Penny Zibula is a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Bern, North Carolina. Along with her husband and photographer, Simon Lock, and her guide dog, Otto, she travels the world in search of interesting, entertaining, and informative stories to share with readers. You can follow their adventures on Six Legs Will Travel.
Penny was kind enough to answer some of our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Penny: We've been traveling, writing and taking photos since early 2013 in what is supposed to be our retirement. I was born with the wanderlust gene, but became completely hooked on travel as a teenager through TV, movies, and especially books. The more I travel, the more I become addicted.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Penny: My writing is geared to anyone who loves to travel or would love to travel. Because I am a boomer traveler who is aware of disability issues while on the road, the information I provide is relevant to this category of readers.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Penny: People ask me this question all the time, and my answer is, "where ever I happen to be." Comparing destinations and experiences is like comparing apples and single malt scotch. Every country, city, village, and attraction is unique. Having said all this, Spain, Italy and Ireland own pieces of my heart because of the people who inhabit them.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Penny: I've always had a fascination with Egypt. Its ancient history has always tugged at my subconscious, urging me to go and see her wonders for myself.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Penny: I always pack a long extension cord with two international outlets and four USB ports. There's nothing more frustrating than searching high and low for electrical outlets in our hotel room, only to find a single one behind the bed. At least we get a lot of power for our furniture-moving efforts with this gadget.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Penny: Look for the surprises. You never know when a person or experience unexpectedly adds a new and priceless dimension to your travels. Be aware. Be flexible. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Do these things, and you will find some of your most precious memories.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Penny: My GEP Travel Writers Cafe Facebook group has provided me with a wealth of information and encouragement. Add to this a group of fellow travel writers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience, and it doesn't get any better. There are many bloggers who inspire me. Among them: To Travel Too, There Goes Connie, Luggage and Lipstick, Betsi's World, Curb Free With Cory Lee.
TA: Where was the most unusual place you've ever stayed?
Penny: A tent in the desert at Wadi Rum, Jordan.
TA: What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten overseas?
Penny: Fried crab on a stick in Xi'an, China. Incredibly messy, but out of this world.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Penny: Sign up for a credit card that includes access to airport lounges at airports around the world. This makes an enormous difference during long layovers.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Penny: Ann and Mike from http://honeytrek.com gave during their keynote presentation at a TBEx conference. They advised all of us to learn how to say "delicious" in the language of every country we visit. We took that advice, and the smiles this single word brings is more than worth the small effort it takes to learn it.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Penny: Terrorists. The chances of being the victim of a terrorist attack are extremely slim. It's better to take some simple precautions and avoid destinations that make you uncomfortable than it is to stop traveling altogether.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Penny: Krakow, Poland. The central square has more in the way of history, architecture, food, and museums in one place than we've seen anywhere. There is also the castle with its fire-breathing dragon. And those are just for starters.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Penny: Expecting everything to be exactly the same as it is at home, and complaining when it isn't. I feel like asking these people why the heck they bother traveling in the first place. This kind of attitude is totally disrespectful and thoroughly obnoxious.
TA: What's one piece of advice you'd give to travelers your age?
Penny: Travel while you have your health and resources. `Nothing is promised, including tomorrow. Eliminate future regrets today.