5 Minutes With Dyanne Kruger, TravelnLass

For McCool Travel’s 72nd travel profile, I am pleased to present Dyanne Kruger, the TravelnLass. I “met” Dyanne online in a Facebook group or two. She has some amazing adventure tales and a wealth of travel experiences to share. Read on.
Dyanne Kruger’s bio:
“An intrepid lass “of a certain age,” Dyanne was born with wanderlust running through her veins. She’s lived in 5 countries now, and been bouncing ’round the globe—ever solo—for more than 30 years and counting. At 30 she dragged her 2 young daughters to Europe to study in France and Italy. At 40 she started her own adventure tour company (specializing in travel to Belize and Costa Rica—back when few had even HEARD of Belize). At 60 she backpacked solo across South Africa and Mozambique, and four years ago she dumped everything and bought a one-way ticket to Vietnam to teach EFL and skip all over Asia—including a month in Mongolia milking yaks and hanging out with the Eagle Hunters in the Altai mountains. Most recently, she’s jumped hemispheres and resettled in Ecuador, with a huge, new continent to explore. In short, her personal mantra is “This surely ain’t a dress rehearsal!” and she has no plans to slow down any time soon.”

Dyanne Kruger - TravelnLass
Dyanne Kruger – TravelnLass


Dyanne Kruger

While “home” is wherever my toes happen to be these day, my last address in my native land was in my beloved Seattle. I once lived on an island (Vashon) off the coast there, and leaving the beauty of the PNW was the biggest hurdle in my decision to blow the U.S. of A. popsicle-stand and buy a one-way ticket to Hanoi, Vietnam (and later Thailand, and most recently Ecuador).
Always in my luggage…
The question isn’t what’s in my luggage, but what’s NOT in my luggage. I’ve honed my sherpa load down to carry-on only—no matter if I’m off to a tropical isle for a week, the wilds of Mongolia in winter for 3 weeks, or 6 months in <insert anywhere on the globe here>.

Dyanne Kruger - TravelnLass
Dyanne Kruger – TravelnLass

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. Vietnam would top the list as I’d still be living there were it not for the insufferable 6-toned Vietnamese language. No way could I ever hope to become fluent, thus my recent move to South America.
  2. Chefchaouen, Morocco (The City of Blue) a mountain hamlet so charming it seems like something out of a fairytale.
  3. Guess I’d have to say: any place I’ve not yet been.

A favorite travel memory is…
That would have to be “La Dia de Dos Noches” (The Day of Two Nights) in Costa Rica, a spectacular total solar eclipse back in 1991. Imagine… a sunshiny tropical beach at noon, slowly growing dimmer and dimmer until—complete darkness with twinkling stars above.  Seven minutes of night in the middle of the day. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and I managed to photograph the entire eclipse!)
3 favorite travel brands…

  1. Um… does “Goodwill” count as a travel brand? I mean, that’s where I got my trusty High Sierra rolling backpack with handy zip off ruck sack for a mere $6. I’ve also snagged a great pair of North Face zip-off convertible nylon travel pants there (in beige, though I was hoping for blue, but hey—you can’t have everything for 7 bucks).
  2. My Sawyer personal water filtration bottle.

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. Be as flexible with your travel dates as possible—often you can save a bundle on airfare by merely departing and/or returning a day or two earlier/later.
  2. Couchsurf – not only will you save a boatload (especially in places like Oz) but more importantly, locals know the best local eateries/attractions, and many of my couchsurf hosts have become good friends.
  3. When traveling long-term to several/many different countries, either buy an unlocked phone before you leave (and then simply purchase a sim card for a pittance in each new country you visit) or… buy a cheapo phone in whatever country you happen to be.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1.  As I mainly travel to experience cultural diversity, my favorite activity is simply wandering solo amid the backstreets of small villages, sampling the street food and chit-chatting (more like chit-MIMING) with locals as they go about their day-to-day lives.
  2. Balance frugal (e.g., overland buses, cheap sleeps/eats) with the occasional splurge (a stellar dinner, that balloon flight over Bagan, etc.)
  3. Travel SOLO! It keeps you open to the locals inviting amazing authentic experiences, otherwise not offered when you’re perpetually yammering with your partner (or worse, roving as an identical pod of backpackers). And that’s just the BEGINNING!  Only solo can you realize the thrill of self-accomplishment and genuine self-confidence. A most heady feeling indeed, and one that makes you feel like you.can.do.ANYTHING!

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“This surely ain’t a dress rehearsal!”

Dyanne Kruger - TravelnLass
Dyanne Kruger – TravelnLass

favorite non-travel website (besides your own)…
XKCD or Twifter Sifter
most memorable souvenir…
As I travel with but what will fit in the overhead, my stash of souvenirs is limited to earrings, scarves, and the occasional tattoo. My first ink (a wee “tranquility” kanj in South Africa at the tender age of 6-oh!), was followed by a precious “Ohm” symbol in Bali (the artist wouldn’t allow me to put it on my ankle as such a reverent symbol must go “above the waist” so I had it inked on my inner wrist), and most recently, a beaded and feathered ankle bracelet in Nepal.
favorite cheap eat…
Too numerous to count. In Vietnam it was pho; in Myanmar, tea-leaf salad; in Greece, slabs of yogurt smothered in honey; in Belize, conch fritters; Amsterdam, herring; here in Ecuador, “hornado” (tender, juicy pulled pork—straight off the pig!), and Mongolia? Err sorry, but gristled goat with a side of “milk tea” (hot yak milk with a pinch of tea and a generous dash of salt) just doesn’t make my Top 10 of yummy travel eats. Actually, among my favorite cheap eats? Roasted crickets (in both Vietnam and Loas). True, those bitty legs tend to get stuck in your teeth, but I rather liked the smokey flavor.
recent discovery…
The one, the only, the legendary Galapagos Islands—my (and a lot of other traveler’s) top bucket-list dream destination. Now that I’m a resident of Ecuador, I can easily return again and again. Indeed, on my recent trip, I met a hotel owner who wants me to come teach English to his staff for 3 months (I’m CELTA certified and have taught EFL in both Vietnam and Ecuador for more than 2 years) in exchange for free room and board. Should I do it? Uh, I mean, who wouldn’t?
I am fortunate to have met…
LOTS of utterly kind and fascinating—ordinary locals, all over the globe.
I would like to meet…
Anyone with an open mind and a healthy curiosity.

Dyanne Kruger - TravelnLass
Dyanne Kruger – TravelnLass


Thank you very much, Dyanne.
Follow Dyanne Kruger on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and TravelnLass.com .

Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Christopher Elliott.

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