Sip and sup
Spa and stay.
See, shop and sail.
That’s the short list of my favored activities.
While the destinations vary widely, the features that I contribute to a variety of publications usually focus on one or more of those actions.

At 16, I was a student of French and Spanish when I visited Haiti and Puerto Rico on a two-week Caribbean cruise. By 18, I was a student at the Sorbonne and dreaming in French.

At 20, having married, graduated college and given birth to our first daughter, I started teaching. Subsequently, I created a year-long Travel Project for my French and Spanish students. They wrote “travel” articles based upon our studies of the countries that speak the language. Long before there was instant internet access, they researched in class, the ibrary and on trips to New York City and wrote about the capital city, historic monuments, authentic food, sport events, performances and art museums and buying gifts. I was organizing travel stories long before I started publishing my own.

When I saw my friends struggling with guilt as they confronted the challenge of working while mothering, I wrote You Can’t Do It All; ideas that work for mothers who work. “Don’t ask for help,” I advised in the early 80s, “that reinforces that the jobs belong to you. They don’t.”

While searching for a publisher, I became Dining Editor of New York and Long Island Nightlife and wrote five monthly restaurant features and regular pieces about spas in a section we called Looking Good. “Make time for a spa day,” was my mantra in 1985; it still is.

The publication of the book (Macmillan, 1986; Berkley, 1987) expanded my world with a book-tour and national spokesperson tours (Ziploc Storage Bags and Contadina Pasta Ready) to 30 markets. People who thought doing radio and TV was difficult had no idea what a cinch it was after being in a 9th grade classroom! The travel experiences convinced me to concentrate on travel, culinary and spa tourism.

Bob, my late husband, was a sailing enthusiast and active photographer. We had always sailed and cruised together and his images illustrated our boating stories; soon, we started working together on food and travel stories. We cruised, sailed, drove and flew…often on assignment. We discovered cities, countries, islands and wine regions together and his images enhanced my stories and sales.

Travel, spa and culinary tourism have been my specialty for 25 years.

For samples, see my pinterest boards.

On my balcony at Byblos, the foredeck of the Arabella, a compartment on the Orient Express or a massage table at the Mandarin Oriental, in Bangkok, travel experiences enhance my life and encourage others to indulge.

~Irvina