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: Wendy Simmons
Occupation: Management Consultant, Chief Brand Officer of MOSCOT, Photographer, Writer for Huffington Post, Author of “My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth”
Hometown: Washington, DC
Residence: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
College: George Washington University, Kansai Gaidai Daigaku (Hirakata, Japan)
College major: Political Science
Short bio: Wendy Simmons won’t stop traveling until she visits every country in the world! Despite her hatred for packing, she’s managed to explore more than eighty-five so far—including territories and colonies—and chronicles her adventures on her blog, wendysimmons.com, and on Huffington Post. Wendy is president of Vendeloo, a consultancy she founded in 2001, Chief Brand Officer of a NYC-based global eyewear brand, and an award-winning photographer. She’s also owned a bar in Manhattan, worked for a lobbying firm on Capitol Hill, and written a Japanese-language phrase book. Though her Japanese is now terrible, Wendy’s Pig Latin is flourishing. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University. Wendy practices Muay Thai daily and lives in Brooklyn in a converted 1800s schoolhouse.
How often do you fly? Every other month, every two months.
How many countries have you been to? 85, including territories and colonies.
How many continents have you been to? Six.
Earliest travel memory: Laying prone on the boardwalk in Atlantic City having a complete tantrum because my mom wouldn’t buy me something. I try not to do that much anymore.
Favorite American city: New York, Washington DC.
Favorite international city: Impossible to answer. I fall in love with nearly every place I go for different reasons.
Least favorite country: Canada. Sorry, Canada.
I have no desire to go to: I want to, and will, go anywhere.
Friendliest people in the world: I find friendly people everywhere I go.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Democratic Republic of Congo. Canada. Heathrow. (NOT the UK. Just Heathrow.)
Favorite World Heritage Site: Galle Fort, Great Barrier Reef, Golden Temple of Dambulla Od City of Salamanca, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Sydney Opera House, Island of Mozambique, Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Tikal National Park, Borobudur Temple Compound, every single one in India, Masada, Petra, Grand Canyon…to name a few.
Favorite airline: Business class on any airline.
Favorite aircraft type: I love flying on tiny planes.
Aisle or window: Aisle. I have to go to the bathroom a lot and hate making people get up.
Favorite airport lounge: The United Lounge at JFK has a really nice terrace outside.
Favorite U.S. airport: Key West International Airport. It’s a crappy airport, but it’s so tiny and easy. And I’m always so happy to be there when I land there.
Favorite international airport: I’m happy to be landing anywhere, and sad to be leaving.
Favorite ho I love small, boutique hotels that reflect the local culture.
Favorite cruise line: For the incredible views…the famous journey on the Hurtigruten from Tromso to Kirkenes in the high Arctic.
Favorite travel credit card: Any that doesn’t charge me foreign transaction fees.
Favorite island: Los Roques, Tobago Cays, Mustique, Kauai, Palawan, Maui, Galapagos, Key West…I could go on. I love islands.
Favorite beach: Used to be Tulum 15 years ago, but it got too built up and crowded. Now, Los Roques.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Veranda Restaurant at The Cotton House on Mustique.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Tabac on Smith Street in Cobble Hill.
Favorite bar: Anyplace outside near water.
Favorite fruit: Mango, papaya, passion fruit, lychee, mangosteen, donut peach, Asian pear, seedless watermelon.
Favorite food: Shiro, French fries.
Least favorite food: Anything non-vegetarian.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): White wine, water, Corona.
Favorite travel movie(s): Lost in Translation, A Little Romance.
Favorite travel show(s): Long Way Round.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Sheltering Sky,” “Interpreter of Maladies,” “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” “Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures.”
Right now I am reading: “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” by Paul Kennedy, and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel & Leisure, Afar, National Geographic Traveler.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course! Escapebrooklyn.com, kayak.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Socks, eReader (Nook), coat, inflatable neck pillow, Aquaphor for my lips.
What do you always seem to forget? Inflatable neck pillow.
What do you like least about travel? When a great trip comes to an end.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing.
Favorite travel app(s): My Plane.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Probably involved me behaving badly with TSA. I’m not great with authority.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Switzerland.
Worst travel moment: It’s all part of the adventure of travel.
What’s your dream destination? I’d like to see the whole world before I die. My dream is to be able to spend quality time in each place.
Favorite travel charity: Global Fund for Women.
Best travel tip: A wise person once said, “The difference between adventure and adversity is attitude.” The thing about travel is that it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable and nothing ever goes as planned. You can take it personally and react poorly, or you can embrace the notion that the perfect trip doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the trip’s imperfections, stop worrying about what isn’t and enjoy what is. You can try to meticulously plan every detail of a trip in advance, and arrive any place new with a long list of “must-sees” and “must-dos,” but why would you? You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment and/or frustration when things don’t go according to plan, or aren’t what you expected. And if you’re thoroughly enjoying something, why would you want to feel pressured to rush through it, just for the sake of moving on to the next thing on your list? If you train yourself to think, act and react differently, you’ll not only enjoy yourself and your trip more (as will everyone around you), but you’ll also discover you’re far more capable of doing and accepting things than you ever thought possible. Travel’s imperfections—whether brought on by your own hand or another’s—open the door for serendipitous surprises and unexpected adventures. These chance occurrences have always led to my favorite and most memorable experiences.
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