Her extraordinary talent has taken her everywhere on our bucket list- from Rio, to Italy and France, and in a few weeks she’s heading to the Old Smoke- London. But with an extreme fear of flying, the 5″1 dynamo reminds us that humans are not meant to be airborne. In fact she’s good once there are no dark, puffy clouds in sight or a drizzle before boarding. Without even noticing, Italy may just be one of, if not her favorite places in the world; Megan Simmonds shares what really goes down when she travels.
Q: Being an athlete your regular routine includes a lot of traveling. How do you overcome Jetlag, and is it something you’ve gotten used to?
Megan: Jetlag is a sneaky monster; not as straight forward as I would have preferred but I deal with it as it comes. If it comes and I have a day to rest I try to get as much rest as I can, seeing that I usually land then run the day after.
Q: How would you categorize yourself as a traveler, Happy and Mellow, over it before boarding the flight, can’t wait to fall asleep on the flight, or the “are we still flying?” type?
Megan: I’m Megan. I pretty much try to find the positive in every experience and dwell on it hence you probably always see me smiling. I’m a scared flyer though. I get really ansty when I see puffy dark clouds and I usually have to take a couple deep breaths and pray before I get on a flight while it’s raining. If the weather isn’t good and I’m expecting turbulence I inform the persons beside me of my fear of flying so when/if I grab unto them mid flight, they expect it, and help to calm me down.
Q: Describe your most bizarre encounter while abroad…
Megan: Believe it or not my experiences abroad are pretty normal. Nothing comes to mind when I think about bizarre experiences abroad.
Q: You’ve competed in several ideal destinations, but what are some of the cities on your bucket list you’re eager to check off?
Megan: I’d love to visit the floating parts of Venice.
Q: How do you handle timezone changes? Do you prepare for it beforehand, or are you the type to get into the groove of things after landing?
Megan: I pretty much get into the groove when I land. Staying awake in the days after landing despite the burn of sleep in my eyes is one of the main things I do after landing to get acclimatized to the new timezones.
Q: This might be a hard one, but where is your favorite city, and if you had 24 hours there, how would you spend it?
Megan: If you ask any of my roommates I’m an avid sleeper. I love sleeping day and night- all the time, and my favourite city to sleep in would have to be London.
Q: Have you witnessed any awe-inspiring cultural practices while abroad? If yes, do share.
Megan: In Doha, Qatar smack in the middle of the track meet I saw droves of people leaving the stadium to go pray on the outskirts of it. I stood and watched in awe for the 5 seconds I was allowed to during warm up. It was definitely fascinating.
- My phone -of course
- My all natural face moisturizer
- My lip balm
I literally make sure I have all these things with me wherever I go; even if it’s to the corner shop in Italy!
Q: Do you have any special dietary needs you have to fulfill while competing abroad? If yes, how do you satisfy your dietary desires?
Megan: I used to be a very picky eater but when you travel a lot you pretty much have to make due with whatever is offered and that’s where I’m at now.
Q: Describe your fondest travel memory…
Megan: All my travel memories are fond.
-Well I’m just going to pick one for her; she met Serena Williams in Rio last year.
Q: Describe your most laughably embarrassing travel memory?
Megan: My most embarrassing moment was when I couldn’t contain my fear of flying one year we were leaving the Penn Relays. After fretting my whole stay there that it would be raining on the day we left, my fears were confirmed as I woke up to dark clouds and light drizzle. I was crying and shaking like I just heard the worst news of my life and pretty much couldn’t get myself together ’till the plane finally took off and I saw that there was nothing to worry about- but as expected my teammates made a joke out of it and I definitely when looking back can chuckle about that craziness too.
Q: Where have you met the most friendly/hospitable locals while competing in another country?
Megan: The most hospitable locals I’ve experienced would have been in Lignano, Italy. They make you feel right at home!
Q: How is time made for sight-seeing while competing away?
Megan: There’s usually no time for sight-seeing inbetween landing, resting competing and leaving!
Q: In a few weeks, you’ll be heading to London, outside of doing well at the World Championships, do you have any other plans that include sight-seeing?
Megan: It’s a very good thing I didn’t have anything in mind relating to site seeing while in London; because I compete on the third to last and second to last days of the competition and I usually don’t allow myself to play before competitions! As you can see there’s pretty much no time to do anything else afterwards so I’ll just have to make the best out of my training and competition experiences!