I love my new title — AARP travel ambassador. I find it so much more approachable than travel expert, a description I think has the connotation of "I know all."
I have never been embarrassed to say that I don't know it all. I make mistakes and I'm always learning. I'm forever curious about the world, the experiences it offers and its innumerable cultures. I have always wanted to share the joy of travel, and in my 11 years of hosting travel TV shows, I have aimed to be a "real" person with whom you would want to spend time.
I have traveled to 49 countries with a motto that continues to serve me well: "If I can do it, you can do it."
I will be appearing regularly on AARP.org to give you my best travel advice, and I hope throughout my work to explore a theme most important to me: There is emotional value to travel.
We all know the financial value of travel. Plane tickets cost a lot of money, as do hotels and meals. But the emotional value is an investment, too. I'm talking about the substance that strengthens the bonds of friendship and family, that continues to grow years after a trip has been taken. Unfortunately, that is an aspect of travel too often sidelined by stories about the incredibly shrinking airplane seat or germs that survive on a cruise ship. As ambassador, I will explore the hot topics, but always through the lens of why travel educates us and helps us grow in many ways. But don't worry — I'll also share practical tips, such as how best to pack a suitcase.
I look forward to learning from you as well. I hope to harness the incredible travel community that exists at AARP and cultivate it as a go-to resource for what to see and do both in the United States and abroad. I know that you are excellent travelers.
During my own travels throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe, it wasn't the college backpacker but the 50-plus explorer that I kept running into. From luxury hotels in Europe to hiking trails in Peru and every type of travel in between, I enjoyed hearing about your adventures as well as sharing your insatiable quest for understanding our world, and I admired the energy that defied the categories others so quickly want to put you in.
I may not be 50 quite yet, but I know a little something about defying odds. I'm almost 43 years old and I recently gave birth to twins.
As I begin my ambassadorship, I envision us having a continuing conversation about travel that soon will turn into an invaluable resource for us all. I believe travel is a necessity, and that no matter our age, we are all on a journey to understand ourselves, our world and who we are in it. Nothing gives us that opportunity like travel.