Hometown: Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
Favorite destinations: Big Sur California, Ireland, France, Spain, Napa Valley, and road trips across America or any other countryside.
Dying to visit: The Maldives.
Bizarre travel rituals: I ALWAYS overpack — to the point of making my suitcase impossibly heavy. I do one version of packing where I put in everything on my wish list, then wait an hour and un-pack and re-pack in a more practical way. Not an easy task for me (or any other Virgo). Despite my best efforts, a baggage handler always comments that I must be going away for a loooooong time. I laugh, agree, and say, "You know us girls!" Little does he know it's only a quick trip with too many unknown variables.
In-flight relaxation regime: Lately I have a thing for aisle seats. Love 'em. Once settled in (air vent on low and water bottle and magazines in seat pocket), I open a pack of Milk Duds and turn on my TV in search of an episodic series like The Killing or a documentary about people getting lost in the jungle and surviving on ants. Fascinating!
Always in carry-on: Kleenex, hand sanitizer, water, gum, iPod, headphones, a good book, magazines, and movie candy.
Concierge or DIY? DIY. I love using the internet to plan my adventures, and there are so many apps that make discovering the best spots easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.
See it all or take it easy? Both. I feel like I missed out if I don't have a day or two of intense siteseeing. It makes for more of an adventure. And I love taking suggestions from locals — they always know the best spots.
Drive or be driven? Drive, unless it's New York. Then I like to take the train or hire a car for the night if I'm feeling fancy.
Travel heroes: Thelma and Louise. I mean...
Best hotel amenity: Comfy robes and nice-smelling bath products.
I dream about my meal at Il Mulino in New York City, and some little Italian restaurant outside of Lake Como, Italy. Best. Pasta. Ever. Also I can't stop thinking about Navarre in Portland, Oregon. I had a dish with octopus and cherries and fresh radishes with butter and salt. It was unexpectedly delicious.
Everywhere I go, I check out the farmers markets, parks, museums, spas, and bakeries.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by walking, driving, and looking at a map so I can locate north, south, east, and west. Once I know which direction is which, my inner compass takes over and I only get lost 40 percent of the time.
I always bring home chocolate and a souvenir for my eight-year-old son.
I travel for the feeling of escape and adventure. I love taking photographs, so experiencing different cultures and scenery is always fun for me.