Stephanie started traveling at a young age, influenced mostly by two things. The first: language. Spanish-immersion elementary school eventually led her to earn both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury college. Her studies also took her abroad, first to Logroño, Spain, and then to Madrid, where she lived in the bohemian Malasaña district for over six years. Once Iñigo, a Spaniard from Pamplona, came along, there was no going back—until he got a job in New York City. Stephanie followed him back across the pond in exchange for some honest-to-God suegros (Spanish in-laws). Iñigo’s mom’s albóndigas (meatballs) were hard to give up, but Stephanie certainly can’t complain about her new hometown.
Apart from languages and men, Stephanie has also let avian migrations dictate her own wanderlust. Yes, that’s right, she’s a birder. It all started when she was a kid, tagging along on family bird-watching outings. Eventually “tagging along” developed into nerd-level involvement, of which she is no longer ashamed. Indeed, birding has been an excuse for travel throughout Stephanie's life, taking her to exotic locales around the world, from the llanos of Venezuela to the jungles of Cambodia and the savannas of Tanzania. She goes where the birds are, but also loves that she can look for them wherever she happens to be. Unfortunately, city living means she’s usually relegated to watching the four species visible from her kitchen window.
Eventually, Stephanie turned her passion for traveling into a career. She’s held a string of odd jobs, including bartender, lab researcher, and secretary to a plastic surgeon. She also has more transferrable experience as a public relations account executive, web designer and content manager, and translator and EFL teacher. But all of these really led up to her favorite: tour guide. She started at a small tour company in Madrid, specializing in tapas, and began guiding for Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door in 2009. Though she enthuses over all of their Spain itineraries, the softest spot in her heart belongs to the Basque tour.
In 2010, Stephanie decided that it was time to put finger to key and start writing about her adventures. She took a couple of travel writing courses and set up her blog, theViatrix. Though she can easily become absorbed in researching upcoming trips, once she’s on the ground, Stephanie is perfectly satisfied just walking around and eating good food. Of course she rarely stops there, especially since she’s a sucker for an art gallery or big-name museum. Apart from her hombre and her family, her favorite travel companion is Boo, a hammy elephant.
When not at her desk or on the road, Stephanie enjoys snowboarding; photography; cooking and baking; and debating films with her Spanish friends at their weekly Cineforum (now in an experimental, remote form). In Madrid, her preferred activity is sipping beers on a sunny terraza. She’s currently looking for her New York niche.