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: David & Veronica James, The GypsyNesters
Occupation: Travel writers, authors of “Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All”
Hometown: Veronica grew up as a Southern California Valley Girl, David hails from the prairies of Kansas and mountains of Colorado.
Residence: Full-time travelers
Facebook: GypsyNester – Celebrating Life After Kids
Pinterest: The GypsyNesters
Google+: Veronica James (The GypsyNester)
Short bio: David & Veronica are experiencing the collision of Baby Boomer and Empty Nester. Upon sending their youngest out into the big, wide world, they set out to break the empty nest rules by selling everything and hitting the road. To become more than empty nesters, to be gypsies, GypsyNesters!
Along the way they rediscovered the couple who fell in love years ago and chronicled their journey in a new book, “Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All.”
How many countries have you been to? Over 40 and counting!
How many continents have you been to? Five, but we have plans to add our sixth, Africa, later this year.
Favorite American city: So many great ones to choose from, but guess we’d put New Orleans at the top of the list, mainly for the food. In fact, a muffuletta from Central Grocery is enough to put it up there all by itself. When God wants a sandwich, that is where he goes.
Favorite international city: We have a habit of falling in love with whatever city we happen to be in at the time, that being said, on our last overseas adventure we really fell for Amsterdam and Stockholm.
Friendliest people in the world: We’d say it’s a close call between the folks in Newfoundland and Queensland, Australia—the people are so hospitable, we ended up feeling guilty!
Favorite World Heritage Site: Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but Machu Picchu has to be up there, as well as the Great Wall of China. For a lesser known one, Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic was an unforgettable experience for many reasons, not the least of which is a church entirely decorated with human bones.
Favorite airline: Our best flight lately was on All Nippon Airways from Tokyo to Chicago. Good thing too, since it was a 12-hour flight!
Favorite aircraft type: The Boeing 777, but we’ll probably change our minds once we get the chance to fly on a 787 or Airbus A380 yet.
Aisle or window: Both, we like it when we can get a short row of two seats alone in the back. But a window seat is mandatory—there’s nothing like the excitement of watching a destination come into focus from the sky.
Favorite U.S. airport: If we had to be stuck in an airport somewhere, guess we’d want it to be the jetBlue terminal at JFK. It’s a travel writer’s dream. Food and drinks are delivered to fully appointed workstations—no need to crawl around on hands and knees looking for elusive electrical outlets!
Favorite international airport: Princess Juliana International Airport on Saint Martin. Not for the building or services, just to watch the planes landing inches off of the beach. It’s a crazy show, and not for the faint of heart.
Favorite hotel: We love hotels with personality. Our favorites include the Library Hotel in New York City—the whole place is designed around the Dewey Decimal System—a must for book lovers. The Victory Hotel in Stockholm is unbelievable; it holds one of the most impressive collections of nautical artifacts we’ve seen. For quirky factor, the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi can’t be beat. Created from authentic sharecropper shacks, every detail is spot on.
Favorite cruise line: Viking for on the rivers and Princess for on the high seas.
Favorite island: St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. The prettiest beaches around, and many times we found ourselves alone on the sand—our own private paradise. Bliss.
Favorite beach: Buck Island, US Virgin Islands. The entire island is protected as a National Park so it is completely pristine.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans, unbelievable Creole cuisine served under a canopy of hanging wisteria, there’s just no better setting for crawfish etouffee and stolen kisses.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Brown’s Diner in Nashville Tennessee, a Music City institution for chili and cheeseburgers since 1927. There’s always a chance for a country-music-star brush with greatness!
Favorite food: For us, food is a huge part of travel. We love to get close to the culture of a place by partaking in the local street food scene.
Least favorite food: By far, the worst thing we have ever put in our mouths was silk worms in China. It is actually hard to say just how bad they tasted though, because the smell had pretty much shut down our brains.
Favorite travel book(s): Well, we kind of have to pick our own, “Going Gypsy,” right? We’re both huge Bill Bryson fans, we especially love “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America.”
Right now I am reading: “A Cook’s Tour” by Anthony Bourdain and “How to Barter for Paradise” by Michael Wigge.
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, iPad, headphones, water, and most important…inflatable neck pillow.
What do you always seem to forget? We never unpack, so it is hard to forget things!
Most embarrassing travel moment: Veronica once locked herself inside a hotel room. Not possible you say? You’re right. She just couldn’t figure out how the odd Italian door handle worked…for about an hour.
Favorite travel charity: Pack for a Purpose. Just pack school supplies in your luggage when you travel and Pack for a Purpose will distribute them to deserving schools in destinations all over the world.
Best travel tip: Do it with someone you love. There is no better way for a couple to connect—or reconnect once the kids move out—than by experiencing new things together. We feel that traveling has enhanced our relationship in more ways that we could ever have imagined.
Always great to hear what experienced travelers like and dislike most about traveling! Great idea Johnny, look forward to more posts of this nature.