Last week we met Christina a fellow AFAR Ambassador. This week I am thrilled to introduce you to Alison of Green with Renvy, an AFAR Local Expert for the Boston Area. And as her blog suggests, this blogger-writer extraordinaire focuses on green travel, a subject close to my heart.
Let’s meet Alison!
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When and how did you become a traveler?
Perhaps in the womb!? I was conceived in Japan and long before I knew that fact, I taught myself Japanese phrases and to count in the language. I wanted to learn all I could about the country. Seriously though, in my days before travel writing, I started and built a clothing and design business that manufactured in India and the Philippines. It was during that time I fell and love with travel and knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Where do you love to travel?
India has a piece of my heart. I am returning for trip #7 in January and can’t wait to have my senses assaulted and experience the colors, smells, and people once again. It’s heaven for my wanderlust.
Most memorable travel moment:
Sunrise balloon trip over the 100’s of ancient temples in Bagan, Burma. It took my breath away.
What won’t you travel without?
These days, my iPhone and a lip balm.
A day isn’t complete until I…
Take at least one photograph and daydream about a spot I’d like to visit.
A quirky daily habit of mine is…
Writing in my journal. I like to capture small moments in time.
Travel essential – 3 things you always travel with:
iPhone, good pen, passport
Name one thing people would be surprised to find in your travel bag:
Duct tape. It is an essential problem solver on the road.
Perfect travel day from start to finish.
Early morning wake up and breakfast of local fruit, pastry and a good cup of coffee. Wandering the flower and produce markets, taking photos and meeting some local craftspeople. Light lunch in a beautiful local setting overlooking the water, be it river, ocean, lake or pool. Afternoon exploring historical sites and walking architecturally interesting neighborhoods. Pre-dinner massage to work out all the kinks in my shoulders from travel. Dinner at the chef’s table in a restaurant that celebrates all that is seasonally local in the area. Check in with family members at home and peaceful sleep.
What are your favorite food cities?
For a small island, Nantucket has amazing restaurants with a focus on all things local, especially fresh seafood. The Proprietors is my favorite.
Of course, Boston-I love oysters at B+G Oysters, coffee and baked goods at any of Tatte’s Cafes and lobster rolls from James Hook + Co.
Galway, Ireland hits it out of the park at Aniar, Cava Bodega, and Kai Cafe.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
I was surprised by a recent trip to Cuba earlier this year. What an incredible place of contrasts. Geographically I had no idea how stunning it would be, and all that crumbling decay was hauntingly beautiful. The vibrant arts scene was something I never imagined and after hearing all the negatives about the food, I was thrilled to eat at several restaurants that would have been right at home both aesthetically and taste-wise in NYC.
What has travel taught you?
The more I travel, the more I learn to be flexible and adapt. The world has become such a small place, I hope to highlight destinations that might not be on everyone’s radar. Meeting and learning from others around the globe develops a much deeper understanding and I truly think education promotes peace and tolerance.
Best and Worst place you’ve been to and why?
Tough one. Best solo travel would be Kerala for everything I love about India with a bit less of the chaos. Ireland was a big win with my husband and I this fall. We drove the southern part of the Wild Atlantic Way and then up to Dublin. There was such a great combination of history, beauty and great food to keep us both happy every minute of the journey.I think Ireland is ready to explode as the next great foodie destination.
I can always find something redeeming about a destination, but I am not anxious to return to China.
What’s one location on your bucket list?
The Brando Resort in Tetiaroa, French Polynesia. Eco-friendly heaven.
Hotel: I haven’t stayed in too many hotels more than once, so this is difficult. The eco-chic Malabar House in Fort Cochin, India was dreamy. Everything I look for in a property: small, historical, heritage building. Loaded with antiques and art. Nooks and crannies and a great outdoor restaurant serving local seafood while musicians play in an alcove by the pool. Pretty memorable. Locally, a recent stay at the innovative Envoy Hotel in Boston will have me highly recommending it to friends visiting the city.
Airline: Domestic-JetBlue International-British Airways
Airport: ACK Nantucket Airport. I arrive there probably 15 times a year and each time I step on the tarmac it’s like coming out of a decompression chamber. (truth be told-I’ve never been in a decompression chamber, but it’s how I imagine it in my mind’s eye. Super easy, the air is so clean and my blood pressure immediately drops at least 20 points!
Mode of Transportation: Flying. Give me a window seat and I’m happy.
Travel snack: Lara Bars and roasted salted cashews
Travel Gear: Moleskin and Pilot fine point for journal keeping. My Ona camera bag is a favorite splurge
Travel App: AFAR I am their Boston Local Expert and think their newest version of the app is fab. I always download a travel trip list loaded with restaurants and places of interest before I leave for a new destination. I like the fact that you can use the list offline
Travel Book: Off the radar-Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Gilman. A harrowing story about two recently graduated friends who venture off the grid in China and barely make it back to tell the story. I couldn’t put it down. Any female with wanderlust has had the fantasy of their starting point and it’s a good reality check about how quickly things can get out of control.
Travel Movie: A Year of Living Dangerously left quite ad impact on me and The Sound of Music for just plain fun.
Song on your smartphone: Smooth by Santana/Rob Thomas. I love Thomas’ voice and the music can give me a boost when I’m feeling a bit jet lagged.
How about you? What would you like to know about Alison?
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