For McCool Travel’s 192nd travel interview, I am pleased to present Lori Sorrentino. Lori and her husband Angelo are friends. We (my wife Julie and I) recently stayed with them in their home in Naples, Florida. It is not the first time we traveled together and will not be the last.
We had met a few times (at travel conferences and a press trip) before we were on a Maine windjammer cruise in the middle of nowhere and I said out loud to Julie an obscure reference to a favorite movie. Lori looked at me with shock and said “what did you say?” She recognized the movie and we have been trading lines from the movie and other shows/movies since.
But Lori and Angelo also are amazing travel content creators. They have three valuable travel brands and, well, read on to learn more.
Lori Sorrentino’s bio:
Lori Sorrentino is an award-winning photographer and travel writer, who loves slow food and travel. Together with her husband Angelo, they Eat Local, Travel Slow for their blog Travlinmad, a mission that has defined their travels for over 30 years. A former destination marketing pro, her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Tages-Anzeiger, and The Huffington Post among others. Originally from New Jersey, when she is not slow traveling Italy, she is at home in Naples, Florida writing about southwest Florida or at the beach.
Travel Interview With Lori Sorrentino
I am a Jersey Girl, born and raised in the small town of Blairstown, NJ (I honestly don’t know what exit that is). I haven’t lived there since I left for college, but my family is still there, and it will always be home.
ON EVERY TRIP I MUST BRING …
- A wash cloth. Why are there no wash cloths in some parts of the world? Italy is one place sans wash cloths so we always bring our own.
- First aid kit. What can I say, other than I’m married to a former Boy Scout and Marine who is always prepared. I tease, but a first aid kit has saved my butt many times.
- A good travel scarf. I have several—from cashmere to silk—depending on where I’m going. They can double as a light jacket, lens cleaner, hair tie, hammock, or belt. And they’re perfect to wrap any delicate valuables I’m bringing home.
3 FAVORITE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME PLACES …
- Italy is my ancestral home, so it feels like home, and more so every time I visit.
- Costa Rica is another place I feel at home. We’ve been going there for so long and every time I hear the sounds of the jungle, and breathe in the earthy smell and heavy humidity, I feel so relaxed.
- And Maine. The scenery, the ocean, the history, the food… it feels very small town America to me, which I love.
A FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY …
…one that may be hard for me to ever beat.
One year in Costa Rica, we randomly discovered a spider monkey illegally held in captivity in a small yard near Cahuita National Park. The poor thing was tethered around its neck to a clothes line. With the help of our friends at the Jaguar Rescue Center, we rescued and reunited her with her sibling in the wild.
3 FAVORITE TRAVEL BRANDS …
- American Express, one of the longest relationships we have had with any travel brand.
- Sixt car rental. Especially in Europe, they’re one of the most reliable car companies we’ve dealt with. We’ve always had nearly new cars with them.
- Rosebud Motels – we love their roadside motels and nostalgic family vacations. And the complimentary bottle of Herb Ertlinger fruit wine is a nice touch!
3 MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TACTICS I USE …
- Book a place with a kitchen! We try to stay at accommodations with a space to cook and eat. It’s easier to have breakfast in, and can save $$ by making dinner “at home” with a bottle of wine vs dining out.
- Buying train tickets before we go. Queues at the train station can be slow-moving and intimidating so it’s easier to purchase train tickets online before a trip, and it saves you a few bucks.
- TrustedHousesitters.com—we have a black lab and a cat who we hate to leave when we travel, but we’ve had great success “hiring” trusted housesitters to care for them and our home when we go. It saves us a ton of money on dog-walkers and petsitters, gives us a built-in home-watcher, and offers a great travel destination for a Housesitter who wants to see this part of Florida. A win-win all around.
3 WAYS THAT I HAVE FUN WHILE TRAVELING …
- Aperitivo! Even if we’re not in Italy, we find most places have this kind of happy hour which is always relaxing and fun. We get to hang out and chat with locals.
- One of my favorite things to do when I travel is shoot blue-hour photography, especially if I’m in an Old World place in Europe, or on the water somewhere.
- Finding the food markets. Sampling local foods, spices, and drinks at the local market is a big reason we travel.
8 WORD (OR LESS) TRAVEL MANTRA …
“Life is too short to drink bad wine” (aka “I am NOT drinking any f*****g Merlot!”)
FAVORITE NON-TRAVEL WEBSITE …
Does Netflix count?
MOST MEMORABLE SOUVENIR …
My most memorable souvenir is a long scar on the palm of my hand.
I got it snorkeling in Hawaii, following a sea turtle right into a few feet of water and gashing my hand on lava rock. Good thing my husband had his first aid kit! Every time I see it, I’m right there again in the lagoon following that beautiful turtle.
FAVORITE CHEAP EAT …
Ooooo….cuoppa! Fried cuoppa is like the coast of Italy in a paper cup! If you’re not familiar with the treat, cuoppa is a paper cone filled with fresh fried fish—usually squid, anchovies or sardines—and maybe a few potato croquettes. Then a spritz of fresh lemon over it, and viola!
RECENT DISCOVERY …
Other than Derry Girls on Netflix, thanks to you and Julie? The beautiful part of northern Italy near the Aosta Valley!
I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE MET …
One of my photography heroes who lives in my backyard. Well, not literally – but his gallery is not far from my home. Clyde Butcher is an iconic American photographer famous for his large-format black and white landscape photographs, particularly of the Florida Everglades. One year on my birthday, we visited his gallery in Big Cypress and he chatted with me about our mutual love of photography and the Everglades. He’s an inspiration!
I WOULD LIKE TO MEET …
Michael Palin, ever the consummate traveler. I’d love to laugh with him over Monty Python stories and chat about our mutual addiction to travel.
Thank you so much Lori for sharing your travel advice and inspiration.
McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons.
Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Stephanie Stuckey.