Alison Chino from the Chino House loves two things: telling stories and hiking trails. She’s originally from Arkansas but is currently living in Scotland with the whole family and having Europe in her doorstep is a great opportunity to easily get to know new countries.
She’s answering our questions and sharing with us her experiences and thoughts about traveling around the world.
1. You were born in the USA but currently live in Ireland. What was the biggest cultural shock? And what’s the best thing about living there?
We are from North Little Rock, Arkansas in the US but we currently live in Aberdeen, Scotland. We were surprised to discover that one of the biggest differences was between the school systems of the two countries. Especially with our older kids, we had to make a lot of adjustments to get used to the differences. What we love about being in Scotland is our proximity to the gorgeous Highlands! We love to spend our weekends hillwalking.
2. Sometimes you travel with the whole family which includes your 4 kids, what’s the most useful tip you can give about traveling as a family?
Because we have older kids, it’s really important that we include them in the planning of any travel we do together. They have a much better attitude about our itinerary if they help put it together!
3. Since your favorite thing is to tell stories, can you share an unforgettable story that you still haven’t published in your blog?
Recently while I was in Athens with a friend, we found ourselves drenched from the rain, a little bit lost and really hungry. We asked someone in a kiosk where we could find some inexpensive yummy food, and he directed us to a little pizza place. We found it and met the owner Theodore. We started visiting with him because it was late at night and the place was almost empty. He ended up letting us come in the kitchen and learn to cook our own pizza in the brick oven behind the counter.
We had such a lovely time and the pizza was out of this world. It was one of those evenings that started out looking like a disaster but turned out to be perfectly lovely!
4. You love to cook and even have a special section on your website called “The Occasional Recipe”. What’s the best recipe you know that uses 5 ingredients or less?
Best recipe with 5 ingredients would definitely be a Mexican Quesadilla. All you need is a tortilla and cheese. Just melt the cheese between two tortillas in a skillet. Add beans, guacomole and salsa to make it fancy!
5. Considering all your trips and all the food you tried, what was the most disgusting and the tastiest meal so far?
It’s so hard to remember all the favourites, but since we have moved to the UK, we really enjoy the occasional fish and chips from a local shop. However, it might also bet he most “disgusting” when you consider all the grease and fat we’re consuming. So that’s probably why we don’t go more often to our local “chippy.”
6. What did you like the most about the Louvre Museum? Besides not having to wait in line, of course!
We really loved getting to see the Italian masters. That was my favourite. But the kids enjoyed the underground portion of the Louvre where you can see the original foundation of the building.
7. If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Why?
It’s a toss up for me between England during Shakespeare’s day or Jane Austen’s. I would love to have met Shakespeare and see Romeo and Juliet performed live in the Globe for the first time.
8. Think of a single song that you could listen on repeat while travelling, which one would it be?
That’s a tricky one for sure. But for a road trip, I’d have to say Indigo Girls, “Get out the Map.”
10. Pick one situation for each destination:
A. Live for one year
B. Travel for two weeks
C. One-day trip
Bolivia / Denmark / Malaysia
A. Bolivia – I have never lived in South America, and I would love to soak up the sun and culture in almost any South American country. Bolivia would be fascinating and also I have a desire to learn to speak Spanish (better).
B. Denmark - I would love to go to Denmark for two weeks. It’s a small enough country that I think I could get a great feel for the landscape, culture and people in that amount of time.
C. Malaysia - I have only travelled a little bit in Southeast Asia, but it is not my favourite place I’ve been so that’s why I would choose to only go there for a day. But who knows? Maybe I would fall in love and want to stay forever.