skating to earn her degree at Florida Atlantic University, which she attended on a basketball scholarship. After college, she switched from inline skating to speedskating and set her sights on competing at the Olympic Games. For more information on the 25-year-old athlete, you may follow her on Twitter or check out her Facebook.

Q. When did you realize that you really enjoyed traveling?

A. When I was a kid. I had traveled the world by the time I was 13 years old, because of all the competitions I did for inline skating. Sometimes my whole family traveled with me, and those became kind of our family vacations. It was great. I remember that the first country I visited was Canada, and then France. After that, I knew that I loved traveling and seeing the world. I feel that I’m so blessed and fortunate to get to visit so many places and see the world. It’s never fun sitting on an airplane for 13 hours to get halfway across the world, but I love arriving at a new place. It’s what I do and I just go with the flow.

Q. How many countries have you visited?

A. Let’s see … France, Belgium, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Italy, Germany, Austria, South Korea, China, Japan, Holland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Spain. And, I’ve been all around the United States.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I’ve been to so many places for competitions and got to see so many beautiful places. If I had to pick one spot, I’d say Austria. I went there some years ago for an inline skating competition. We had a little camp thing and went from Italy, to Germany, to Austria, and around the Swiss Alps. The whole region was just gorgeous.

Q. Where have you traveled to that made you feel like you were home?

A. There’s nowhere like home for me, but there has been something so interesting about most of the places I’ve visited. One that sticks out in my mind is traveling around South America. It’s a huge continent and I only got to see a small portion of it, but I’ve always liked going there. I traveled a lot there for my inline skating, which is such a huge sport in that part of the world. They always welcome us with open arms. It’s a really cool place to be. I’m from Florida, so I love warm weather, which is another positive thing for me about going to South America. But now that I’m talking about this, Europe’s great, too. I guess I could take things from every place that I’ve been and find something familiar and wonderful about it that makes me feel like I’m at home.

Q. Which country that you’ve traveled to recently had the biggest “wow” factor?

A. I just got home from Japan, and it is by far one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. The culture is so unique. We actually got to do a little bit of sightseeing on this trip and visit some of the temples. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. All the castles and architecture of Europe are beautiful. But then seeing Japan and its architecture is completely different and so special. Also, we went to Kazakhstan for a World Cup race and it was by far the coldest place I’ve ever been to so far. But it was a beautiful area. The buildings looked so cool and futuristic.

Q. When your overseas friends visit the United States, do you view America through a tourist’s eyes?

A. Yes. I don’t want to sound like the U.S. is better than anywhere else, but my friends and other competitors always say that they’ve never seen anything like America when they come to visit. And I appreciate their appreciation for our country.

Q. Where would you like to visit that you haven’t been to yet?

A. I’d love to go to Thailand. Africa, too.

Q. Do you adapt to different kinds of food when you travel?

A. Yes, that’s very easy for me. I’m not a picky eater at all and will try just about everything, anywhere. I had cow tongue for the first time and it was delicious. I ate so much of it one night that I almost got sick from overeating, but it was so good. Even when I travel for a competition, I’m comfortable eating whatever it is the locals are eating. I just tone it down a bit a day or two before race day. But we usually get to a place a week or so before any competition, so there’s still plenty of time to venture out and see new places and sample the food wherever we are.

Q. What are some tips you can offer for passing the time on long flights?

A. I don’t bring eye masks or anything like that, but I do try to sleep as much as I can on the plane. I always bring a watch and set it to the time zone I’ll be arriving at. It’s important to be on their time zone as much as you can. And bring something that you enjoy doing, whether it’s a book to read or your favorite music to listen to. I have an iPod. I don’t get on the plane without one.


© 2013 JAE-HA KIM

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