Corissa smiles atop a sightseeing post at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Humans of CLI: Corissa Wagner

Corissa smiles atop a sightseeing post at Machu Picchu in Peru.
Corissa smiles as she visits the incomparable Machu Picchu.

This time last year, hopping on a plane to go to my second home of New Orleans was the mission of the summer. Filled with family and friend reunions, catching a second line, and trying alligator jerky for the first time, I left knowing I would be back in 2020. However, as we near the fifth month of quarantine and well-laid plans are rescheduled, the wanderlust has officially set in.

What unites us at CLI is an adventurous spirit and a curiosity about the world and people around us. Travel is always a hot topic here, and it seems like someone is always jetting off to someplace for a week.

In our second post, we sat down with project manager Corissa Wagner, one of our top trekkers, to see what fuels her love for travel. She gave us a few tips for the road and a couple of songs to sing along the way.

Here’s Corissa.

Corissa’s summer road trip playlist.

What is your title, and how long have you worked at CLI?

Corissa: I am a project manager in the Document Translations Department, and I’ve worked at CLI for just over 2.5 years now. It feels like I just started yesterday, so I feel like that’s a good thing!

What’s your favorite part about working in document translations?

Corissa: My interaction with clients is really fun, and we have a lot of regulars. It’s more than just putting in my 8 hours every day and sending some emails and maybe taking some phone calls. It’s about building relationships with our clients, our vendors, and our linguists, so every day is different.

And let’s see, you’re a busy woman. How often do you get to travel?

Corissa pretending to hold the stem of the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain sculpture in Minneapolis.
Corissa visits the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Corissa: Well, in a non-COVID-19 world, I travel anywhere from 3 to 6 times a year. Most of the time, on 2 of those trips, at least, I go home to Minnesota.

I usually go back for the Minnesota State Fair at the end of August, and that’s when I see my friends from college and high school and stuff like that. I also go back every year for Christmas, and that’s when I see all of my family. There’s no way for me to see all of the people that I want to in different parts of the state in one trip, so it just makes it easier to make two separate trips.

In the past a lot of my trips have been road trips or short flights to places around Oregon and Washington. Usually I do a road trip so I can take my dog with me.

What’s the first trip you remember taking, and how old were you?

Corissa: So that’s a really interesting question because we never went on family vacations or did things like that. I remember as a kid going camping several times with my dad, but it was really boring, and I didn’t want to. It was just not my jam at all. To this day, I still kind of refuse to sleep in a tent.

So I guess the first real trip I remember taking that didn’t seem boring was a family road trip when I was about 23. It was my dad and my stepmom, my little sister and me. My parents planned this road trip to go from Minnesota, all the way over to Oregon to spend some time with my aunt and uncle on the coast, and then kind of like weave our way through Vegas, spend a night in Vegas, and then come home. We hit up all of the state parks and stuff along the way, too.

What are your best travel tips you always give people?

Corissa enjoys a trip to Crater Lake in Oregon with her dog, Jack.

Corissa: First, I always try to tell people who are new to traveling to use an incognito browser [when searching for flights], because you will get the best flight deals that way.

Second, when you’re actually traveling, be open to things you wouldn’t normally be open to, because that’s when the best things happen. I had no idea that when I was in South America that I would end up working at a bar in Bolivia, but I did, and it was awesome and terrifying, but I made so many friends.

I’m friends with a lot of people who have a lot of anxieties or who are introverts, so that’s not always an easy thing for them. Honestly, it’s not always easy for me (and I’m an extroverted extrovert). So, I try to do things that I don’t normally do in my everyday life to make something extra special or extra memorable.

My last tip is always try to have a backup plan in case something doesn’t work out. I like to over plan and put too many places on my list of what to see. I usually make an itinerary of about 17 things to do every day. That way if I didn’t know, say, that a location only takes reservations or it’s closed or raining, then I have other things that I can still choose from.

And the million dollar question: How many languages do you speak?

Corissa: Two: English, and I speak a little bit of Spanish, well enough to get by. I speak it [Spanish] better when I need to versus when I don’t. I definitely spoke a lot more Spanish when I was in South America, but I also hadn’t spoken Spanish at all in around 7 years, except for occasionally. So going to South America, I was like, “Okay, come back to me all of my college and high school Spanish…” and then it just came back when I needed it to, which was really helpful.