For the 50+ Traveler

Travel with Joanne discovers Sydney differently by regularly exploring, photographing and writing about suburbs of Sydney. Every suburb Joanne has walked through (and there are over 60 so far), has interesting tales to tell. Joanne has discovered new cuisines, history and thought provoking street art. She has walked quiet bush tracks and sandy beaches and discovered exciting architecture. Of course she also writes about her other travel experiences.

Joanne spent time answering our travel questions below.

Chess players in Hurstville, Australia. Photo Courtesy of Joanne Karcz.

TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?

Joanne: I suppose I have been traveling all my life in one way or another. As a child, my family always went to new places for holidays. As an adult I have been able to travel both locally in Australia and overseas on a regular basis. It sounds clichéd, but discovering other customs and cultures really excites me.

TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?

Joanne: What I enjoy most is walking the streets of a city or town, getting a feel for the place. This is why I started walking the suburbs of Sydney - to get to know the city I have lived in for almost thirty years, but didn't really know it besides the usual tourist spots. When I go overseas, depending on the destination, I may go on a small group tour or choose to travel independently.

TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?

Joanne: There are so many wonderful places I have visited that it is hard to choose a best trip. I walked the Camino de Santiago twice (the French Route and the Portuguese Route) and they were life changing experiences. I have just returned from Iran which I loved for its culture and scenery and its welcoming people.

TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?

Joanne: Japan - ever since I did a school project back in primary school.

TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?

Joanne: A book set in the place I am traveling to.

TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?

Joanne: Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself, you will be pleasantly surprised.

What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?

Joanne: I enjoy reading Destination Differentville. Helen always finds quirky things to write about on her travels. The thoughtful podcasts and topics that Amanda Kendle writes and talks about in I'm Not a Ballerina, I'm a traveller and a thinker are always worth the time spent reading or listening.

A scene outside the former American Embassy in Tehran. Photo Courtesy of Joanne Karcz.

What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?

Joanne: Iran without a doubt. For obvious reasons, it has not yet become popular, but it is a place you need to see for yourself to make up your own mind. I have recently returned from almost four weeks there. We had a 12 day small group tour and then set off on our own, having settled into the way of things. I have never felt safer.

TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?

Joanne: I was surprised to learn that a well-traveled friend checks in at the airport. We always check in online. This way we can be sure of our seat and makes the process at the airport shorter. Then, I like to get on the plane as early as possible to make sure I can fit my luggage in the overhead locker and relax.

TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?

Joanne: It sounds so obvious, but I found it particularly freeing to be told that if I leave something behind or lose something, there's always your credit card.

TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?

Joanne: Things going wrong. Rather than worry that something might happen, enjoy the now. If things go wrong, deal with it at the time - you will always have a good story to tell once it has sorted.

Which country has surprisingly good food? (And what are some good things to eat there?)

Joanne: The Pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain is fabulous. Doing a pintxos tour (independently or with a group) is essential when visiting the Basque city. Don't go past the cheesecake at La Vina (one serve more than enough for two). And do ask for the jerez (sherry) to pour over the cheesecake. It is better than any cheesecake I"ve ever tasted.

TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?

Joanne: Expect locals to speak English. People visiting a foreign country should at least try to learn basic phrases in the language of that country. I love chatting to locals and do so whenever I can. Even though I may only have a few words of the local language people appreciate my efforts (hand signals work wonders) and this has led to some amazing experiences.

Learn more about Joanne:

Visit her website Travel with Joanne.
Follow her on Twitter here.
Find her on Facebook here.
See her photos on Instagram here.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!