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."
Featured trips & expertise
Spending 13 days in Iceland offers you plenty of time to hit the road and explore the land of ice and fire at your own pace. Here are three self-drive Iceland itineraries that take you to the island nation's iconic sights and give you time to marvel at spectacular waterfalls, wander past legendary lava formations, and soak in Iceland's famous geothermal baths. Two itineraries include hiking and other outdoor sports and are best suited for summer travel, but for a truly unique adventure, consider a self-drive winter tour of Iceland's Ring Road.
Ten days gives your family plenty of time to visit some of Australia's best-known destinations on a classic highlights tour that covers Sydney, Uluru, and the rainforests and Great Barrier Reef of Cairns. Alternatively, focus on a single region and enjoy a road trip with the family along the country's East Coast from Brisbane to Syndey, or base yourself solely in Perth for theme and wildlife parks, including a visit to Rottnest Island.
Head to Australia with your family for a week of outdoor fun, animal encounters, and uniquely Australian adventures. Spend seven days hitting the highlights of Sydney and Melbourne, including Phillip Island and Sydney Harbour's skyline. Animal-loving families can journey to Brisbane and Gold Coast for swimming, and city adventures, with stops at Australia Zoo and a koala sanctuary. Adventurers can combine a trip to Sydney and Melbourne with a visit to spectacular Uluru, sacred to the Anangu people.
Abundant wildlife, breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious food—Sri Lanka has them all, making this tropical island nation a welcoming destination for families. Spend a week with your family discovering Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle, looking for elephants, monkeys, and elusive Asian leopards, and visiting iconic sites such as Sigiriya Rock, once carved into the shape of a lion, and Kandy's Royal Palace and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.