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: Barbara Weibel
Occupation: Travel writer/photographer
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Residence: Traveling the world full time with no home base
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Short bio: After years of working 70-80 hours per week at jobs that paid the bills but brought no joy, a serious illness made Barbara Weibel realize she felt like the proverbial “hole in the donut”—solid on the outside but empty on the inside. In 2007, at the age of 54, Weibel walked away from her successful career, sold or gave away most of her material possessions, and began traveling around the world in pursuit of her true passions: travel, photography and writing. Initially, her intention was to travel for six months, but by the time that first trip ended Weibel realized she could never return to a “normal life.” These days she bounces from country to country, writing stories about her adventures on her blog, Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.
How often do you fly? As little as possible, but since I’m a full-time digital nomad, I have to fly occasionally. I’d guess I fly 10-12 times a year, but once on a chosen continent I opt mostly for trains, buses, boats, and share cars.
How many countries have you been to? 70
How many continents have you been to? 6—Alas, Antarctica has eluded me, mostly because I suffer badly from seasickness.
Earliest travel memory: Wisconsin Dells with my family, perhaps at the age of nine or 10.
Favorite American city: Don’t have one.
Favorite international city: Oh, so many to choose from. If I have to pick one, maybe Bangkok…no, Split, Croatia…no, Pokhara, Nepal…aagh!
Least favorite country: Shanghai, China.
I have no desire to go to: Mars—everything but space travel is on the table.
Friendliest people in the world: New Zealand.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Machu Picchu, Peru.
Favorite airline: Still looking for a good one.
Favorite aircraft type: They’re all the same to me—bad food and uncomfortable seats.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Don’t use them.
Favorite U.S. airport: Maybe Chicago O’Hare, but they’re all pretty lame.
Favorite international airport: Changi Airport in Singapore.
Favorite hotel: If I were rich, I’d stay in Shangri-La properties wherever they are.
Favorite cruise line: Viking River Cruises—they do a spectacular job.
Favorite travel credit card: Master Card.
Favorite island: So far, Bali.
Favorite beach: Tulum, Mexico.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Tiesto’s in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Thai curry.
Least favorite food: Meat—I’m a vegetarian.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Don’t drink alcohol, so let’s say coffee on the ground and water in the air.
Favorite travel book(s): Anything written by Pico Iyer.
Right now I am reading: “A World Undone: The Story of the Great War 1914 to 1918″ by G.J. Meyer.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Heather on her Travels, My Itchy Travel Feet, Ottsworld—they’re all personal friends as well!
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, iPhone, headphones, backup battery for iPhone, food.
What do you always seem to forget? Everything I own is in a 22″ carry-on suitcase, a small backpack for my equipment, and my purse—it’s literally impossible for me to forget anything.
What do you like least about travel? Travel planning.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing—I don’t need or want any more “stuff” in my life.
Favorite travel app(s): Maps.me, Day One Journal.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Don’t have one; apparently nothing embarrasses me.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Yellowstone National Park.
Worst travel moment: Being robbed in the middle of the night while camping in Hawaii.
What’s your dream destination? Tibet.
Best travel tip: Don’t be afraid to ask strangers for help.