Judy Freedman is a post-50 -- or should I say as of recently, post-60 -- baby boomer blogger where she goes by the name JudiBoomergirl. Her lifestyle blog, A Baby Boomer Woman's Life After 50, is targeted to the millions of baby boomer women (born between 1945-1964) who are going through a similar life journey in mind, body, and spirit. Widowed at the age of 50, she has been reinventing herself for the past 10 years. Her philosophy is to age gracefully, be optimistic about the future, and keep her chin up: so her neck stays forever wrinkle-free.
She was kind enough to answer some of our questions about travel below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Judy: I've been traveling my entire life, but mostly for business. In the past five years since I retired, I've been traveling more for pleasure and for my blogging work.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Judy: I enjoy all types of travel, both domestic and international. I'm a big foodie so I always like to have unique culinary experiences that are local to each place I visit.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Judy: My favorite international vacation was in Italy, on the Amalfi Coast in Positano. I adore this part of Italy because the scenery along the Mediterranean is so magnificent and the food is amazing. My favorite place to travel in the USA is California. I enjoyed a trip with my daughter a few years ago to Venice Beach. I'm a big beach person. Plus, this part of California has great food too.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Judy: I'd like to go to Sicily. I've heard so much about this part of Italy and the food from this area. Mimi Sheraton includes the Palermo market in her book "1000 Foods To Eat Before You Die." Hope I get there in this lifetime.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Judy: I usually pack my padded seat cushion when I go on long flights. It makes the trip more comfortable. I just have to remind myself to repack it in my carry-on before I exit the plane.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Judy: As a yoga instructor during my life after 50, I encourage travelers to practice mindfulness when traveling. Be completely in the moment and take it all in -- don't spend all your time on Instagram.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
TA: What's the best restaurant you've ever eaten at while traveling?
Judy: Like I said, Italy has the best food. I think the best meal I had was in Positano at Fattoria La Tagliata. It's not just the food that is good, it's the entire experience, the service, the food and the view high up on a hill overlooking all of Positano. They offer a price-fixed four-course meal that includes more food than you could ever imagine eating. It's a family affair, cooked and served with love by the Luigi famiglia. You truly feel like you are in their dining room as they bring out bruschetta, pour endless glasses of wine, and set down each course -- first vegetables, then homemade pasta, next huge steaks (which are their specialty) and finally dessert (if you can still eat after all that food).
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Judy: If you like Italy I highly recommend Positano. It is the most picturesque place I've ever visited. I would suggest going to Positano during the late spring or summer when you can enjoy the beach. There are tons of steps, so get in shape before you go. The food is also phenomenal, with so many incredible Italian restaurants.
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
Judy: I like AirBnb because you can look at places to stay in a location and get an idea of prices. AirBnb also has experiences now and I've had good luck with booking tours through them. I also like TripAdvisor since they provide reviews. I suggest once you decide on a location -- city or country -- to go to the tourism board websites for that location and see what they recommend. For example, when I was going to Lyon, I found the tourism website very helpful for background information and planning purposes. Likewise, when I was going to Portland, Oregon, the Travel Portland website was filled with sites to see and restaurant recommendations.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food? (And what are some good things to eat there?)
Judy: Italy has the best food. That's because everything is so fresh. I think Europeans also buy their produce and other foods in the markets each day for their daily meals. The fruits and vegetables are fresh each day, as are the fish and meats. Plus, most of the pastas are homemade. And so are the pizzas.
TA: What's the strangest dish you ever tried and enjoyed in another country?
Judy: I just returned from Lapland where I had a chance to eat reindeer meat. I was a bit apprehensive about it. But when I tasted it, it tasted just like pot roast, at least that's how the chef prepared it
TA: What country has the best street food and why?
Judy: I'd say the best street food I had was in Portland, Oregon. That's USA Portland. They have an abundance of food trucks and food pods where several trucks hang out. The offerings are so diverse with a variety of ethnic foods.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner? (Is there a specific spot people should visit?)
Judy: I think the Loews in Santa Monica is so romantic. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the lounge is a lovely place to sit, sip Champagne and watch the sunset.