S2 Episode 4

[deanna_nwosu]: hey experienced junkies on today’s episode i chat with Paige McClanahan Paige is a travel journalist she’s also a contributing writer to the new york times she also hosts the better travel podcast listen to our conversation will we talk about her life as an expat after leaving the united states more than fourteen years ago not only as a solo female traveler uh but as a married woman and now mother of two children and the experiences that that entails raising american kids abroad we also dive into what it means to be a better traveler and what better travel actually is so sit back relax enjoy this conversation with myself and Paige McClanahan of the better travel podcast

[paige_mcclanahan]:  what back another episode i

[deanna_nwosu]:  welcome back to another episode of the experienced junkies podcast today i have with me the lovely paige mcclanahan host of the better travel podcast and i’m so excited for our conversation paige thank you

[deanna_nwosu]:  so much for joining me today

[paige_mcclanahan]:  my pleasure thank you so much for having me on the show

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely absolutely

paige tell the crew the audience a little bit about who you are and what you do

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah so my name is paige mcclanahan i’m a travel journalist and a regular contributor to the travel section of the new york times i’m also the host as you said of the better travel podcast and yeah i’ve just been a lover of travel for as long as i can remember and i grew up in the united states and i live in the french alps now with my family and i do my work from here

[deanna_nwosu]:  wonderful wonderful i think when people hear um that you’re a travel journalist it just sounds like such a sexy job and i you know i you know being an event planner myself i’ve gotten that comment a lot like oh that just must be so much fun um your your job sound so glamorous but you know i recognize that there’s a lot behind the scenes that don’t pe people don’t see so can you tell us how you  became a travel journalist and kind of what’s some of the things behind the  scenes that maybe aren’t as glamorous or sexy that uh the general population isn’t aware of

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah for sure for sure um yeah my very first gig my very first travel riding gig was actually uping a travel guide book so not writing one but just updating it you know so that means like checking every single entry and updating the phone numbers and checking the opening hours and you know some pretty dry stuff but um i was thrilled to get this job and um i my then boyfriend who’s now my husband and i were living in sierra leone which is a little west african country beautiful country and i got the job updating the brat guide to ser leone and so

 it was a fantastic gig so on the plus side you know it gave me an excuse to travel all around siri leone and meet all sorts of people who i would never have met otherwise

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  um but yeah there’s just a lot of especially for that type of travel writing where it’s really kind of fact finding and information gathering you get to go to a lot of places but um yeah it’s you know it kind of gets a  little bit sa toward the end and also the pay for that kind of work especially is yeah it’s not it’s not very much at all and i didn’t have any i they didn’t they didn’t give me an expenses budget at all so i was just trying to kind of

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh

[paige_mcclanahan]:  get you know rides from friends or my husband was traveling around the the country for his work so i would like hop along with him um but it was yeah in the end i basically kind of broke even so that’s probably something that’s not so glamorous about it is the money i was

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  supporting myself financially through like other kind of corporate editing work that i was doing that i was um you know earning money from but that was a that was a fun job and it also opened up more sort of opportunities for me in terms of travel writing so from there i started pitching stories to uh places like the washington post and um you know in flight magazines and stuff like that so i got  some of my first kind of published clips outside of the guide book kind of off the back of that work so yeah yeah but i’d say traveling you have to be a travel writer you have to really love the work for the work’s sake don’t get into it for the money that’s for sure

[deanna_nwosu]:  point taken point taken you have to really love the travel and to me it’s more the journalism part of it i think um as an outsider looking in it just looks sexy  like oh you get to go to these places and stay at these different um like

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  hotels or venues and but at the end of the day you’re a journalist so it’s not

 just about going and experiencing these things but also making sure that you are capturing that taking know volumes and volumes of notes making sure that you can tell the story and also the facts about what you’ve seen so i think that’s  different than what a normal traveler would experience when they’re on a trip, would you say?

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah absolutely i mean that makes me think of last august i had the chance to travel to barcelona to write a story for the new york times and that was looking at that was more less of a sort of a traditional travel writing and more sort of reporting on some of the impacts of the travel and tourism industry so i was looking at sort of you know the city’s relationship with airbnb which you know has had its ups and downs

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  but i was in the city for maybe four days or something and um yeah i got to see a but i was in the city for maybe four days or something and um yeah i got to see a lot of of stuff but it was mainly i’m going to meetings with people you know i’m lot of of stuff but it was mainly i’m going to meetings with people you know i’m kind of walking around with people i’m trying to track down people kind of walking around with people i’m trying to track down people

so i enjoyed some great food and you know i kind of stepped into some sites here and there between meetings but it’s not the kind of thing that i could have done you know i if had i been in barcelona on vacation there’s no way i could have done that job at the same time like it really you know when

[deanna_nwosu]:  three

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you’re out reporting whether for a guide bug or for a story you have to throw yourself into that and if you were able to do little fun stuff on the side great but um yeah you can’t at first i kind of when i was first getting into travel journalism i kind of thought okay well i’ll go on to this place with my family on vacation and i’ll write a straight at the same time and like that might work

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  a little bit but it’s just stressful for everyone

[deanna_nwosu]:  it’s probably similar to the whole working from home when you know everything shut down two years ago and everyone was at home like for the people who were

working from home normally they had their routine and and yeah they can get all those things done but once the whole family was home there’s different distractions and different obligations that you wouldn’t have so to me it’s kind of like a parallel situation there

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah yeah exactly difficult to juggle everything at the same time

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely travel seems to just be in your your bones page as you mentioned you left the us you know quite a while ago about fourteen years ago you’ve lived in five different countries since then so tell us about like your early adulthood cause that’s pretty young to you know flee the us and what prompted that expat lifestyle

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah it’s funny you know i grew up um in chapel hill north carolina and a very sort of steady p you know i was i kind of graduated from high school with the same kids i went to ballet class with when i was three you know very sort of steady stable environment my parents still live you know in my

[deanna_nwosu]:  great

[paige_mcclanahan]:  childhood home but i just kind

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  of always felt like the world i guess i just always felt like i was going to live out in the world somewhere it was just really kind of deep within me and um took a few trips like with my family as a kid um but then when i went off on my own i just was determined to move overseas and i didn’t know how i was going to do it for a while i thought about joining the peace corps but yeah i ended up getting i did a master’s degree and at duke university actually and i did a summer internship in geneva through that master’s program and that was my first

