Hello from London: a Vlog with Aspiring Kennedy

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On a crisp, sunny, beautiful London day last December, I wandered around Kensington Palace and gardens with Lauren Bryan Knight, otherwise known as Aspiring Kennedy. We had lunch at The Orangery at Kensington Palace and ended with tea and scones at Candella. Pretty much the perfect day. And my sister, who now lives in London, joined us at the end! 

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I first met Lauren in London a few years ago, and she's one of those people that you instantly connect with. She also happens to be really funny, a mom to three adorable kids, and wife to her great husband Tyler. Lauren also really gets travel, and she takes her kids all over Europe. She's also what I consider to be a real influencer (#overusedannoyingword), because people trust her. I work in travel and media, and know hundreds of travel journalists and agents - and while many of them are awesome, I'd take Lauren's recommendations first. (If you're going to London, use her guide! I always do. And here's my England/London guide, just in case.) 

We went on a lovely walk and talked travel tips, with and without kids. Here is the full 14-minute chat! 

BBC Interview: Forms of Identification

In the Sacred Valley of PeruI did a quick, fun interview with the BBC about where I want to go next, who I want to travel with, and a story of how I lied about getting married to get home after being stuck in an airport for 3 days. Thanks for making me one of your favorite travel ninjas!

Check it out here! BBC Forms of Identification: Annie Fitzsimmons

How Travel Has Changed Me & A Favorite Spot

I was recently asked how travel has changed me for the new travel site Frayed Passport and for a favorite spot around the world. Here's what I said.

How travel has changed me
Travel has made me feel both more powerful and insignificant. Powerful because of what I have experienced around the world, things that have been both challenging and inspiring. And insignificant because I am only one of billions of personalities all living incredibly varied lives, with different beliefs and reasons for their choices. Nothing but leaving your home can do this.

One of my favorite travel spots
I recently spent a weekend in the Isles of Scilly 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall in England and fell in love. It’s a land where time has stood still, where everyone is friendly, funny, and engaging and the natural beauty is stunning. It’s a favorite of the royal family, yet barely anyone outside of England has heard of them. The Star Castle Hotel quickly became one of my favorite retreats. Out of 140 islands, 5 are inhabited. I just loved how I felt while being there.

I loved reading what everyone had to say, from National Geographic's Andrew Evans, my friend Kirsten Alana, Johnny Jet and more.

How has travel changed you? I am convinced it can only be for the better. I know people that don't love to travel, but still the experience changes them.

46 Adventurers Share How Travel Has Changed Them & Reveal Their Favorite Spots

Sneak Peek: Palacio Nazarenas and a new interview

I'm in Peru! Overnight flight to Lima, connection to Cusco, and my first stamp in my renewed passport. I was warned of potential problems with altitude sickness, as Cusco sits at 11,000+ feet. I walked around for 5 hours today and just took it very slow - every step was noticeably harder and I had to catch my breath especially going uphill. I didn't get a massive headache until after the walk, but spent 10 minutes using one of the hotel's oxygen tanks and felt much better.

View from my balconySpeaking of the hotel, I am completely blown away by the new Orient-Express property here, Palacio Nazarenas and wanted to give a sneak peek - the view from my balcony. Orient-Express also owns Hotel Monasterio in Cusco right next door, generally considered to be the best property in Peru. They feel completely different, but are both culturally signficant buildings turned luxury hotels. The official opening party is tomorrow night, with 250 folks from all over the world celebrating.

Also, here's a recent interview I did if you're interested. I've loved their interviews with travel experts like Christopher Elliott, Valarie D'Elia, Seth Kugel and Matt Gross.

Where does your love of hotels come from?
I grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., a mecca for beautiful resorts like The Sanctuary and Four Seasons Troon North, and that’s often where groups of us would go and hang out. But really, I just love that checking into a hotel room for even a night allows you to become someone else. I write about hotels and the world around them, so I love what the story of a hotel means to a place. I love the way I feel when I’m there.

And 9 more questions/answers here!