I first met Jan, a seasoned travel writer who contributes to Fodor’s Travel, Destination Luxury, and The Atlanta100, among others, at one of our interactive Diamond PR media events in Atlanta and was immediately drawn to her friendly, fun demeanor. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a “rowdy girls’ getaway” at Barnsley Resort in Georgia with Jan and only grew fonder of her. We had so much fun horseback riding, shooting clays, learning to fly fish and fun around the fire with gourmet s’mores and bourbon. Jan is a Diamond PR favorite and even earned her very own hashtag on a recent press trip!
In an effort to learn even more about Jan, I asked about her travel experiences and love all of her thoughtful answers – she’s a natural born traveler!
1. What is one of your earliest travel memories?
I don’t have any memory of it, but my parents told me I took my first steps on an airplane. When I was growing up, our family vacations usually consisted of us piling all three kids (and sometimes a dog) in a car and driving to a beach in Florida, fighting over space in the backseat with threats of impaling each other with plastic sporks. Sometimes we’d wear our bathing suits under our clothes as we couldn’t hit the beach or pool fast enough. We’d always stop at a rest stop and have my mother’s delicious fried chicken for lunch.
2. What has been one of your favorite trips and why?
I always love traveling with Diamond PR of course! My most memorable trip, however, was to Thailand and Krabi because my husband got to come with me and we stayed in the most luxurious properties. I’m fairly certain Bradley Cooper showered naked in our outdoor shower in Krabi because we stayed in a Royal Villa and the cast of Hangover ll had stayed there for a month while they were filming Stu’s wedding scene.
3. As a pro traveler, what are a few of your top travel tips?
I always take a clothes pin with me to pin together that annoying gap in curtains in hotel rooms to keep out the light. I download movies and TV shows on my iPad to watch on the flight, so I don’t have to count on the airlines’ entertainment system. Warning: make sure the TV shows are not rated R! It’s embarrassing to have unexpected sex scenes pop up. “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Frankie & Grace” are recent favorites. Take a multi-outlet converter for recharging all your devices in hotel rooms – no more crawling around on the floor or unplugging lamps.
4. What’s one of the most interesting things you’ve eaten on your travels?
In Spain a member of our group purchased a durian on the street. It lives up to its reputation as the smelliest fruit in the world. It smells nasty and why anyone ever wanted to put it in their mouth is a mystery. It does have a sweet, custardy taste if you can get beyond the smell. The other most memorable thing was a custard tart in Lisbon. It tasted like a warm hug feels and is worth flying across the ocean to eat one.
5. What do you most often bring home from your trips to remember them by?
I’m not a big shopper on trips as I’d rather generally rather be doing something else, but I do like to buy earrings and Christmas ornaments. The earrings are just for fun and easy to get back home, and the ornaments are a reminder every year when we decorate our tree of my trip to that destination.
Any other insight you’d like to provide?
One year for Christmas my daughter made me a map with pins for all the places I’ve been. I love adding new ones, but there’s still so much of the world I’d like to see. Top of my list are South America, Greece and Africa. It’s been my experience that Bucket Lists rarely get shorter – for every one item we cross off, we add three more. Just like when I was a child, I get excited for every trip I go on. Although now I pack my bathing suit rather than wear it under my clothes.
Miami – This is from my most recent trip with Diamond PR to Miami where we had amazing stays at the sister properties of The Palms and Circa 39 hotels. Our group was standing (jumping) in front of a mural in Wynwood. One of the things I love about press trips is that it brings together people who never would have met, from cities from all over. We found common ground, despite the fact I was by far the oldest person on this trip. I even got a hashtag named after me during the trip – #damnjan.
Barnsley – From another recent trip to Barnsley Resort with Diamond PR. With Diamond PR I always know the trips will be well organized and I’ll find plenty to write about to share with readers. And they will always be fun – these ladies know how to work hard and play hard, so we always have a blast. At Barnsley we were fed into oblivion and one night after we were bursting from dinner, we were offered makings for S’mores – made with Reese’s Cups! That’s just like Diamond PR – finding that extra touch that elevates an experience. I include this fly fishing photo not because of my excellent technique (ha!), but because another thing I really enjoy about press trips is trying something new. At Barnsley we shot clays, took a golf lesson from a pro and tried our hand at fly fish casting. I sadly did not discover any latent talent, but still enjoyed the experiences.
A Boston College Eagle and eternal optimist who loves airports, Sasha is always looking for a new place to explore. When she’s not trying to see as much of the world as she can, she’s catching a live sporting event, trying to read more books than she did the year before and hanging out in Coconut Grove.