Sue: I am one half of Travel for Life Now and am based in the New York City area and Singapore. I am a native New Yorker, while my wife/life partner, Regina, is from Singapore. We see the world in different ways, and that influences where we go and how we write. We offer personal reflections on near and faraway places with a humanistic worldview, scattered with little-known tidbits, out-of-the-way places, and historical background. Our trips range from popular venues to hidden treasures. We try to offer new ways of poking around and about our own backyards, our countries, and our world. Through our travels and writing, we like to understand the history and events -- current and not so current -- that have influenced how people see the world. We’re not afraid to pay for things to do, but we don’t like to break the bank.
Sue: My first international trip was to Nicaragua when I was 24 (33 years ago). I was part of a gay/lesbian delegation to help build a school and to meet with gay/lesbian and women activists in Nicaragua. At that time, that was pretty radical on all accounts. We met wonderful people in Nicaragua. The lesbians and gay men we met shared stories of anti-gay violence and harassment. Many of the people that we met in the countryside, on the other hand, had never met a gay or lesbian person before. But we were still able to connect with everyone -- gay or straight -- through our shared commitment to building a better world. The ability to create relationships despite differences in culture, politics, and sexual orientation hooked me on travel. It is so important to go beyond the official stories reported by the newspapers and politicians.
Sue: We travel as a couple, mostly independently. We have a special focus on street art; nature; temples and other religious and historic sites; food; and travel hacks. Geographically, our blog has a strong focus on the New York City area, Asia, and Europe. We do affordable luxury trips and soft adventure as well. We like to spend time in the off-the-tourist-map neighborhoods.
Sue: It's hard to pick just one. Antarctica was my dream destination for decades. The stories of the Antarctic explorers (especially Sir Ernest Shackleton) taught me a lot. And, I love penguins. I had planned to go on my 50th birthday. Instead, I went last year (I was 56). I was able to go kayaking with penguins, whales, and seals and see a glacier calve from my kayak (from a safe distance). It was an amazing trip. That trip I did solo, but I usually travel with Regina. We have been to many countries in the past 20 years, and some destinations that stood out were Cuba (a gay tour), Angkor Wat, Tibet, Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Tanzania, the Sahara, Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa. (See, I told you I couldn't pick one!)
Sue: We went to Paris for our first Valentine's Day -- very magical. We had a picnic at the gardens in Versailles (yes, in February). We had the gardens all to ourselves. We had some brie and croissants from the hotel and wine.
Sue: Cusco in Peru is one of the most beautiful cities I have been. When we were there, it was very affordable in terms of food and lodging. Most people just stop in Cusco on the way to Machu Picchu, but Cusco is a destination, too. The cathedral, squares, and Inca sites are lovely.
Sue: The Atacama Desert in Chile has everything from geysers to salt flats to Moon Valley to observatories to see the stars. With its beautiful landscapes with soaring mountains in the background, it is a photographer's dream. It deserves to be much higher on the list of places that people should go
Sue: Antarctica is my dream destination. I've been once and hope to go again. The North Pole is next on my list.
Sue: We were traveling in China for three weeks. The food was so salty and oily, and we didn't like it at all. Then we arrived in Tibet. The food was wonderful. Simple. Tasty. The momos and tsampa were very good and not oily. This was before the influx of Chinese into Tibet.
Sue: Last week I had a worm omelet in Hanoi. It tasted pretty good.
Sue: An ice hotel in Norway. The hotel was made of ice and had an ice bar. It was very beautiful, with ice carvings everywhere done by artists from Harbin, China. We slept in a room made of ice. It wasn't so bad when we went to sleep, but it was freezing when we woke up. We had to walk very quickly (without slipping on the ice) to the sauna to warm up in the morning.
Sue: I've taken cooking classes in Hanoi, New Orleans, Chiang Mai, Laos, Oaxaca and elsewhere. They are a great way to learn more about the food and local culture. These classes often involve a trip to a market as well.
Sue: Tourists can be unaware of their impact on other people and environments. Loud and rude tourists drive me crazy.
Sue: I always pack several cameras -- my iPhone, DSLR (now a mirrorless camera), underwater camera, and point-and-shoot.
Sue: Taxi drivers in Bangkok always tried to take us to somewhere other than where we wanted to go. It got so annoying that we decided to take the boats everywhere and avoid the taxis.
Sue: Set up your own excursions prior to boarding the cruise ship. Make sure that you have enough time in the ports and are able to have knowledgeable guides.
Sue: Most travelers worry too much about seeing everything there is to see. They don't take enough time to let it make an impact.
Sue: My mother said, "Just do it. See the world. There's a whole wide world out there to experience."
Sue: Take time to meet people. We share the world with many cultures and ways of doing things. Let the place that you are visiting change how you see the world.
Sue: I would recommend being adventurous. Go somewhere that's out of your comfort zone and absorb the place. Let it affect you and how you think about your own world.
Visit her website, Travel For Life Now.
Follow her on Twitter here.
Find her on Facebook here.
See her photos on Instagram here.
Read her CV on LinkedIn here.
Or connect with her on Pinterest here.