What is your travel background?
I joined Mann Travels in 1993 after owning and operating my own business for 15 years, the Potting Shed. Plants and flowers have always been a passion of mine but my second passion has always been travel. I have been very fortunate to work at something that I love. I think that my very first trip as a teenager out of the country cemented my interest and love for travel.
What is your BEST advice for travelers?
Pick a place that really interests you, NOT a place that your neighbor insists is a "must see". Take your time when you travel and don't try to pack too much into every day. Stop to appreciate where you are and try to interact with the local people, even if it is just a hello in their language. Travel is never perfect so try to enjoy a good detour!
What is your favorite trip that you have taken? AND where are you planning to go next?
My favorite trips are the ones that take me a little out of my comfort zone. I like the challenge of getting around when I can't speak or even read the language. The top cities on my list have been St. Petersburg, Russia and Istanbul with my favorite countries overall having been Italy and France. I think it's because I have been able to get out of the cities and see the countryside of these destination. I expect that my next trip will be somewhere in Australia and New Zealand.
What is your best travel memory?
There are so many and I have done some very different things. I visited an artillery museum in Moscow, went to a weapons range and fired a Kalashnikov. I walked on the Great Wall and visited the Forbidden Palace. I have seen a Russian ballet, I've been on a river barge in France, I have seen a whale crest from a distance of just a few yards. I saw the President of Malta sworn in and dined in a restaurant near the President of Madrid. I watched Italian women making pasta by hand, I spent the night in a converted monastery that clung to the side of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. One of my top sights was cruising into Malta at dawn with the sun shining on the stone giving the whole place a golden glow. I visited Meteora in Northern Greece where the Monks built 24 monastaries on the tops of sandstone peaks that were inaccessible except by a system of baskets and ropes. Every memory was magical and there are wonders like this in every country on earth!
How many countries have you been to?
I haven't kept count but over 40 would be a good start.
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