This is it. The final Traveler Tuesday for the season. As I do every year, this series is going on hiatus for a few months while I change up the questions and find new travel bloggers to interview. I could not be more thrilled to end this season with a bang and a travel writer I have known for a very long time. I met Jody Halsted at my very first blogging conference in 2009 and we became fast friends. She hails from Iowa where my father’s side of my family is from and exudes that Midwestern charm and generosity. But she has that fighting Irish spirit too, so don’t mess with her. She writes about family travel, particularly to Ireland, RVing and camping (and really so much more as her multiple blogs attest to) and I just adore her!
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Let’s meet Jody!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
My family didn’t vacation when I was a child – I think I remember a trip to North Dakota once, in the winter, to visit family- so I can recall reading and dreaming. In my mid-20s I had a horrible job that paid very (very) well and I began traveling then. First to warmer spots in the US, then my first trip overseas, to Ireland, when I was 32.
 What kind of traveler do you define yourself as?
I don’t really define my travel. I began as a ‘solo traveler’, then my husband and I did ‘couples travel’. We had 2 daughters, so I then fell into ‘family travel’. And though I still most often travel with my family I like to think of myself, and my family when they are along, as ‘exploratory travelers’. I (we) really like to jump into whatever destination we find ourselves and learn all we can about it- history, food, quirky things, and even tourist traps. We love it all!
 What do you love most about traveling?
I love the anticipation of discovery. There is nothing more exciting than learning something new.
 What do you dislike about traveling?
Truthfully… flying. I hate it. The crowds, the grumpy people, the tiny seats in a metal tube. I prefer road trips or trains.
 Why should people travel?
I think it’s worth stating that you don’t have to go far to travel. Travel can be within your own county or state- you just don’t have to go far to discover something! With that, people should travel to discover… Something! Anything! Any time you find something new, something you didn’t know about, something that piques your interest, you grow. And growth is essential to life.
 What famous person would you like to travel with?
None, really. I like to be low key. I’ve traveled with celebrities and it’s never low key.
 Travel essentials – 3 things you always travel with.
SCOTTeVEST Margaux Cargaux pants– I love these! So many pockets and they can be long or ruched short.
A camera- I don’t care if it’s my Google Pixel 2XL or my Olympus EPL7, I must have a camera!
My Bullet Journal. My life is in it- schedule, trip notes, random thoughts…
 If you’re a foodie, what’s your favorite food city? Do you have a restaurant recommendation?
In the US- Des Moines, Iowa. Truly. Food is fresh and imaginative. You have to visit or trust me.
In Ireland- the Burren in County Clare. The food trail along the coast is amazing. Everything is hyper-local and so very good.
 What’s one location on your bucket list?
The Black Forest and Rhine Valley in Germany. Maybe all those fairy tales when I was growing up…
 Do you have a piece of advice for bloggers starting out?
Begin with a plan. It’s not sexy, but it’s the fastest way to success. Lay out your plan and follow through. New ideas? Mindmap them and let them stew for a while before you implement them to see if they really make sense. And maybe stay away from the word ‘nomad’.
 What are three other blogs that inspire you?
Corey Taratuta at The Irish Fireside is amazing. His readers and listeners are beyond loyal, I’ve not seen anything quite like it.
Matt Long of Landlopers is probably one of the most authentic bloggers out there, and he hasn’t changed since he began.
Sara Broers from Travel With Sara is a force in the Midwest. She’s just the best kind of person, always striving for her own success and pulling others up with her.
Jody’s Lightning Round of Favorites
Airport: Shannon, Ireland
Mode of Transportation: RV
City or Country: country
Travel Gear: Samsonite Underseat Roller. It’s a perfect flight bag.
Travel snack: trail mix with cranberries (no raisins!)
Book: Pretty much anything by Philippa Gregory
Movie: I just saw The Dressmaker with Kate Winslet. Blew me away.
Song: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
Quote: Never reach out your hand farther than you can withdraw it (Irish Proverb)
You can keep up with Jody on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (she’s got multiple accounts in multiple spots, so get the entire list here) and of course on her blog. Wherever you catch them, I am sure you will enjoy their travel adventures!
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