[deanna_nwosu]:  okay

[paige_mcclanahan]:  um i had yeah i’d studied abroad and stuff but that was really the first step toward my moving overseas permanently i ended up getting a job at the place where i interned that summer so after i finished graduate school age twenty six i moved to geneva and i got a job as an editor at a think tank there so that was my first step overseas and that was in two thousand and eight yeah i was twenty six years old and sorry mom dad i haven’t lived in the united states since then um but yeah i know i think um from there and i met my husband inva and from there we just kind of and he he’s british and also has this sort of wander lust that i do and from geneva we moved to west africa to siri leone as i was describing and then we moved to the u k which is where he was which is where he’s from and we were there for about two years from there we moved to nairobi kenya where we lived for about four years and then from there we moved to here in the french alps where we’ve been living for almost four years now too so lots of moving around but um yeah i don’t know we both just really have itchy feet we’re starting to change now though because we have two children our daughters are now five and a half and eight years old and yeah we’ve been here as i said for almost four years we really want to give them a steady place to grow up which is what we both grew up with so um yeah we’re hoping to stay here in france and put down some roots so it feels like i had a you know a period of lots of wandering but that’s kind of now coming to an end

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  at least for a little while we’ll see what happens when you know when we’re ed

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah i mean kid

[paige_mcclanahan]:  nesters

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly exactly there’s always that time when they flee the coop and then you

know then you guys can have that freedom to kind of jump about i i love that you kind of mentioned as the kids came into play how that changed the dynamic of you know the the wander lust if you will um cause i was gonna ask you about that you  know seems like you are teaching them young about exploring the world but you know how do you view traveling and like the x pack lifestyle differently through the lens of parenthood

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh wow that’s a that’s such a great question and i could answer that one i could spend an hour answering that one but you know i mean it does i think it offers tremendous opportunities and also some challenges that we’re still learning about that we’re still exploring i mean our daughters have american passports and they have british passports they’re

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  growing up in france one of them was born in the uk the other one was born in kenya so the little one who was born in kenya she’s very confused as to why she’s not kenyan like why doesn’t she have a kenyan passport whereas her sister who was born in the uk has  a british passport like why doesn’t she you know so they have

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  american passports and british passports but they don’t really know what it means to be american or british i mean they’re really they’re french children like when they do any mean mi money mode they do the french version you know they’re doing they’re learning  french sort of hand clapping things they’re really french kids growing up in a french school so in that sense i really feel like an an immigrant parent like i’m kind of struggling to like i

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely

[paige_mcclanahan]:  don’t exactly understand what they’re doing at school by french is good but not perfect and i don’t know the kind of cultural references so yeah i didn’t know lots of opportunities but also some challenges that we i hope to sort of be able to help them navigate as they grow up and then go off to find their own place in the world but i will add just briefly where we’re hoping to stay long enough in france to be to apply for french nationality and that’s mainly for our daughters because they are growing up here in france and they speak french like french children and we  would love for them to have the chance to make a life here you know adults if um if that’s what they would want to do so yeah we hope to apply for french nationality when we qualify

[deanna_nwosu]:  so essentially your household is kind of like a tri cultural household you’ve got

 the us you’ve got the uk and then you’re all located in france and like that’s kind of like the base culture that your kids really understand so talk about a mind meld of of of you know different backgrounds how do you kind of make sure you instill or uh reinforce if you will or introduce them to like your american customs your husband’s u k customs and and connection with the family that do still live abroad

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah that’s a great question um i have to say i sort of joke sometimes that i’m like way more into thanksgiving than i ever would be if we lived in the united states like thanksgiving is a big

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  deal in our household like we have to have

[deanna_nwosu]:  right right you’re like you need to understand what it means

[paige_mcclanahan]:  exactly there’s no messing around with the menu like we have the thanksgiving menu you know i find my cranberries gosh darn it you know and uh when we have that so we talk about that so yeah through the holidays also through through stories the our

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  daughters love listening to audio books and the lower angles wilder like little house series and the ramona books they’re listening to now and these sorts of things kind of offer a little window into culture and of course through visiting family so we try to spend a good amount of time with you know my husband’s family in the uk and with my family in the u s we try to in both places we’ve put them into kind of summer or like holiday kind of day camps when we’ve been there for long enough so that they can make some friends with local kids and get a sense of you know what a childhood is like there so that i you know hopefully by the time it comes for them to make their own choices about where they want to live in the world or study they’ll have at least a good impression of what these kind of different cultures are are like because

yeah they you know even like us uk you know very similar in a lot of ways but very different in a lot of ways too

[deanna_nwosu]:  yes exactly exactly

so your family being located in europe you’ve got a unique um privilege in that international travel is much easier than if you were on a different continent so what does that look like for you your husband your children in terms of your normal holidays and vacations you know whether that’s pre pandemic during pandemic how you know how does that look like for you guys

[paige_mcclanahan]:  well yeah it’s it’s so funny because we do um we live about yeah we live about an hour’s drive from the border with switzerland so you know we can have a day trip to another country right because we go into geneva to like have lunch with friends or something

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and which is definitely not

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  the way i grew up

[deanna_nwosu]:  no yeah an hour drive from raleigh would have the chapel hair area was essentially you know you still had wouldn’t even make it to charlotte

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you yeah you can’t even get to virginia you know it’s like um so but yeah no we really try to make the most of it and now that our our kids are old enough to kind of enjoy exploring so they have and it’s great with the french kind of school um schedule they get two week breaks basically they have four two week breaks um during every school year and during the tweak break they have in sort of late october early november this past year we went to paris we took the train up to paris which is like you know three and a half hours on the train for us and you know had a wonderful break there where they get to see sort of their their capital city which they had never been to before

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and then yeah we go to switzerland to you know visit friends and to go hiking or  skiing you know can just drive there and then yeah over our most recent break which they have a two week break in february we went to florence which for us is about a seven hour drive from home so pretty doable you know and we were down there for exactly a week so it’s fun

[deanna_nwosu]:  wonderful wonderful so what were the highlights of going to florence you know as  a family of four

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh yeah it was wonderful and i hadn’t been to florence since i was eighteen years old and my friend janice and i did this kind of like month long eurail trip and i  think we had like two nights in florence or something like i have a vague sort of sleep derived memory of it um but so yeah i was super excited to go back and i thought what you know better time to go to florence it’s really you know an area that’s known for being really touristy then in mid february when probably there aren’t gonna be too many

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  crowds and actually yeah it was it

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  was really nice so um yeah some highlights of our trip there um well we found this beautiful little house to stay in and we found it through a service or a platform called fair bnb which is really cool it’s a lot like airbnb they have a really um except it’s a cooperative model and they have a really strong focus

