Hello! Welcome to another edition of our Traveler Interview Series. Today, I have a special treat for you guys. I am excited to introduce Family Travel Blogger Alison Netzer of Five Family Adventurers.
We met on Facebook and learned that our families have lots in common. We are both passionate about Disney, Coffee, and Tacos! Yep, a friendship that is sure to last for years to come. LOL. Let’s get into her story below.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. NAMES, CHILDREN’S AGES, OCCUPATION/S. WHERE IS HOME?
We are a family of 5, Alison Netzer, mom and Not-for-Profit Administrator, Giora Netzer, dad and Associate Professor of Medicine, Critical Care, Hannah, daughter age 14, David, son age 13, and Jacob son age 10.
WHEN DID YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL BEGIN?
When I was very young. My parents took us on road trips up the North East Coast of the USA and I loved watching the world pass outside my window. I loved connecting with nature and exploring our country. Our travels moved on from road trips when I was around 10 years old and we started to venture to the Caribbean, cruises, and Mexico.
In 9th grade, I went to China with my high school and it was life-altering. It was 1986 and still red China, there were very few cars, Shanghai had a few high-rises, water was not potable and there were very few visitors. The country had just recently opened up to tourism. This was the moment my love for travel crystalized. I craved more and managed to get to Spain and Italy while in high school. From there I never stopped. A lot of my travel in my younger years was without smartphones or GPS, just old fashioned travel books and meeting strangers and having conversations. It left a lasting impact.
WHAT IS THE FIRST TRIP YOU REMEMBER TAKING BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A FAMILY?
I can remember going to Block Island, as a young child with my family. It was great having to take a ferry off the mainland USA to a small island off the coast of Rhode Island and not needing a car once there. Just a week of relaxation and family time.
As a solo traveler, I remember living in Spain in college. I would just take off during the weekends to different cities. Hop on the train to places like Sevilla, Cordoba, Segovia, Toledo and many more. I managed to get a babysitting job 4 days a week while I was in school in Madrid that helped pay for my weekend adventurers. Post college, I did some solo traveling in Central and South America as well.
HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE YOU VISITED THUS FAR?
29 so far- China, Thailand, Cambodia, Israel, Spain, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, England, Scotland, Iceland, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico (although US territory), Cayman Islands, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITES DESTINATION YOU HAVE BEEN TO SO FAR?
It is hard to choose, but it’s a toss-up between Guatemala and Costa Rica. Why?
I love the nature and history of Guatemala. I visited Tikal in the ’90s and again in 2018 and am still amazed by the grandeur of the site. The dense jungle also is wonderful to explore, but one can easily get lost if you wander too far off the path. I also love the highlands of Guatemala. The people are kind and welcoming.
Costa Rica is another favorite destination. The natural beauty and the conservation efforts of Costa Rica should serve as an example to the rest of the world. They really do live the Pura Vida life. In my dream life, I retire in a small shack on the beach of Costa Rica with the jungle as my background.
LET’S TALK FOOD. ANY MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE?
We are a family that eats. Even when not traveling, you can find us on a Friday night in particular around the dinner table sharing a 2+ hour meal. Food is very important to us as it brings us together as a family. We have had countless memorable meals, which is a blessing.
When we were in Cambodia, we had our guide take us to a day market so we could show the kids that not all food is sold in grocery stores. It just happened to be a market known for its chicken. We bought some chicken and deep fried silkworms for lunch and proceeded to our next stop where we would eat. It just so happened our next stop was a silkworm factory. We watched as the kids popped the fried silkworms into their mouths like popcorn, not questioning the fact they were bugs, just accepting that this is what people eat in Cambodia and therefore they will eat it as well.
ANY UNIQUE EXPERIENCES OR CHALLENGES DURING YOUR TRAVELS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
Our youngest tends to be the broken bone winner of our travels. It has happened on three of our trips. Once when we were in Thailand he broke his heel and could barely walk for over a week. Luckily that was our week at the beach and we were relaxing and snorkeling. He was able to participate in these activities. When we went to Iceland he decided to jump off the bunk bed in our Airbnb and broke his ankle. We stabilized it with his hiking boot for the duration of our week. A day before we were to leave on a road trip filled with hiking and ziplining, he broke his arm on a playground. Somehow he still managed to zip line. Never dull with our youngest.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BLOG? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED BLOGGING? WHY DID YOU BECOME A FAMILY TRAVEL BLOGGER?
My blog is dedicated to family travel. There is no greater gift than the gift of travel. It creates such wonderful family memories and bonding time. I started it blindly. I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I found an art student to create my logo. From there I started writing. Finally a couple of months into it I realized I had to hire someone to help me design it. I still lack in the technical side of things but am starting to teach myself. It’s a learning process for sure.
There were two reasons I started my blog. First, I heard too many families around me saying their kids were either too young to appreciate travel or wouldn’t remember. It made me crazy to hear this. Kids grow so fast and time is the one thing we cannot get back. Second, a good friend of mine is a famous mommy blogger (she just recently sold her blog), and she made it look so easy. I figured if she could do it, so could I. I did it, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about it being easy. It has been a challenge for sure, but a wonderful one.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE OF TRAVEL?
To be patient and accepting of other cultures. Things don’t always work the same way they do in your own country and that is ok. Makes for a wonderful adventure and helps you to grow as a person. Travel lets you gain an appreciation for other cultures and how they live.
CAN YOU GIVE FAMILIES A FEW TIPS, TRICKS, and HACKS WHEN TRAVELING?
Pack light. No one cares if you wear the same thing over and over again. It takes such a burden off when you have less to carry around. Moreover, it makes it less stressful knowing you have less to pack and unpack. Also, bring a reusable water bottle. Not only does it cut down on waste, but by the time you are done buying bottles of water 2-4 times a day for the family, it can easily save up to $10 -$15 dollars a day.
ZIPLINING OR BUNGEE JUMPING?
Definitely ziplining. Lasts longer and you have time to take in the scenery.
TEA OR COFFEE?
Coffee 100%. I’m a coffee purist. Just love a good cup of drip brew. Cannot live without it.
WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET SO FAR?
My husband. He is a wealth of information, an avid reader, an ultra-marathon runner, and is on a mission to make patient care at hospitals an overall better experience for the patients and families alike. Moreover, he was an art history major in university so whenever we go to a museum we have our own built-in tour guide to give us detailed information on the art and artist.
DISNEY WORLD OR THE REAL WORLD?
As much as I love to travel the real world, I have a ridiculous soft spot for Disney World. It brings out my inner-child. Perhaps it’s because my parents brought me when I was little and I have such great memories of being with them at Disney.
WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST STREET FOOD YOU’VE HAD?
Street tacos at a market stall in Oaxaca, Mexico. The chicken was marinated in spices along with onions and cheese were a perfect accompaniment. Add a squeeze of lime for a perfect amount of acidity. A perfect bite.
You can follow our journeys by connecting with us below
Thank You, Alison, for taking time out to share some of your travel experiences and valuable family travel tips.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about the Netzer Family as much as we did, and that you’ve been inspired to go On Travel Mode more often!
If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed for one of our future editions, please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if you have any questions you’d like us to pose to future interviewees we’d love to read them!
Be sure to check out the other interviews in this series:
- Interview with Family Travel Blogger Tamara Gruber of We3Travel
- On Travel Mode with the Price Family
- On Travel Mode with Vanessa Benitez