Vagabond Life

Here’s an article that was written about my travels a couple of years back while I was spending some time at my family’s house in Placida, Florida which is like an hour south of Sarasota on the Gulf side.  I ended up getting the interview after talking with the photo editor on the fact that only one out of the two photos that I submitted to the Englewood Sun ran in the newspaper. The article was published 19 November 2009. 

PLACIDA -- At 31, Christine Anuszewski has done more traveling than most people do in a lifetime.
To say she is a resident of "anywhere" is not exactly accurate, but it's close. She just returned, for example, from a
gig in Alaska where she worked for six months as a whale watching guide.
Right now, she's living in Placida with her parents at their winter home while waiting for the next leg of her journey
to unfold.
She hopes to explore the Himalayas and India. She's just trying to figure out how to pay for that.
In the past that hasn't been a big issue for her.
She has traveled to 25 countries and, during the last six years, taught English in Japan and bartended in Australia on
a work-holiday visa, to name a couple of the jobs she's held to finance her wanderlust.
At home for a breather before setting out again, she's looking for a job -- not the easiest thing to find in Placida.
"I'd love to work on a boat," she says wistfully as she clicks through thousands of photos stored on her laptop and
remembers the beauty of her last job guiding whale watching tours in Juneau.
Christine travels with a backpack and cuts costs by staying in hostels, walking instead of using public
transportation and eating at cafes rather than restaurants.
"I try to follow my heart rather than a cookie cutter experience," she says as she recalls doing charity work in
In a conversation with Christine, nouns become verbs.
She describes "templing" in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, home of the world's largest temple.
Though the State Department doesn't provide numbers, fewer than 20 percent of U.S. citizens have passports,
according to Other sources put that number at less than 10 percent or as high as 25 percent.
International travel seems to be more important in other countries than it is for U.S. citizens, Christine says.
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Europeans have even made an institution out of it: Gap Year, for example, is a concept that is starting to catch on in
the U.S., according to Holly Bull, president of Center for Interim Programs in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Gap time involves taking time off for travel, often with some form of work involved.
The program arranges placements abroad for students, graduates and mid- and post-career people.
"We're not a job placement service," Bull said. "We don't find paying jobs but we do find internships and
placements with room, board and maybe a bit of a stipend."
In Englewood, James "JJ" Hummon arranges international internships through his business, International
Internships LLC. Most internships are unpaid but the work experience looks great on resumes and gives students an
edge, Hummon said.
Study abroad is becoming more mainstream in U.S. universities and colleges, Hummon said.
Bull attended a Gap Year Fair Nov. 9 atTampa Preparatory School, and another Nov. 10 in Atlanta.
"I'm getting American youth out into the world so they're not so myopic and tied into this culture," she said. "You
can only get that by residing in another country, not only as a tourist but as a traveler."
Christine plans her own travel and work abroad by networking with fellow travelers using the Internet, Skype and
social networking sites.
Some friendships formed in her travels have been long-term; others, fleeting.
Socially and spiritually, travel taught her to be more "in the moment," she said. "You meet someone and click with
them and travel with them in the moment. It changes your way of thinking to put everything in the now."
She said has developed a sixth sense about what subjects she can talk about with people, and what won't work.
A student of political science and international politics at the University of Maine, Christine grew up in
Kennebunkport, where her parents own a summer vacation rental business.
She was bitten by the travel bug early in life when her grandfather, a sea captain, came home with stories and
currencies from different ports of call.
Her mother, Kathy Anuszewski, found it unusual and unnerving when, at 26, Christine started traveling and didn't
"Then I realized it's all about being happy and we back her up 100 percent," Kathy said. "Chrissie doesn't realize
how cool she is. She's very self-sufficient and we're proud of her."
Her dad Bob, a builder, sees a daughter who has conquered the world.
So what will it take to ground a person who has been traveling for six years?
"Finding some place that I'm meant to be," Christine said. "Vancouver ... I can see myself there. San Francisco.
Alaska in the summer."
The list goes on: China. Fiji. New Zealand. The Grand Canyon. Christine once made it halfway to Cuba and was 55
miles from the Russian border without actually getting there.
"It's really hard to find what I'm looking for in the States," she said. "I'd love to do something off the beaten path.
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I'm one of those vagabonds, you could say."
Assistant Englewood Editor

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