[deanna_nwosu]:  okay

[paige_mcclanahan]:  on sort of community building and stuff  and we had just a beautiful like centuries old house with a little garden that we were saying and the host reminded me of like italian versions of my parents um so that was that was definitely a highlight the place we were staying

[deanna_nwosu]:  nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and we you know we tried to keep the museums at a sort of a reasonable level for the children

[deanna_nwosu]:  for two children

[paige_mcclanahan]:  for exactly but they were really um there was some complaining of course but they were just absolutely gobsmacked by the painting of the birth of venus the bolle painting which is in the efze gallery um you know we kind of w walking around this gallery and the girls were sort of like okay a little bit interested a little bit complaining like oh and

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  then we walk into this room with this beautiful painting illuminating this whole wall with this kind of gorgeous woman in the middle of the of the ocean and our daughters just like stood there with their like jaws open and they loved

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  that and um and then you kind of started this whole conversation about mythology and who she was and i’m like googling frantically to be able to answer their questions um

[deanna_nwosu]:  thank god for wi fi

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah no kidding but that’s really like led to other conversations about mythology and venus and who she was and we bought a little like birth of venus puzzle in the shop and we’ve been doing it at home since we got back so seeing that piece of art really capture their imagination that was really a highlight for me and one that i was maybe i had sort of part of me had hoped that would happen but i wasn’t

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  i wasn’t sort of allowing myself to have that expectation shall we say um and then one final thing maybe we had one day out in this little village called fizz

which is about thirty or forty minute drive outside of florence and there’s some beautiful ruins their kind of you know ancient etruscan ruins that you can sort of just run around and explore there’s an old you know amphitheater that you can explore and we found that fascinating and just such a cool way to show the kids um this aspect of history in you know in this landscape that was like totally interactive and they can sort of run around and imagine where the baths were and where the temple was and so that was really cool too fiza is a beautiful a beautiful area up in the hills kind of above florence

[deanna_nwosu]:  cool it’s nice that not only did you you know you have that experience in the

museum with the kids i really appreciate appreciating this historical piece of art but you’ve been able to kind of prolong that experience by you know getting  some toys that that kind of reference that piece of art reading books and and diving more into almost making it um like a learning experience for them as well

so you can you talk about other opportunities you’ve had traveling with either your children or just you and your spouse that you know you had that one experience on site but you were able to kind of prolong the enjoyment via you  know activities after the fact

[paige_mcclanahan]:  ooh oh yeah interesting interesting let me think about that um well it makes me think of our trip to paris in october where again we had sort of like low x you know or i was trying to keep my expectations sort of in check but somebody

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  had told us that the pomp dou center which is this modern arch kind of gallery and center had some good stuff for kids so i kind of thought okay well let’s give a shot and we went and oh my gosh we were in there for like four or five hours and we had to drag our

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  children out because they have this well they have a fantastic um like children’s gallery um with all sorts of cool interactive stuff and we were there for this georgia o’keefe exhibition that was running at the end of last year and then we were just wandering around the the kind of general you know permanent exhibition of modern art and um i don’t know i just kind of had a thought in the gift shop earlier and i bought our girls a note pad each and a piece of paper and our younger daughter ended up sitting in front of a painting by mats for like twenty minutes and these little stools that you can have and um and just kind of copying it out on her in her notebook you know is a painting of like a girl

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you know sitting at a table and so basically that really got her interested in trying to copy art in her  notebook so since we have come home this is something that she’s like kind of it’s just like occurred to her that one can do you can like look at a beautiful painting and then kind of make your own version of it so yeah i think that’s the way that you know i’ve seen my children sort of interact with with artwork and bring parts of it home with us after the after the visit but yeah we also went to disneyland paris and got them enormous cotton candies and stuff so it wasn’t all like

[deanna_nwosu]:  of course

[paige_mcclanahan]:  arch they talk about the

[deanna_nwosu]:  of course you gotta do

[paige_mcclanahan]:  disneyland paris they talk about disneyland paris more than they talk about the pump do center but you know i’m gonna i’m gonna hold

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  on to what i can

[deanna_nwosu]:  hey the memories are for you just as much as they are for the children and you just reminded me i was on a um as i mentioned we talked before starting recording

 my kids live in spain currently with their dad and i visited them over the christmas break and my nine year old she it was kind of hilarious she had this little notebook that she was taking with her everywhere and and then you know we’d be doing something you know sightseeing in some site and she’d be sitting there just you know scribbling in her notebook and then finally like on the last day of the trip we’re like okay rachel you know let let’s see this notebook and t was just so funny the way she was transcribing essentially like our trip and different places we would stop and like not just what happened but like her thoughts about it and like well i’m really enjoying it because x y and z and so it was just it was kind of amazing to see not just like

 watch her enjoy these different things but then how she’s processing it in the moment and you know after the fact that’s like a memento that she can go back and look at oh yeah when we went to i can’t remember what it was called but it was in we were in the outskirts of like malaga

[paige_mcclanahan]:  mm

[deanna_nwosu]:  area of spain like you know when we went to that site you know this is what i was thinking and this is what we saw and you know that coupled with the photos and everything it’s just amazing how their little brains process it and take in that culture and that experience alongside you know how we process it and and it kind of leads me to my next question because you host a podcast called better travel and i feel like you kind of started talking about that when you um mentioned the fair bnb um in terms of it being a cooperative but how do you try and travel and be conscious of the impact that you’re leaving um but still you know see the world and and and and consume as a as a tourist

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah oh man that’s the that’s the million dollar question right there

but yeah no no the podcast i mean it really came out of you know like well let me start by saying so here since sense we moved to france we live in a really touristy here like the economy of the area where we live is you know almost completely based on tourism you know a lot of skiers are in town right now our village is really full of people coming on ski vacations and in the summer we get lots of hikers and stuff so when we moved here that just really gave me a different perspective on tourism you know basically all of our neighbors all the other parents are kids school they all you know they’re ski instructors they run  crept shops they run restaurants they run shuttle services to and from geneva airport you know really we’re in a tourism economy here so i really see the value the enormous value of tourism fboth from an individual perspective like me oh my gosh i can’t you know i can’t begin to say how much my life has been enriched by travel and by tourism then i  look at our community here and it really is making life possible in this place that you know a hundred years ago this was one hundred percent agriculture right where they had some like stone

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  masonry and stuff but basically this village

[deanna_nwosu]:  mhm

[paige_mcclanahan]:  was really on the decline in terms of population um before the tourism industry kind of started to ramp up in the kind of fif seconds and sixty seconds so yeah i’ll just start by saying i i really see the tremendous value of tourism but then  of course like through my reporting i’ve also encountered a lot of the more negative impacts of tourism and i think it’s just i find these kind of questions just really fascinating and i think that in terms of trying to navigate them in terms of trying to navigate them understanding them and understanding what’s at play is really the first step and so i come at

