Desiree Rew is living her dream life as a freelance travel writer. With each journey she is trying to prove that the world is not flat and you will not fall off if you get on a plane and just Go! She considers herself a scout for those who dream of destinations but need someone that they know, trust, or just looks like them to do the reconnaissance first. If she can go than you can too — that is the foundation of her blog Rue Desiree. Travel that inspires, informs, and motivates you to move.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Desiree: I’ve been traveling as a freelance travel writer for about one year now but I’ve been exploring the world for as long as I can remember in different ways. I didn’t grow up in a family who vacationed so I learned about the world by watching television and reading books.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Desiree: If I have to claim a “type” I’ll say that my specialty is solo travel.
TA: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Desiree: This is a hard one because every one of them is the BEST in my eyes. I will say, recently I traveled to Paris for a day trip from Amsterdam. I’d been to Paris a few months prior and Googled by happenstance if there was a street named Desiree in Paris. Since my first name is french and my last name is ‘street’ in french I figured the odds were pretty good. Low and behold Google revealed, “Rue Desiree” I decided at that moment to come back to Paris and memorialize me and “my” street with a photo shoot. I did and it was the best time I’ve ever had. I was a supermodel for approximately five hours and it was the best five hours of my life.
TA: What’s one place you’ve always wanted to visit?
Desiree: If you would have asked me that 8 years ago I would have given you a list longer then my arm or your arm depending on who’s taller. Now, I can say that I’ve been to the places I’ve always wanted to visit. My current travel itinerary has no rhyme or reason. Well maybe reason. Usually it’s just based off of wanting to go to the beach or the mountains. Or a destination sparked by something I’ve read or seen in a movie. I just pick a place and go. Now, the first place I wanted to actually go before I became a travel writer many years ago was London. I watched Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on TV as a girl in Baltimore as if I was actually in the cathedral. I was obsessed with everything British and fantasized often about being in London. I first visited in 2009 and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be there. I’ve been several times since but you never forget your first time. So, that trip was the first place scratched off of a pretty long list.
TA: What’s one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Desiree: The one thing I always pack is my journal. I never leave for a trip without it. I want to capture everything including my thoughts, revelations, conversations, feelings, and ideas. When I am heading to a destination, no matter where it is, I become another person taking in everything around me — noticing the nuances of a location. My adventure begins when I get through TSA and I want to cherish every moment of it so I start journaling as soon as possible to set the tone for my trip.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Desiree: Go! Don’t wait for a partner, or a reason, or the right time. Follow your curiosity and have the adventure you deserve. Just GO!
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
TA: Where was the most unusual place you’ve ever stayed?
Desiree: The most unusual place I ever stayed was a hostel in Martha’s Vineyard. What was unusual for me was that I was 47 years old when I stayed. I decided to stay at the hostel simply because I’d never stayed in one before. Since it was on Martha’s Vineyard I guessed it would be well maintained. It was and located off of a bus line so I was able to get around the island with ease. I got a private room which consisted of a full size bunk bed with a private bathroom but a communal shower. I was given sheets when I checked in to make up the bed. The only issue I had was seeing a tick — which I am intimately familiar with as a dog owner — on my bed. I didn’t use the communal kitchen to prepare meals mainly because I hate to cook but did use the refrigerator to store food. I peeked around at the other rooms and concluded I couldn’t stay in a shared room situation at this stage of my life and sleep comfortably. With that said, I actually enjoyed it but not enough to stay again. I don’t require many luxuries while traveling but I do require a few more options than what is available at a hostel.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Desiree: I love the airport. I see it as part of the journey not the thing standing between you and your margarita. My airport hack is to re-imagine it. Airports have yoga rooms, chapels, rocking chairs, quiet areas, artwork, and great eateries. You don’t have to hurry up and wait. Prepare your adventure muscles that you’ll be using for the trip in the airport.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever been given?
Desiree: The best piece of advice I ever received was to get Global Entry. Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check are the two best things that have ever happened to my travel life. I say a prayer of thanks every time I get off the plane returning home and bypass the gazillion passengers in the customs line.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Desiree: I believe most travelers worry too much about what the news says about the destination they are visiting. You should definitely be informed about your destination and any travel alerts when traveling, however every news story should not scare you to the point of not traveling.
TA: What’s something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Desiree: Asking someone to switch seats on a plane drives me bonkers. Let me be clearer: sitting in the seat of someone else then when they arrive asking can you sit there and they take your seat. That infuriates me to no end because I don’t personally ascribe to the ask for forgiveness and not permission method of living. Whenever it has happened to me, I have responded no each time. I sit in the seat that I paid for. Now, if someone from first class was in my seat and wanted to switch I’d be more amenable to saying yes.
TA: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to travelers your age?
Desiree: Learn to pack! Travelers my age (49) tend to overpack because they tend to overthink. They want to be prepared for the what if’s which is the rite of passage to becoming an adult, however, when traveling embrace your youth. Pack lighter, re-purpose and re wear clothes, bring shoes that can go with everything to eliminate bringing more than you need. If you go home with items in your suitcase that you did not wear — you over packed.