Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Lisa Alpine
Occupation: Writer, dancer, teacher
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Residence: Mill Valley, CA and the Big Island of Hawai’i
College: Sorbonne University in Paris
College major: I studied art history at the Sorbonne and then dropped out to travel.
Short bio: Lisa Alpine is the author of “” (winner of a BAIPA Book Awards Best Women’s Adventure Memoir) and “” (just published). She co-authored “Wild Writing Women: Stories of World Travel” and the first edition of the “Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook.” Writing, dancing, gardening, hiking, family, and travel are the passions of her life. She divides her time between Mill Valley, CA and the Big Island of Hawai’i. Find out about her writing workshops and book events at .
Languages spoken: English, French, Spanish, & a smidge of Arabic.
How often do you fly? 12 or more times a year.
How many countries have you been to? 95 and many more than once.
How many continents have you been to? 6
Earliest travel memory: Going to a dude ranch in British Columbia for two weeks when I was 10 years old. For our twice daily rides, the cowboys lifted me onto a horse and smacked its behind hard. It would take off in a full-tilt gallop and race the other horses across the plateau. I loved it and never fell off. That was before the days of liability and waivers!
Favorite American city: Port Townsend, WA.
Favorite international city: Tirana, Albania.
Least favorite country/place: Connecticut.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Never had a bad experience.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Butrint, Albania.
Favorite airline: Air Emirates.
Favorite aircraft type: The old Pan Am jumbos with the two decks and a piano bar.
Aisle or window: Window in exit row.
Favorite international airport: Dubai.
Favorite ho Hotel de Nesle in the Quartier Latin in Paris (I lived here when I was 18 and continue to stay there 42 years later. Run by gypsies.)
Favorite cruise line: I’m allergic to cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Mileage Plus Explorer Card.
Favorite island: Sehil Island in the Nile south of Aswan, Egypt. One of my best friends is married to the Nubian “chief” and lives there.
Favorite beach: Kehena—the black sand nude beach on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Dolphins and whales swim into the bay there and the surf can be very wild.
Favorite foreign city: Tiruvannamalai in India (biggest Shiva temple and no tourists) and Essaouira in Morocco.
Favorite fruit: Rambutans are succulent!
Favorite food: Creamed spinach, rare organic steak, sashimi, homemade pasta, avocados, and macadamia nuts.
Least favorite food: Any fast food chain food or fried food and I HATE doughnuts.
Craziest thing you’ve eaten: Sizzling grubs, monkey paw stew, and boiled palm nuts in the Amazon (tasted pretty darn good after living on canned tuna for 4 months).
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Mer Soleil chardonnay (CA), St. Innocent Pinot Noir (OR), or Renard Barnier Champagne (France).
Favorite travel movie(s): Hideous Kinky, Romancing the Stone, Babel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Midnight in Paris.
Favorite travel show(s): I don’t watch TV or videos.
Favorite travel book(s): “Sex Lives of Cannibals,” “Maddening Madagascar,” “A House in Bali,” “Notes From a Small Island,” “Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”
Right now I am reading: “A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar.”
5 things you bring on a plane: Socks, lots of blow-up pillows, chocolate to share, iPad to write on, aromatherapy spritzer (rose, lavender & yalang).
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing.
What do you like least about travel? Encountering chauvinistic and fundamentalist attitudes.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty-free store? Nothing.
Favorite travel app(s): Flashlight and star locator.
Most embarrassing travel moment: At the security check at Oakland Airport flying to Las Vegas. The TSA guys insisted I had a sharp object (“Hunting knife or a box cutter perhaps?” he queried) in my carry-on. I kept denying it as I had packed the bag and had certainly not included a knife. Ten minutes later the guards pulled it out of a side pocket holding it up for all the other travelers to see. A LARGE and sharp knife…my son had left it there after a fishing trip several years ago and it had wormed its way deep into the crevices.
Worst travel moment: Almost getting raped in France.
What’s your dream destination? To scuba dive in a pristine, untouched sea alive with many creatures. To wander in a pristine giant forest inhabited by zillions of native animals.
Favorite travel charity: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
Best travel tip: Learn some basic words & phrases, and how to correctly pronounce them, in the language spoken where you are traveling. Smile a lot (with sincerity). Stretch and do yoga for 15-30 minutes daily so you can handle the long flights and bus rides comfortably. Also keeps to poundage off gained by indulging in rich cuisines.
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