[deanna_nwosu]:  great

[paige_mcclanahan]:  these sort of issues really from a point of genuine curiosity and genuine desire to understand so that i can you know make the most informed decisions so yeah so for the podcast i mean for my reporting for the new york times and they i was just having so many fascinating conversations with academics  or with business leaders or with people you know who were kind of just teaching me so much about these topics and of course when you write a story you know that fantastic interview that went on for an hour is gonna get like this much space in the tax right and i was just if if that i mean i you know for like for a lot of like for the barcelona story i probably interviewed two dozen people and maybe six of them made it into the

article or something you know it’s like so i i was just like i really wanted i thought that it would be really interesting and really useful for listeners to kind of have access to these conversations that i felt so privileged as a journalist i get to call people up and ask them interesting questions

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  so i just kind of thought this would be a nice way to share you know these conversations with the world you know with people who are interested and and i think that you know coming back from the pandemic you know  we’re all really realizing the value of travel and maybe we took it for granted before and i think there’s a real

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  desire among people to yeah i don’t know think be more thoughtful in their travel and more sort of explicit in their travel choices and so i think there’s kind of an appetite for for this among among you know the general public among travelers as well so yeah that’s kind of where i’m coming from

[deanna_nwosu]:  how would you define what better travel means to you you know from the standpoint of keeping in mind the economic impact that travel has but also sustainability and even you know as yourself living in a touristy town um having respect for the local inhabitants and the people who are native to that area how would you define better travel in that sense

[paige_mcclanahan]:  ooh that’s a great question yeah i mean i think better travel i mean in a really general sense it travel it’s travel that maximizes the positive impacts and minimizes the negative impacts right and that can mean and and i

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  didn’t say it sort of eliminates the negative impacts right because that’s never possible but you know i didn’t call

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  it the best or the perfect travel podcast like better travel podcast right like let’s all try to be a little bit better so yeah maximizing the positive minimum minimizing the negative and i think as travelers like you know one really critical step that we can all take and it’s not just sort of you know it it’s more of a mindset shift than anything else it’s just to imagine yourself as a house guest in someone else’s home you know and being aware of them i mean you know i’ve told the story before where you know we live at the end of this in a really rural spot where we are right here and they’re like cross country ski trails just across the way there and this time of year our

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  road gets quite full of people parking there to go use the cross country ski

trails and stuff and um yeah i’ve seen multiple times people just like parking there and just at the edge of our yard going to the bathroom like right there our yard because it’s really

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh my god that’s not where i thought you were taking it

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah nasa they just like they need to pee and they’re in this sort of area where  there’s a lot of forests sort of around and it doesn’t look like anybody is looking there’s nobody driving by so let me just pop a squat and i’m just sitting here like i’ll be

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  sitting like washing the dishes looking out at the view across the way and like all of a sudden i see there’s a woman’s there’s woman’s naked behind

[deanna_nwosu]:  look at your beautiful view

[paige_mcclanahan]:  literally at the edge of our yard and it’s just like oh my god

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh my goodness wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  just like you know so i think that that kind of and it’s like it’s fine but like i do i’m not gonna complain about the tourists because basically tourism even though i don’t work explicitly i mean i do kind of work in the tourism economy i  guess but i don’t work in the local tourism economy but it supports our lifestyle here because you know it means there’s a supermarket and there’s like a little movie theater and you know there are restaurants that we like to go to right so i really value the tourists who come here i would love for the tourists who come here and i would live for myself when i go other places as a tourist to remember that i’m in somebody else’s home and to act

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  accordingly so you know when you’re a house guest you like you know you don’t leave your towel on the bathroom floor and you like offer to help with the dishes  and you say thank you so much for lovely dinner and everything just kind of have that sort

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  of approach when you’re um when you’re traveling and keep an open mind and try to make genuine human connections with the people um in the place where you’re going to um yeah i think there are lots it’s about lots of different things but that’s a good place to start maybe

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh i like that just thinking of everyone every as your global neighbors

[paige_mcclanahan]:  exactly

[deanna_nwosu]:  and treating them accordingly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  well this has been a great conversation i’m so happy to have you paige but there’s one question i ask all of my guests um so if you had to pick a song to convey whether it’s your life as a kind of x pat you know as in your adult life or some travels with your family your time is a travel journalist if you had to pick a song to convey that what would it be and why

[paige_mcclanahan]:  uh that thank you so much for this question it’s not one that i had thought of before i loved having this prompted to think about this and i’m going to one hundred percent date myself as somebody who was a teenager in the late nineties by saying i love this song the tom petty song wild flowers i don’t know if you know this but um song it’s kind

[deanna_nwosu]:  we’re from the same era so i’m familiar with it but i can’t hear it in my head

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah it’s kind you belong among the wild flowers you belong somewhere you feel free um gosh i’m not going to be able to kind of record it at length here but but essentially it’s about saying you know kind of go off into the world explore the world like have adventures find a sort of a life partner to go along with you and then kind of you belong in that home by and by it says sort of toward the end like at some point you kind of settle down and um and yeah i just think it’s a really beautiful song about kind of following your heart and being open to new things and being open to finding yourself in different places in the  world you know finding a sort of a life partner and then settling down and i think that does um yeah maybe reflect some of the the progress of my life so far it’s also just a  lovely song it always kind of makes me cry

[deanna_nwosu]:  sounds like a wa lust anthem essentially

[paige_mcclanahan]:  there you go there you go yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  well it’s been great having you paige thank you so much for joining before we sign off please tell everyone where they can find you on the inter webs

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah okay well thank you so much i would encourage you to um head over to bettertravelpodcasts.com where you can find out about the podcast and listen to some of our episodes and sign up for our newsletter then i also have a website page mcinerny ism and stuff and yeah from those two websites you can find links to social media you know instagram for the podcast and stuff but yeah bettertravelpodcast.com is probably the best place to start so

[deanna_nwosu]:  well thank you so much we’ll have all that in the show notes for listeners to check you out and uh yeah thank you so much for paige for being here i hope everyone can take a little bit of the better travel mindset with them after this conversation

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh well thank you so much for having me it’s been a wonderful conversation

