Blogger Katie Hammel

Introducing another new blogger at Gadling, Katie Hammel . . .

Where was your photo taken: On my last day in Buenos Aires, while enjoying a $3 bottle of wine before heading to the airport.

Scariest airline flown: I hate to fly. I tremble, I whimper, I cry, and generally annoy the people around me. Once (before I discovered the wonders of Xanax) I even hyperventilated and passed out. So every airline is scary for me. But this year I took a step toward conquering my fear with a flying lesson in a tiny Cessna. I was still terrified, but I actually worked the controls during take-off!

Favorite country/city/place: Reykjavik, Iceland. If it weren’t for that whole “virtually no sunlight in winter” thing, I would want to live there. The horses were the cutest, friendliest little things, the nightlife was a blast, the scenery is just unreal, and they make the best hot dogs in the world. Seriously, I dream of those hot dogs.

Most remote corner of the world visited: Iceland again. Walking on the black sand beach near Vik, it really did feel like my husband and I were the only people on earth.

Favorite guidebook series: I’m partial to Rough Guides for overall destination advice, but I love Time Out for dining and nightlife recommendations.

Hotel, hostel, or other? I like small, family-run places for the personal attention and extra perks that often come with the stay. My only strict requirements are that the place is cheap, quiet, and clean, but whether they go by the name bed and breakfast, hostel, or guesthouse, I always try to stay in a place where the owner’s personality makes it an extra special experience.

The most unusual food I’ve ever eaten is. . . lamb brains. They were served as part of a multi-course tasting menu at a restaurant in Chicago. I grew up as a very picky eater, but now I’ll try just about anything, especially after a few glasses of wine. The lamb brains were surprisingly delicious – they had the consistency of potato croquetas.

Celebrity you’d most like to sit next to in first class. Anthony Bourdain, so I can find out where he is going to eat and then relentlessly stalk him and until he invites me to join him for dinner. . . or takes out a restraining order.

How did you get started traveling? My husband has no one to blame but himself for my travel addiction (luckily he loves to travel too). Some husbands have to deal with their wives buying ridiculously expensive shoes, mine just has to deal with me surprising him with yet another set of plane tickets. Before I met my husband, I had never left the country and had no plans on ever doing so. I thought only the rich could travel. But our first trip as a couple, to Dublin seven years ago, cost only $1200. I realized I was wrong and we’ve been traveling (cheaply) together since.