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.
Occupation: National Geographic Author, Founder GutsyTraveler.com blog
Hometown: San Francisco
Residence: Marin County
Short Bio: Last year Marybeth visited her 90th country. She has hiked, biked, dived, danced, snow-shoed, skied, climbed, copter-ed, trekked and traipsed her way through six continents, from the depth of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the way Marybeth studied in Paris for four years and earned two degrees.
At twenty-nine she traveled alone around the world. These two years of travel changed her life. She met her future husband, am American, in Kathmandu, Nepal, and she returned to begin a new career as a writer, (eleven books), online travel magazine publisher, spokesperson, and speaker. Since then she has spoken around the world at such venues as the Explorer’s Club and Asia Society in New York and at conventions and corporate meetings.
Marybeth’s adventures and eleven travel books, including A Woman’s World and Gutsy Women landed her on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her National Geographic books and GutsyTraveler.com website have been featured over 1,000 times on TV, radio and print. She is a Contributor to CNN, CNN Airport Network and CNN.com
Two years ago Marybeth and her daughter biked 3,115 miles across the USA, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, for a challenge, adventure and her favorite charity. They raised $52,000 for the National Osteoporosis Foundation through their blog and sponsors.
How often do you fly: As often as I can, averaging 25 + a year.
How many countries have you been to: 90+
How many continents have you been to: Six
Favorite American city: San Francisco. Home.
Favorite international city: Paris. Home for four years.
Least favorite country: Bangladesh.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Anchor Wat in Cambodia.
Favorite airline: Any airline where I can get into Business or First Class, which is very rare.
Favorite airport lounge: Malaysia Airlines. Kuala Lumpur.
Favorite U.S. airport: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Favorite international airport: Hong Kong for the great food.
Favorite hotel: Aman Resorts all over the world. Amanwana on Moyo Island between Lombock and Komodo is at the top of the list.
Favorite island: Bali.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Michael Mina in San Francisco
Favorite hole in the wall: Hop Kee on Mott Street in Chinatown, New York City.
Coming from San Francisco, I avoid American-style Chinese restaurants where the food is usually lousy. A friendly Asian waiter at breakfast in Soho recommended Ho Kee a joint where his family eats twice a week. After wandering through Confucian-style gates and a warren of Asian markets and shops, we came to a neon light and flight of steps leading into basement rooms packed with Asian families. Forget the swanky décor of uptown popular restaurants, this joint is clean but simple. You’ll receive two plastic menus, but you’ll want to order off the small laminated page “today’s specials,” with the real deal Cantonese specialties, which haven’t changed for years. Families were chowing down platters of crab, the fat, juicy steamed mussels in black bean sauce and plump shrimp in walnut sauce at nearby tables. We ordered lemon chicken, sauteed green beans, noodles and walnut shrimp and wouldn’t let the waiter take away the plate until we’d picked up every morsel and dragged it through the sauce with our chopsticks. Hop Kee doesn’t have a liquor license, but they’re happy to offer you an opener if you bring your own beer or wine.
Favorite fruit: Passion Fruit of course, in any form: sorbet at Bertillon in Paris, as a drizzle over lamb, or fresh from the market.
Favorite foods: Indian Masal Dosas, Thai curries, Burmese noodles, Moroccan tagines, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Mexican fish tacos, French cheeses, you name it. Stir fried or simmered or caviar and champagne, I love it all.
Least favorite food: Cabbage
Favorite travel movie(s): The Jewel and The Crown about India
Favorite travel book(s): France: A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway, La Seduction by Elaine Sciolino. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by T. E. Carhart, Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs by Jeremy Mercer, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle.
Italy: The Agony and the Ecstasy, A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, Roma by Steven Saylor, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant.
Right now I am reading: The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean, because I’m traveling to Russia this summer.
Five things you bring on a plane: Noise reduction head phones, cashews, an eye shield, jacket for warmth or pillow, water bottle.
What do you always seem to forget: Belts
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: When my iphone was stolen in Miami. I’ve traveled to 90+ countries and have held on to my money or valuables. Cell phones are big ticket items and may be stolen from you when you walk down the street talking. Be extra careful.
What’s your dream destination: My dream destinations are places I love: Bali, Nepal, India, Burma, France, Italy, Ireland, the USA, and adventures I for the future: hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, sailing to Antarctica, diving with whale sharks.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: GutsyTraveler.cm
Best travel tip: From my book Gutsy Women: Regardless of how expensive, inconvenient or scary a trip was in the planning, the only trips I’ve ever regretted are those I didn’t take.
Expensive? Marybeth traveled around the world for two years.
Inconvenient? Marybeth had to get sitters for her two young kids, dog and her job to travel to Borneo to give a speech, live in a longhouse and climb Mt. Kinabalu.
Scary? Marybeth, in her 50’s, embarked on a two-month 3,115 mile bike ride across the USA. Without a support company, she figured it out, got in shape and went for it.
The trips she’s regretted not taking? Antarctica, Brazil, Iceland, trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, trekking around Mt. Kailash in Tibet. They are still on her bucket list.