[deanna_nwosu]: hey experienced junkies on today’s episode i chat with Paige McClanahan Paige is a travel journalist she’s also a contributing writer to the new york times she also hosts the better travel podcast listen to our conversation will we talk about her life as an expat after leaving the united states more than fourteen years ago not only as a solo female traveler uh but as a married woman and now mother of two children and the experiences that that entails raising american kids abroad we also dive into what it means to be a better traveler and what better travel actually is so sit back relax enjoy this conversation with myself and Paige McClanahan of the better travel podcast

[paige_mcclanahan]:  what back another episode i

[deanna_nwosu]:  welcome back to another episode of the experienced junkies podcast today i have with me the lovely paige mcclanahan host of the better travel podcast and i’m so excited for our conversation paige thank you

[deanna_nwosu]:  so much for joining me today

[paige_mcclanahan]:  my pleasure thank you so much for having me on the show

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely absolutely

paige tell the crew the audience a little bit about who you are and what you do

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah so my name is paige mcclanahan i’m a travel journalist and a regular contributor to the travel section of the new york times i’m also the host as you said of the better travel podcast and yeah i’ve just been a lover of travel for as long as i can remember and i grew up in the united states and i live in the french alps now with my family and i do my work from here

[deanna_nwosu]:  wonderful wonderful i think when people hear um that you’re a travel journalist it just sounds like such a sexy job and i you know i you know being an event planner myself i’ve gotten that comment a lot like oh that just must be so much fun um your your job sound so glamorous but you know i recognize that there’s a lot behind the scenes that don’t pe people don’t see so can you tell us how you  became a travel journalist and kind of what’s some of the things behind the  scenes that maybe aren’t as glamorous or sexy that uh the general population isn’t aware of

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah for sure for sure um yeah my very first gig my very first travel riding gig was actually uping a travel guide book so not writing one but just updating it you know so that means like checking every single entry and updating the phone numbers and checking the opening hours and you know some pretty dry stuff but um i was thrilled to get this job and um i my then boyfriend who’s now my husband and i were living in sierra leone which is a little west african country beautiful country and i got the job updating the brat guide to ser leone and so

 it was a fantastic gig so on the plus side you know it gave me an excuse to travel all around siri leone and meet all sorts of people who i would never have met otherwise

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  um but yeah there’s just a lot of especially for that type of travel writing where it’s really kind of fact finding and information gathering you get to go to a lot of places but um yeah it’s you know it kind of gets a  little bit sa toward the end and also the pay for that kind of work especially is yeah it’s not it’s not very much at all and i didn’t have any i they didn’t they didn’t give me an expenses budget at all so i was just trying to kind of

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh

[paige_mcclanahan]:  get you know rides from friends or my husband was traveling around the the country for his work so i would like hop along with him um but it was yeah in the end i basically kind of broke even so that’s probably something that’s not so glamorous about it is the money i was

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  supporting myself financially through like other kind of corporate editing work that i was doing that i was um you know earning money from but that was a that was a fun job and it also opened up more sort of opportunities for me in terms of travel writing so from there i started pitching stories to uh places like the washington post and um you know in flight magazines and stuff like that so i got  some of my first kind of published clips outside of the guide book kind of off the back of that work so yeah yeah but i’d say traveling you have to be a travel writer you have to really love the work for the work’s sake don’t get into it for the money that’s for sure

[deanna_nwosu]:  point taken point taken you have to really love the travel and to me it’s more the journalism part of it i think um as an outsider looking in it just looks sexy  like oh you get to go to these places and stay at these different um like

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  hotels or venues and but at the end of the day you’re a journalist so it’s not

 just about going and experiencing these things but also making sure that you are capturing that taking know volumes and volumes of notes making sure that you can tell the story and also the facts about what you’ve seen so i think that’s  different than what a normal traveler would experience when they’re on a trip, would you say?

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah absolutely i mean that makes me think of last august i had the chance to travel to barcelona to write a story for the new york times and that was looking at that was more less of a sort of a traditional travel writing and more sort of reporting on some of the impacts of the travel and tourism industry so i was looking at sort of you know the city’s relationship with airbnb which you know has had its ups and downs

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  but i was in the city for maybe four days or something and um yeah i got to see a but i was in the city for maybe four days or something and um yeah i got to see a lot of of stuff but it was mainly i’m going to meetings with people you know i’m lot of of stuff but it was mainly i’m going to meetings with people you know i’m kind of walking around with people i’m trying to track down people kind of walking around with people i’m trying to track down people

so i enjoyed some great food and you know i kind of stepped into some sites here and there between meetings but it’s not the kind of thing that i could have done you know i if had i been in barcelona on vacation there’s no way i could have done that job at the same time like it really you know when

[deanna_nwosu]:  three

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you’re out reporting whether for a guide bug or for a story you have to throw yourself into that and if you were able to do little fun stuff on the side great but um yeah you can’t at first i kind of when i was first getting into travel journalism i kind of thought okay well i’ll go on to this place with my family on vacation and i’ll write a straight at the same time and like that might work

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  a little bit but it’s just stressful for everyone

[deanna_nwosu]:  it’s probably similar to the whole working from home when you know everything shut down two years ago and everyone was at home like for the people who were

working from home normally they had their routine and and yeah they can get all those things done but once the whole family was home there’s different distractions and different obligations that you wouldn’t have so to me it’s kind of like a parallel situation there

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah yeah exactly difficult to juggle everything at the same time

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely travel seems to just be in your your bones page as you mentioned you left the us you know quite a while ago about fourteen years ago you’ve lived in five different countries since then so tell us about like your early adulthood cause that’s pretty young to you know flee the us and what prompted that expat lifestyle

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah it’s funny you know i grew up um in chapel hill north carolina and a very sort of steady p you know i was i kind of graduated from high school with the same kids i went to ballet class with when i was three you know very sort of steady stable environment my parents still live you know in my

[deanna_nwosu]:  great

[paige_mcclanahan]:  childhood home but i just kind

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  of always felt like the world i guess i just always felt like i was going to live out in the world somewhere it was just really kind of deep within me and um took a few trips like with my family as a kid um but then when i went off on my own i just was determined to move overseas and i didn’t know how i was going to do it for a while i thought about joining the peace corps but yeah i ended up getting i did a master’s degree and at duke university actually and i did a summer internship in geneva through that master’s program and that was my first

