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: Olga Pitcairn (pen name Camelia Rose)
Hometown: Serang, Java (East Dutch Indies)
Residence: New Hope, PA
College: University of Pennsylvania
College major: Archeology
Facebook: Olga Pitcairn
Short bio: I was born in Java (East Dutch Indies), and I spent my childhood in Japanese concentration camps during WWII. I was educated in Europe and later in the U.S. I started my writing career at age 55. I have published three books so far, and I am working on my fourth: “Neolithic Culinary Delights.” My newest novel “The Kiss,” an “airplane read,” can be found on Amazon.com.
How often do you fly? Lately, about four times a year to visit my family in Phoenix.
How many countries have you been to? 21
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: At age 12, in 1950, I flew from Jakarta to Amsterdam, a two-day trip in a four-engine plane in which we stayed overnight in Karachi.
Favorite American city: New York City.
Favorite international city: Vienna, Austria.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Nemrut Dag, Turkey; Lalibela, Ethiopia; Kermanshah, Iran; Kurdistan, Iran; visiting the Behistun Inscriptions—all awesome.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite hotel: Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam.
Favorite cruise line: Holland America Line.
Favorite island: Martinique.
Favorite beach: Grenadines.
Favorite fruit: Peach.
Favorite food: Thai cuisine.
Craziest thing you’ve eaten: Calf’s tongue and brains.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne—Roederer Rose.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Valleys of the Assassins” (Freya Stark).
Right now I am reading: “The Signature of All Things” (E. Gilbert).
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I read the travel sections of all major international newspapers, like the Daily Mail (UK), Die Presse (Austria), Today’s Zaman (Turkey), etc.
5 things you bring on a plane: Pillow, book, tissues, peppermints.
What do you always seem to forget? Slippers.
What do you like least about travel? Getting to the airport.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Perfume.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Lalibela, Ethiopia. When the manager of the hotel gave me a top room coveted by my Swan Tour manager, who then accused me of bribery…The truth was that he had overheard me saying something nice about his hotel while the other tourists were complaining about their accommodation and food…If I remember correctly, I had said that we should be grateful being able to see the Coptic churches and I was sure the manager tried his best to make our stay pleasant.
Worst travel moment: Stranded on Corfu—July 1974—when the Cyprus war broke out…all male hotel employees drafted for the war and tourists had to make their own beds, clean, and help out in the kitchen. Most hotel employees in those days were male. Getting from Corfu to Athens was a horrible experience as I had food poisoning (virus of the pancreas I was told later)…no medical help on Corfu.
What’s your dream destination? Singapore—Gardens by the Bay (opened recently).
Best travel tip: While at the Algarve, Portugal in April 1974, the revolution broke out. Not many tourists in April, the dozen Germans chartered a bus and fled to Spain as airports were closed as well as banks. I had little small cash on me, large denomination American express checks…in those days no ATM…How to sightsee? The young concierge had a cousin who had a taxi…We made arrangements that he would escort me everywhere and the charges, also restaurants on the way, would be on the hotel…The final bill included all these extras. The Algarve airport was still closed so the taxi drove me to Lisbon because I had a TWA flight to Madrid…where I had to catch another flight to Bilbao to join a swan tour visiting the caves at Altamira. The lesson I learned was to carry lots of small denomination dollar bills, in case of emergency. It served me well when I was stuck in Greece during the Cyprus war.
Another lesson I learned was to put a $20 bill with my passport and hotel voucher…It secured me a much better room. It could have been my pretty face, though :).