summer travel: 3 travel junkies share their travel philosophies

I’m starting to get that itch again. The travel itch. I find myself perusing travel sites multiple times a day to see what specials or discounts are being offered. I stare enviously at other folks’ online photos of their recent trips. I refresh my mental inventory of friends across the globe… “Who do I know that lives in (insert faraway city here)? Wonder if they’ll let me crash in their spare bedroom?”

I know I’m no exception. It seems most everyone I know is stricken with travel fever during summer. But some folks have that fever all year long. They are travel junkies, so to speak.

Since my budget and current work schedule are severely limiting my ability to scratch my travel itch, I thought I’d live vicariously through 3 travel junkies whose unique travel styles seem to reflect their attitudes toward life in general.


Travel Junkie # 1: Rue Mapp

Rue is the founder and Chief Outdoor Enthusiast of Outdoor Afro – a nationwide community of Black nature lovers. Growing up between urban Oakland and a northern California ranch, she developed an early love for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. Through Outdoor Afro, she fosters local communities of Black outdoor adventure seekers, and creates events that encourages them to reconnect with nature.

How would you describe your travel personality?

I am a nature historian. I connect with land not only because of its beauty and potential, but also by relating to connected people, culture, and ecology.


What is your favorite summer vacation spot?   

Any place near a lake! I particularly enjoy going to Buck’s Lake in Northern California each year as part of our annual family camping trip.


What are your favorite online tools for traveling / travel planning (e.g., couchsurfing, AirB&B, Kayak, etc.)?

I prefer to just put the word out in my personal network, or via Outdoor Afro, which I founded and manage. I trust people to share with me based on something they already know about me and what I care about.


How many countries have you visited?

Just 3 – although I am quite the Americanist!


Any other thoughts on travel?

One goal I have is to go to Brazil with my three children before they are grown – so any leads/tips to make this happen would be appreciated!

Visit the Outdoor Afro website

Follow Outdoor Afro on Facebook


Travel Junkie # 2: Walter Allen

Walter is a good friend of mine who really knows how to blend business with pleasure. His job takes him out of town and out of the country quite often, and he takes advantage of the opportunity to do and see more, either by extending work trips to do some personal sightseeing, or by using all that mileage he’s racked up to chart his own course to adventure. We joked recently that he’ll probably spend a good portion of his summer checking in at Hartsfield-Jackson airport here in Atlanta.

How would you describe your travel personality?

I am the laid back, do what you want to, when you want to type of traveler.  I am one for new cultures and adventures as well.  I take the “try it once” approach to traveling!


What is your favorite summer vacation spot?

With me having a “try it once” approach to traveling, I can’t say that I have a favorite summer spot.  I will say that when I am traveling during the summer, I tend to look for a beach location. The beaches/locations I have enjoyed the most have been: Haulover Beach in North Miami, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, and Santos, Brazil.


What are your favorite online tools for traveling / travel planning (e.g., couchsurfing, AirB&B, Kayak, etc.)?,,,,


How many countries have you visited?



Travel Junkie # 3: Greg Gross

Greg is not only a travel junkie, he’s also a travel evangelist. His mission? “To encourage all Americans, especially Americans of color, to see more of the world.” He spreads his gospel via his personal blog, I’m Black and I Travel!, which is a blend of Greg’s personal travel accounts and his insightful commentary on destinations and experiences of interest to travelers of color. Both his travel and writing styles are intriguing, as evidenced by his winning the title of ‘Best Travel Blog’ in the 2011 Black Weblog Awards.

How would you describe your travel personality?

My travel personality is eclectic. I’m equally comfortable in a 5-star hotel, a cruise ship, an all-inclusive resort or a sleeping bag in a tube tent strung between two trees. Lively metropolis or peaceful forest. Group tours or independent travel. I’m fine with all of it.


What is your favorite summer vacation spot?   

Only one?  In that case, I’ll say San Francisco, followed VERY closely by Vancouver.


What are your favorite online tools for traveling / travel planning (e.g., couchsurfing, AirB&B, Kayak, etc.)?

I’ve learned not to have favorites when it comes to online travel planning. The field changes constantly. I use what works best for me on a given day. Over the years, I’ve had success with Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, Kayak, CheapoAir, Momondo and Dohop.


How many countries have you visited?


Any other thoughts on travel?

These days, my travel is no longer confined to summers. I may go anywhere at any time. But for me, the ideal summer travel is one that gives me everything I’m looking for in a destination, but with a minimum of crowds. Not easy to find! But then, what’s life without a challenge, right?

Visit Greg’s blog: I’m Black and I Travel!

Follow I’m Black and I Travel! on Facebook




photo: “Where I’ve Never Been“- graphic illustration available for purchase from 3LambsIllustration on Etsy

kisha solomon

Kisha Solomon is an Atlanta-based writer, self-proclaimed bon vivant and occasional expat. The Good Life Cookbook is where she shares her latest savory adventures and collected lessons on food and life.

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