[deanna_nwosu]:  okay

[paige_mcclanahan]:  um i had yeah i’d studied abroad and stuff but that was really the first step toward my moving overseas permanently i ended up getting a job at the place where i interned that summer so after i finished graduate school age twenty six i moved to geneva and i got a job as an editor at a think tank there so that was my first step overseas and that was in two thousand and eight yeah i was twenty six years old and sorry mom dad i haven’t lived in the united states since then um but yeah i know i think um from there and i met my husband inva and from there we just kind of and he he’s british and also has this sort of wander lust that i do and from geneva we moved to west africa to siri leone as i was describing and then we moved to the u k which is where he was which is where he’s from and we were there for about two years from there we moved to nairobi kenya where we lived for about four years and then from there we moved to here in the french alps where we’ve been living for almost four years now too so lots of moving around but um yeah i don’t know we both just really have itchy feet we’re starting to change now though because we have two children our daughters are now five and a half and eight years old and yeah we’ve been here as i said for almost four years we really want to give them a steady place to grow up which is what we both grew up with so um yeah we’re hoping to stay here in france and put down some roots so it feels like i had a you know a period of lots of wandering but that’s kind of now coming to an end

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  at least for a little while we’ll see what happens when you know when we’re ed

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah i mean kid

[paige_mcclanahan]:  nesters

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly exactly there’s always that time when they flee the coop and then you

know then you guys can have that freedom to kind of jump about i i love that you kind of mentioned as the kids came into play how that changed the dynamic of you know the the wander lust if you will um cause i was gonna ask you about that you  know seems like you are teaching them young about exploring the world but you know how do you view traveling and like the x pack lifestyle differently through the lens of parenthood

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh wow that’s a that’s such a great question and i could answer that one i could spend an hour answering that one but you know i mean it does i think it offers tremendous opportunities and also some challenges that we’re still learning about that we’re still exploring i mean our daughters have american passports and they have british passports they’re

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  growing up in france one of them was born in the uk the other one was born in kenya so the little one who was born in kenya she’s very confused as to why she’s not kenyan like why doesn’t she have a kenyan passport whereas her sister who was born in the uk has  a british passport like why doesn’t she you know so they have

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  american passports and british passports but they don’t really know what it means to be american or british i mean they’re really they’re french children like when they do any mean mi money mode they do the french version you know they’re doing they’re learning  french sort of hand clapping things they’re really french kids growing up in a french school so in that sense i really feel like an an immigrant parent like i’m kind of struggling to like i

[deanna_nwosu]:  absolutely

[paige_mcclanahan]:  don’t exactly understand what they’re doing at school by french is good but not perfect and i don’t know the kind of cultural references so yeah i didn’t know lots of opportunities but also some challenges that we i hope to sort of be able to help them navigate as they grow up and then go off to find their own place in the world but i will add just briefly where we’re hoping to stay long enough in france to be to apply for french nationality and that’s mainly for our daughters because they are growing up here in france and they speak french like french children and we  would love for them to have the chance to make a life here you know adults if um if that’s what they would want to do so yeah we hope to apply for french nationality when we qualify

[deanna_nwosu]:  so essentially your household is kind of like a tri cultural household you’ve got

 the us you’ve got the uk and then you’re all located in france and like that’s kind of like the base culture that your kids really understand so talk about a mind meld of of of you know different backgrounds how do you kind of make sure you instill or uh reinforce if you will or introduce them to like your american customs your husband’s u k customs and and connection with the family that do still live abroad

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah that’s a great question um i have to say i sort of joke sometimes that i’m like way more into thanksgiving than i ever would be if we lived in the united states like thanksgiving is a big

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  deal in our household like we have to have

[deanna_nwosu]:  right right you’re like you need to understand what it means

[paige_mcclanahan]:  exactly there’s no messing around with the menu like we have the thanksgiving menu you know i find my cranberries gosh darn it you know and uh when we have that so we talk about that so yeah through the holidays also through through stories the our

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  daughters love listening to audio books and the lower angles wilder like little house series and the ramona books they’re listening to now and these sorts of things kind of offer a little window into culture and of course through visiting family so we try to spend a good amount of time with you know my husband’s family in the uk and with my family in the u s we try to in both places we’ve put them into kind of summer or like holiday kind of day camps when we’ve been there for long enough so that they can make some friends with local kids and get a sense of you know what a childhood is like there so that i you know hopefully by the time it comes for them to make their own choices about where they want to live in the world or study they’ll have at least a good impression of what these kind of different cultures are are like because

yeah they you know even like us uk you know very similar in a lot of ways but very different in a lot of ways too

[deanna_nwosu]:  yes exactly exactly

so your family being located in europe you’ve got a unique um privilege in that international travel is much easier than if you were on a different continent so what does that look like for you your husband your children in terms of your normal holidays and vacations you know whether that’s pre pandemic during pandemic how you know how does that look like for you guys

[paige_mcclanahan]:  well yeah it’s it’s so funny because we do um we live about yeah we live about an hour’s drive from the border with switzerland so you know we can have a day trip to another country right because we go into geneva to like have lunch with friends or something

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and which is definitely not

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  the way i grew up

[deanna_nwosu]:  no yeah an hour drive from raleigh would have the chapel hair area was essentially you know you still had wouldn’t even make it to charlotte

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you yeah you can’t even get to virginia you know it’s like um so but yeah no we really try to make the most of it and now that our our kids are old enough to kind of enjoy exploring so they have and it’s great with the french kind of school um schedule they get two week breaks basically they have four two week breaks um during every school year and during the tweak break they have in sort of late october early november this past year we went to paris we took the train up to paris which is like you know three and a half hours on the train for us and you know had a wonderful break there where they get to see sort of their their capital city which they had never been to before

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and then yeah we go to switzerland to you know visit friends and to go hiking or  skiing you know can just drive there and then yeah over our most recent break which they have a two week break in february we went to florence which for us is about a seven hour drive from home so pretty doable you know and we were down there for exactly a week so it’s fun

[deanna_nwosu]:  wonderful wonderful so what were the highlights of going to florence you know as  a family of four

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh yeah it was wonderful and i hadn’t been to florence since i was eighteen years old and my friend janice and i did this kind of like month long eurail trip and i  think we had like two nights in florence or something like i have a vague sort of sleep derived memory of it um but so yeah i was super excited to go back and i thought what you know better time to go to florence it’s really you know an area that’s known for being really touristy then in mid february when probably there aren’t gonna be too many

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  crowds and actually yeah it was it

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  was really nice so um yeah some highlights of our trip there um well we found this beautiful little house to stay in and we found it through a service or a platform called fair bnb which is really cool it’s a lot like airbnb they have a really um except it’s a cooperative model and they have a really strong focus

[deanna_nwosu]:  okay

[paige_mcclanahan]:  on sort of community building and stuff  and we had just a beautiful like centuries old house with a little garden that we were saying and the host reminded me of like italian versions of my parents um so that was that was definitely a highlight the place we were staying

