As a world traveler who loves to write about my experiences, I try to find ways to travel like a local wherever I go. I explore grocery stores, parks, bookstores, museums, and outdoor markets to find out which sights, attractions, events, and local specialties I should not miss. I love stumbling upon festivals, local tours, and special celebrations, and I especially enjoy exploring and writing about places that guidebooks never mention.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I specialize in travel in North America, Europe, and Japan, especially do-it-yourself travel. Guided tours and local tours are great, and I often recommend them, but sometimes you need to strike out on your own. I love to try local food and wine (my husband provides beer tasting notes), and I especially enjoy helping families and multigenerational groups plan trips together."
How did you get involved in travel?
"I can't remember a time when I didn't want to go somewhere else. I camped all over the western U.S. with my parents and brother and traveled with them to ten of the original 13 colonies and to Hawaii. I studied in Ireland during my junior year in high school. As a Navy spouse, I moved from the U.S. to Italy and back twice—once without children and again with family in tow—and we have traveled extensively by land, sea, and air in the U. S., Canada, Europe, and Japan. With my family, I have spent at least one night in every region of Italy and researched my family history in France and Germany as well as in Wisconsin, where my paternal ancestors settled, and in Canada and Pennsylvania, in search of my husband's family stories."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"My 1988 visit to the Soviet Union was a week to remember. Our tour group included Italians (several of whom turned out to be dog smugglers) and Americans from two military bases in Italy. We had a wonderful time in Moscow and St. Petersburg, even though our rooms were bugged and we were followed by soldiers. I will always remember walking into the Hermitage to see Catherine the Great's art collection - such a thrill! I will also remember flying back to Rome with the dog smugglers - a bit less thrilling."