[deanna_nwosu]:  nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  and we you know we tried to keep the museums at a sort of a reasonable level for the children

[deanna_nwosu]:  for two children

[paige_mcclanahan]:  for exactly but they were really um there was some complaining of course but they were just absolutely gobsmacked by the painting of the birth of venus the bolle painting which is in the efze gallery um you know we kind of w walking around this gallery and the girls were sort of like okay a little bit interested a little bit complaining like oh and

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  then we walk into this room with this beautiful painting illuminating this whole wall with this kind of gorgeous woman in the middle of the of the ocean and our daughters just like stood there with their like jaws open and they loved

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  that and um and then you kind of started this whole conversation about mythology and who she was and i’m like googling frantically to be able to answer their questions um

[deanna_nwosu]:  thank god for wi fi

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah no kidding but that’s really like led to other conversations about mythology and venus and who she was and we bought a little like birth of venus puzzle in the shop and we’ve been doing it at home since we got back so seeing that piece of art really capture their imagination that was really a highlight for me and one that i was maybe i had sort of part of me had hoped that would happen but i wasn’t

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  i wasn’t sort of allowing myself to have that expectation shall we say um and then one final thing maybe we had one day out in this little village called fizz

which is about thirty or forty minute drive outside of florence and there’s some beautiful ruins their kind of you know ancient etruscan ruins that you can sort of just run around and explore there’s an old you know amphitheater that you can explore and we found that fascinating and just such a cool way to show the kids um this aspect of history in you know in this landscape that was like totally interactive and they can sort of run around and imagine where the baths were and where the temple was and so that was really cool too fiza is a beautiful a beautiful area up in the hills kind of above florence

[deanna_nwosu]:  cool it’s nice that not only did you you know you have that experience in the

museum with the kids i really appreciate appreciating this historical piece of art but you’ve been able to kind of prolong that experience by you know getting  some toys that that kind of reference that piece of art reading books and and diving more into almost making it um like a learning experience for them as well

so you can you talk about other opportunities you’ve had traveling with either your children or just you and your spouse that you know you had that one experience on site but you were able to kind of prolong the enjoyment via you  know activities after the fact

[paige_mcclanahan]:  ooh oh yeah interesting interesting let me think about that um well it makes me think of our trip to paris in october where again we had sort of like low x you know or i was trying to keep my expectations sort of in check but somebody

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  had told us that the pomp dou center which is this modern arch kind of gallery and center had some good stuff for kids so i kind of thought okay well let’s give a shot and we went and oh my gosh we were in there for like four or five hours and we had to drag our

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh nice

[paige_mcclanahan]:  children out because they have this well they have a fantastic um like children’s gallery um with all sorts of cool interactive stuff and we were there for this georgia o’keefe exhibition that was running at the end of last year and then we were just wandering around the the kind of general you know permanent exhibition of modern art and um i don’t know i just kind of had a thought in the gift shop earlier and i bought our girls a note pad each and a piece of paper and our younger daughter ended up sitting in front of a painting by mats for like twenty minutes and these little stools that you can have and um and just kind of copying it out on her in her notebook you know is a painting of like a girl

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  you know sitting at a table and so basically that really got her interested in trying to copy art in her  notebook so since we have come home this is something that she’s like kind of it’s just like occurred to her that one can do you can like look at a beautiful painting and then kind of make your own version of it so yeah i think that’s the way that you know i’ve seen my children sort of interact with with artwork and bring parts of it home with us after the after the visit but yeah we also went to disneyland paris and got them enormous cotton candies and stuff so it wasn’t all like

[deanna_nwosu]:  of course

[paige_mcclanahan]:  arch they talk about the

[deanna_nwosu]:  of course you gotta do

[paige_mcclanahan]:  disneyland paris they talk about disneyland paris more than they talk about the pump do center but you know i’m gonna i’m gonna hold

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  on to what i can

[deanna_nwosu]:  hey the memories are for you just as much as they are for the children and you just reminded me i was on a um as i mentioned we talked before starting recording

 my kids live in spain currently with their dad and i visited them over the christmas break and my nine year old she it was kind of hilarious she had this little notebook that she was taking with her everywhere and and then you know we’d be doing something you know sightseeing in some site and she’d be sitting there just you know scribbling in her notebook and then finally like on the last day of the trip we’re like okay rachel you know let let’s see this notebook and t was just so funny the way she was transcribing essentially like our trip and different places we would stop and like not just what happened but like her thoughts about it and like well i’m really enjoying it because x y and z and so it was just it was kind of amazing to see not just like

 watch her enjoy these different things but then how she’s processing it in the moment and you know after the fact that’s like a memento that she can go back and look at oh yeah when we went to i can’t remember what it was called but it was in we were in the outskirts of like malaga

[paige_mcclanahan]:  mm

[deanna_nwosu]:  area of spain like you know when we went to that site you know this is what i was thinking and this is what we saw and you know that coupled with the photos and everything it’s just amazing how their little brains process it and take in that culture and that experience alongside you know how we process it and and it kind of leads me to my next question because you host a podcast called better travel and i feel like you kind of started talking about that when you um mentioned the fair bnb um in terms of it being a cooperative but how do you try and travel and be conscious of the impact that you’re leaving um but still you know see the world and and and and consume as a as a tourist

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah oh man that’s the that’s the million dollar question right there

but yeah no no the podcast i mean it really came out of you know like well let me start by saying so here since sense we moved to france we live in a really touristy here like the economy of the area where we live is you know almost completely based on tourism you know a lot of skiers are in town right now our village is really full of people coming on ski vacations and in the summer we get lots of hikers and stuff so when we moved here that just really gave me a different perspective on tourism you know basically all of our neighbors all the other parents are kids school they all you know they’re ski instructors they run  crept shops they run restaurants they run shuttle services to and from geneva airport you know really we’re in a tourism economy here so i really see the value the enormous value of tourism fboth from an individual perspective like me oh my gosh i can’t you know i can’t begin to say how much my life has been enriched by travel and by tourism then i  look at our community here and it really is making life possible in this place that you know a hundred years ago this was one hundred percent agriculture right where they had some like stone

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  masonry and stuff but basically this village

[deanna_nwosu]:  mhm

[paige_mcclanahan]:  was really on the decline in terms of population um before the tourism industry kind of started to ramp up in the kind of fif seconds and sixty seconds so yeah i’ll just start by saying i i really see the tremendous value of tourism but then  of course like through my reporting i’ve also encountered a lot of the more negative impacts of tourism and i think it’s just i find these kind of questions just really fascinating and i think that in terms of trying to navigate them in terms of trying to navigate them understanding them and understanding what’s at play is really the first step and so i come at

[deanna_nwosu]:  great

[paige_mcclanahan]:  these sort of issues really from a point of genuine curiosity and genuine desire to understand so that i can you know make the most informed decisions so yeah so for the podcast i mean for my reporting for the new york times and they i was just having so many fascinating conversations with academics  or with business leaders or with people you know who were kind of just teaching me so much about these topics and of course when you write a story you know that fantastic interview that went on for an hour is gonna get like this much space in the tax right and i was just if if that i mean i you know for like for a lot of like for the barcelona story i probably interviewed two dozen people and maybe six of them made it into the

article or something you know it’s like so i i was just like i really wanted i thought that it would be really interesting and really useful for listeners to kind of have access to these conversations that i felt so privileged as a journalist i get to call people up and ask them interesting questions

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  so i just kind of thought this would be a nice way to share you know these conversations with the world you know with people who are interested and and i think that you know coming back from the pandemic you know  we’re all really realizing the value of travel and maybe we took it for granted before and i think there’s a real

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  desire among people to yeah i don’t know think be more thoughtful in their travel and more sort of explicit in their travel choices and so i think there’s kind of an appetite for for this among among you know the general public among travelers as well so yeah that’s kind of where i’m coming from

[deanna_nwosu]:  how would you define what better travel means to you you know from the standpoint of keeping in mind the economic impact that travel has but also sustainability and even you know as yourself living in a touristy town um having respect for the local inhabitants and the people who are native to that area how would you define better travel in that sense

[paige_mcclanahan]:  ooh that’s a great question yeah i mean i think better travel i mean in a really general sense it travel it’s travel that maximizes the positive impacts and minimizes the negative impacts right and that can mean and and i

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  didn’t say it sort of eliminates the negative impacts right because that’s never possible but you know i didn’t call

[deanna_nwosu]:  exactly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  it the best or the perfect travel podcast like better travel podcast right like let’s all try to be a little bit better so yeah maximizing the positive minimum minimizing the negative and i think as travelers like you know one really critical step that we can all take and it’s not just sort of you know it it’s more of a mindset shift than anything else it’s just to imagine yourself as a house guest in someone else’s home you know and being aware of them i mean you know i’ve told the story before where you know we live at the end of this in a really rural spot where we are right here and they’re like cross country ski trails just across the way there and this time of year our

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  road gets quite full of people parking there to go use the cross country ski

trails and stuff and um yeah i’ve seen multiple times people just like parking there and just at the edge of our yard going to the bathroom like right there our yard because it’s really

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh my god that’s not where i thought you were taking it

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah nasa they just like they need to pee and they’re in this sort of area where  there’s a lot of forests sort of around and it doesn’t look like anybody is looking there’s nobody driving by so let me just pop a squat and i’m just sitting here like i’ll be

[deanna_nwosu]:  wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  sitting like washing the dishes looking out at the view across the way and like all of a sudden i see there’s a woman’s there’s woman’s naked behind

[deanna_nwosu]:  look at your beautiful view

[paige_mcclanahan]:  literally at the edge of our yard and it’s just like oh my god

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh my goodness wow

[paige_mcclanahan]:  just like you know so i think that that kind of and it’s like it’s fine but like i do i’m not gonna complain about the tourists because basically tourism even though i don’t work explicitly i mean i do kind of work in the tourism economy i  guess but i don’t work in the local tourism economy but it supports our lifestyle here because you know it means there’s a supermarket and there’s like a little movie theater and you know there are restaurants that we like to go to right so i really value the tourists who come here i would love for the tourists who come here and i would live for myself when i go other places as a tourist to remember that i’m in somebody else’s home and to act

[deanna_nwosu]:  yeah

[paige_mcclanahan]:  accordingly so you know when you’re a house guest you like you know you don’t leave your towel on the bathroom floor and you like offer to help with the dishes  and you say thank you so much for lovely dinner and everything just kind of have that sort

[deanna_nwosu]:  right

[paige_mcclanahan]:  of approach when you’re um when you’re traveling and keep an open mind and try to make genuine human connections with the people um in the place where you’re going to um yeah i think there are lots it’s about lots of different things but that’s a good place to start maybe

[deanna_nwosu]:  oh i like that just thinking of everyone every as your global neighbors

[paige_mcclanahan]:  exactly

[deanna_nwosu]:  and treating them accordingly

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  well this has been a great conversation i’m so happy to have you paige but there’s one question i ask all of my guests um so if you had to pick a song to convey whether it’s your life as a kind of x pat you know as in your adult life or some travels with your family your time is a travel journalist if you had to pick a song to convey that what would it be and why

[paige_mcclanahan]:  uh that thank you so much for this question it’s not one that i had thought of before i loved having this prompted to think about this and i’m going to one hundred percent date myself as somebody who was a teenager in the late nineties by saying i love this song the tom petty song wild flowers i don’t know if you know this but um song it’s kind

[deanna_nwosu]:  we’re from the same era so i’m familiar with it but i can’t hear it in my head

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah yeah yeah it’s kind you belong among the wild flowers you belong somewhere you feel free um gosh i’m not going to be able to kind of record it at length here but but essentially it’s about saying you know kind of go off into the world explore the world like have adventures find a sort of a life partner to go along with you and then kind of you belong in that home by and by it says sort of toward the end like at some point you kind of settle down and um and yeah i just think it’s a really beautiful song about kind of following your heart and being open to new things and being open to finding yourself in different places in the  world you know finding a sort of a life partner and then settling down and i think that does um yeah maybe reflect some of the the progress of my life so far it’s also just a  lovely song it always kind of makes me cry

[deanna_nwosu]:  sounds like a wa lust anthem essentially

[paige_mcclanahan]:  there you go there you go yeah

[deanna_nwosu]:  well it’s been great having you paige thank you so much for joining before we sign off please tell everyone where they can find you on the inter webs

[paige_mcclanahan]:  yeah okay well thank you so much i would encourage you to um head over to bettertravelpodcasts.com where you can find out about the podcast and listen to some of our episodes and sign up for our newsletter then i also have a website page mcinerny ism and stuff and yeah from those two websites you can find links to social media you know instagram for the podcast and stuff but yeah bettertravelpodcast.com is probably the best place to start so

[deanna_nwosu]:  well thank you so much we’ll have all that in the show notes for listeners to check you out and uh yeah thank you so much for paige for being here i hope everyone can take a little bit of the better travel mindset with them after this conversation

[paige_mcclanahan]:  oh well thank you so much for having me it’s been a wonderful conversation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: