Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Slow Travel Forum Moderators
Slow Travel has a great group of moderators who run the forums (www.slowtalk.com) and post reviews on the web site. Here is what the moderators have to say about themselves.
Amy from Massachusetts
I'm a preschool teacher, cranky before the first cup of coffee, and spend too much money on books. I love throwing parties, and hate doing the laundry. I live outside Boston, MA with my husband Larry, and our two sons in a rambling old house.
In our 20's Larry and I did a lot of spur of the moment travel. We'd schedule an off-season vacation from work, and then call a few consolidators to see where we could fly to on the cheap. Since then, I've discovered the joys of planning trips, relishing the collection of details of history and culture that make travel a rich and vital experience. Our boys are learning to entertain themselves at airports, try new experiences in unfamiliar environments, and be flexible and curious traveling companions. We have fun, too.
Amy joined Slow Travel as a moderator in the the very beginning, summer 2001, "retired" in September 2006, then rejoined the group in January 2007. Amy moderates the Italy forum. Read Amy's blog: Destination Anywhere. Amy's SlowTalk profile.
Andrew from Missouri
Growing up as the son of artistic parents with an interest in going different places, I started my interest in overseas travel with a year in Paris at age seven. I had an aptitude then to read maps and navigate, and chart out trips on public transportation. Later on, my parents and I gravitated to Italy, and we settled in Umbria for my teenage years. I continued to try to master the practical aspects of travel as I became a full-time resident of Italy and student in Italian schools. In my five years of year-round residence in Italy, my last two years of high school were in Rome.
Back in the United States, I eventually became an academic librarian. In my job of locating information, I took special interest in finding travel information. I joined my first online travel discussion group in 1992; I've taken advantage of and interpreted Web-based travel information, with a practical emphasis, as it has developed, while continuing to appreciate the reports and advice that individual travelers can give. I've found SlowTrav, with its friendly people and great coverage of Italy, to be a comfortable online home for travel matters. My connection with Italy, where I still have a house in Umbria, is the ultimate Slow Travel, and I've tried to slow it down when I visit other places.
I've found inspiration in the adventurousness of my much younger sister-turned-brother Flo, born in Rome, who worked in Haiti and died in the 2010 earthquake. My companions have mostly been the cats that I've had, but in my re-connection with Margaret, my high school classmate from the time in Rome, I'm looking to have a companion for future travels.
Andrew joined Slow Travel in 2004 and became a moderator in 2011. With his knack for transportation logistics, Andrew moderates the Airfares and Airlines forum and uses his knowledge of Italy to help moderate our Italy forum. Read Andrew's blog: Mostly Travel, Mostly the Facts and his Travel Page. Andrew's SlowTalk profile.
David from New York City
As a professional opera singer as well as an actor (well, I'm directing and teaching now too!), I've had the good fortune of having been engaged to work in a given location for a month or more at a time - basically having someone pay me to be a Slow Traveler! Though most of my work is in the US, I've had memorable jobs in such places as Hong Kong, Nice, Spoleto, etc.
My other interests include food and wine and foreign languages. I'm pretty conversant in Italian, French, Spanish and German. I was very happy to help Steve with the French and Italian Language Lessons on Slow Travel.
David joined Slow Travel as a moderator in the very beginning - summer 2001. He took a break away from moderating for a few years, but is back now running our Language forums. See David's website: www.davidronis.com. David's SlowTalk profile.
Doru from Toronto, Canada
I live in Toronto, Canada and am retired from International Banking after 45 years of work in the field. While I travelled extensively on business, I had to wait for semi-retirement before I could fulfill my dream of travelling just for the joy of it. I am also a trained journalist and worked as a newspaper and later radio reporter for almost 10 years before entering the International Banking field.
I discovered Slow Travel in 2002 and have never rushed a trip again. My wife Josette, a pianist and piano teacher, and I enjoy the same things in our travels: arts, architecture, history, classical music and opera, meeting people. I am the more adventurous one when it comes to food and wine and even enjoy driving in Europe! I am also interested in languages and passionate about sports. We travel to Europe and the United States frequently.
I have written several trip reports, detailed vacation rental and restaurant reviews, and our page about SWIFT and Money Transfers.
Doru was made Patriarch of the Slow Travel community in 2003. He came up with the idea of having a Patriarch! Doru joined Slow Travel as a moderator in September 2006. Now he is both the Patriarch and a moderator!! Doru moderates the Italy and the Italy Language Talk forums. See Doru's Slow Travel Member page. Doru's SlowTalk profile.
Ian (aka Riberiasacra) from Spain
I presently live in the Ribeira Sacra wine region Galicia, Spain.
I have lived for a while in The Netherlands, with my now wife, Irene. After which we both moved to Spain to run a Casa Rural. (Nearest equivalent description to this in English is a B&B). We both love the work, which is very different to our previous lives. The part I enjoy most about the work is meeting new folks and helping them to have a great vacation; I hope that shows in my forum postings.
I have travelled quite extensively in Europe, with some excursions to New Zealand and The US. I realize that there is always another place just around the corner to explore!
My other interests are wine, classic cars, my pets and web page design.
Ian joined Slow Travel in 2008 and became a moderator in 2011. Our first moderator who lives in Spain, it seemed a natural fit to make him moderator for our Spain & Portugal forum. Also with his extensive travel experience in Europe, he helps moderate our Rest of Europe forum too. Ian and his wife, Irene, run Casa Santo Estevo, a lovely rural casa (aka B&B) in the Ribeira Sacra wine region of Galicia, Spain. Ian's SlowTalk profile.
Jonathan from Stroud, UK
I live in Stroud, on the edge of the Cotswolds, and work as a musician, playing (mostly baroque) flute and teaching various courses. Growing up in the UK, European holidays were just a short hop across the channel, and (with the help of some family photos to jog my memory) I see that I had my first French holiday in 1959, and my first Italian trip in 1962.
I married Philippa (another musician: a double bassist) in 1981, and since then we've managed to fit in quite a few European holidays, as well as a couple of trips to Bali to study gamelan music. Our son frequently travels with us. During the 80s and 90s it was mostly self-catering and camping holidays in France, but then in 1999 we had our first trip together to Italy, and really fell in love with the country.
This happily coincided with the rise of the budget airlines, which has helped us to take lots of short breaks. And in 2004, we spent one of these short breaks in Ostuni, Puglia. The town, the region, the food, the people – all combined to push us over the edge, and by the end of the year we'd bought a (very tiny) house in Ostuni! We go there as often as work allows, but also manage to see other bits of Italy too – as well as France, Germany and Switzerland when we do our annual drive down to Puglia.
Jonathan joined Slow Travel as a moderator in September 2004 and moderates the Italy forum. Jonathan's SlowTalk profile.
Judy (aka TourMama) from California
Born in San Francisco, I have lived all my life in the Bay Area. I’m the proud mother of two, and loving and indulgent grandmother of three. When I retired from an administrative position at the University I took a job as administrative manager for a local opera company where I enjoyed five years of close association with a wonderfully creative company before deciding to retire again to spend more time with family and friends and to travel.
I think I was born with the travel bug – my father spent many years at sea in the merchant marines and a Naval officer; my mother met him when she traveled by ship to Argentina at the age of 21 to visit family there. I first went to Europe as a college student and spent a summer in Switzerland with a program called The Experiment in International Living. Then my husband and I and our 2 ½ year old daughter spent nine months in Europe after graduate school – six months in Paris, with time in Italy, England and the Netherlands. Since that time we have been lucky enough to return to Europe many times, primarily to England, where we have family, but also to France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Hungary. And as tour manager for a local chorus, I have also traveled to England, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, China, Uruguay and Argentina.
In addition to slow travel, my interests include reading, opera, theater, choral singing, cooking, and travel planning. When not traveling somewhere, the internet is my playground of choice, and the Slow Talk/Slow Travel community the core of my virtual world.
Judy joined Slow Travel as a moderator in November 2008 for the Everything About Travel, Italy and UK forums. TourMama's SlowTalk profile.
Kim from New Jersey
I was born the son of a .... oh wait, that's not me. Actually, let's see what to tell, I live (and was raised) in Central Joisey. I'm married with two female rugrats. I'm a Systems Analyst by training but don't do that anymore. Now I work to feed my passion, and my passion has become my work, travel. I also love to cook, read, bike ride, watch baseball (Go Yanks!), football (Go Jets!), and movies. My favorite cities are NYC, Paris, San Francisco, Rome and Venice in no particular order. Though I do love the quiet of the country too (I think I should live on a farm somewhere).
My favorite food is home-made chocolate chip cookies followed a close second by about a dozen other things. My favorite books - A Prayer for Owen Meaning, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, Pillars of the Earth and the Tolkien Trilogy. My favorite movies - It's a Wonderful Life, Groundhog Day, American President (I love redemption themes). My favorite holiday - Thanksgiving - food and football, can you ask for anything more? My favorite color - red. That's about all I can think of for now.
Kim joined Slow Travel as a moderator in the summer of 2003. She now is Forum and Website Administrator. In 2009, along with Shannon, Kim started GrapeHops, conducting small group tours to Europe, focusing on food, wine and beer. See Kim's Slow Travel Member page. Read Kim's blogs: What I Really Think and GrapeHops Blog. Kim's SlowTalk profile.
Marta from Washington
I developed a passion for travel when my parents took a vacation and drove down Hwy 1 in California. I was hooked. After I married, we took several road trips in the western US and Canada before taking the leap overseas to London.
Many of our trips have involved our hobbies of hiking, photography, wildflowers and gardening. We have visited the wonderful gardens of England, New Zealand, Spain and France. We have hiked in France, Italy, New Zealand and Chile, kayaked in Mexico, and climbed the Mayan ruins of Yucatan and Guatemala. We have seen big game in Namibia and South Africa and snorkeled in Hawaii and Belize. Recently, we have spent our vacations visiting the different areas of the Mediterranean biome (Southern Europe, California, Chile, South Africa and Western Australia) to study flora and wildflowers.
We discovered slow travel style after making the mistake of taking a whirlwind three week trip to Spain. Everyday was a new city. I promised myself never again. We got to do a long slow travel when I worked for three months in the Netherlands in 1990 and again in 1996. We learned how to shop, use the appliances, live without a car and open our minds to other cultures. My latest trip was studying for 4 weeks at an intensive French language school in Villefranche sur Mer.
I've lived in the Seattle region for over 30 years and love the Pacific Northwest. We spend much of our time hiking, gardening and searching for wildflowers. I have been involved with computers since receiving one of the early degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and I currently work for a software company in Seattle.
Marta joined Slow Travel as a moderator in the summer of 2003. Marta moderates the Technology forum. See photos and read more on Travels with George and Marta. Read Marta's blog: Postcards from the Trail. Marta's SlowTalk profile.
Roz from Massachusetts
Suburban Philadelphia was my childhood home. At college near Boston, I fell in love with both New England and my future husband. For most of my working life I was a librarian - first in an elementary school library, and then in the technology department of a library services company.
Now in retirement, I feel so lucky finally to be able to indulge a passion for travel. When we're not off on our latest adventure, I'm usually traveling virtually - either in books (I LOVE to read) or via the computer. (I also LOVE my Mac!)
Our first really big trip was back in the 1970s when our two boys were young, and we camped our way across the US in a VW bus. Maybe that taste of West Coast sunshine planted a seed, because as adults both our sons abandoned Boston for California - although they remain steadfast Red Sox and Patriots fans! So about half of our trips these days are to the West Coast.
One son has three beautiful children, and the other got engaged when he joined us on a Slow Travel prize winning trip to Italy in Fall 2006. (My Trip Report 1176: September Song - High Notes of a Few Precious Days in Italy describes that adventure.) But when we are not enjoying time with family, we are either in Europe or planning our next visit there.
Italy and France are our favorite destinations, and both countries are so rich in "infinite variety" that we could probably keep going there for the rest of our lives and not run out of new delights, or old pleasures that call us back. And I can't imagine traveling without the rich resource of SlowTrav. This amazing community has so enriched our travel life and brought me so many wonderful new friends. I hope that helping out as a moderator will let me give a little something back to a place that has given me so much.
Susan (aka Panda) from the UK
When I was growing up, we took long, meandering trips during my teacher father’s summer holidays – a week here and two there, camping or renting slightly strange cottages (my father was a man with an eye for a bargain). My own first vacation rental was a gite in France in the late 70s, when the procedure was to send off for the Gites de France handbook from the French Tourist Board, choose a property, then write (in French) to the owner, getting handwritten and nearly indecipherable letters in return. Our not-quite-as-converted-as-it- sounded windmill in the Poitou-Charentes region was picturesque , although maybe I should have realised that six beds meant exactly that but in only one circular bedroom, which was cosy for three couples.
Marrying a New Zealander meant long haul trips to visit his family became the norm, with beautiful stopovers on Pacific islands and Asia; my two daughters have grown knowing that the most pointless question was "Are we nearly there yet?" and they are now hardy and unfussy teenage travelers.
I first came across SlowTrav in 2003 when researching (and I love to cross check) a trip to Tuscany. The instructions for picking up and returning a rental car at Fiumicino Airport were so helpful that I emailed my gratitude and was warmly welcomed and given the suggestion to look at the forums, which I had somehow managed to overlook. From shy lurker I became a member of this amazingly knowledgeable and inspiring community and have made so many lovely friends .
We live on the leafy south west edge of London, near the Thames and handily placed for Heathrow for my frequent business travelling husband, but also an easy trip into central London for my favourite gallery outings.
Susan joined Slow Travel as a moderator in May 2010 to run the France, UK & Ireland forums. Visit her member page.
Terry from Pennsylvania
I’m a happily married wife, and mother to a wonderful son who is my pride and joy. Marriage and being a parent are the two best things that have ever happened to me.
Born, raised, and still living in the Philadelphia area, I actually work at the hospital of my birth. I’ve been a registered nurse my entire adult life, and have been administering nurse anesthesia for the past 12 years. I love my job.
I also love to travel, being bit by the bug that runs on my father’s side of the family. Growing up, we took trips up and down the East coast every summer. After I graduated nursing school, I treated myself to 2 months of hiking along the Appalachian Trail with a classmate. I have taken several slow trips to Israel, visiting family, and have attached a few European stops along the way. But my traveling time has really just begun to open up now that we are done paying college tuition. I am looking forward to a time of discovery.
Oh, I also love to cook, read, play piano, garden, hang out with my beagle, Sophie, and spend probably way too much time on the internet.
Terry joined Slow Travel as a moderator in November 2008 to run the North America and Rest of Europe forums. Visit her member page.
Over the years, some of our moderators have "retired". Some of them are still posting on the board.
Chris from California
I live in Sacramento with my husband Frank and our cats Carlos and Lizzie. We've been making trips to Europe about once a year for the last ten years. Before that we used all of our vacation time on long motorcycle tours all over the Western United States and Canada, so if you want to know about great motorcycle roads in the West, I can probably help you.
I do independent web application development and did the programming on the Slow Travel site. I spend a lot of my free time gardening. I grow the world's best tomatoes and basil as well as lots of roses, lavender and other flowers. My cat Carlos likes nothing better than a walk around the back yard draped around my neck.
Colleen from California
I'm a second generation San Franciscan, and have lived my entire life in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Which, by the way, I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world!) I love living near the ocean and the bay, and often visit my family in Santa Cruz.
Working in the computer industry, I've been fortunate enough to travel extensively for business in the U.S. I always try to make time to explore a bit of the local culture wherever I go - whether New Orleans, Louisiana or Joe, Wyoming.
I'm a voracious reader of all genres, which leads to stuffed bookcases and makes it difficult to leave a bookstore with empty hands. I have no sense of timing, so I can't tell a joke or dance very well, but I'm a great audience! I've practiced T'ai Chi for several years; luckily balance is more important there than timing.
Travel is a form of time travel to me ... I love walking along and thinking about all those who've traveled before me on the same paths. Italy - Venice in particular - holds my heart, but I have a very long list of places to go, things to see! So Many Sights, So Little Vacation Time ... Photo shows Colleen in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris.
Colleen joined Slow Travel as a moderator at the end of 2001. Colleen works on all the forums. Colleen's SlowTalk profile.
Dean from MD
I have been in the food and wine industry since I was 16. I have worked in the restaurant business and in the wine business as both a retailer and wholesaler. I now own my own restaurant - Dino in Washington DC - www.dino-dc.com.
I live in Silver Spring Maryland with my wife Kay. We travel to Italy at least once a year if we can. I am an avid wine collector with a collection approaching (from above) 1500 bottles dating back to the 1960's with the preponderance of that 1984 and onward. I am a recent convert to Opera.
Kaydee from Tennessee
In some ways I began life as a traveler. I was born in Munich, Germany, grew up in the Baltimore/Washington area, and spent four pre-teen years in Melbourne, Australia. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, which has been home for most of my adult life. My husband Charley and I have a teenage daughter Kelly.
Travel - especially European travel - is our family passion. (We also really enjoy visiting other parts of North America.) Europe seems to encompass everything that interests the three of us: history, literature, art, architecture, scenery, hiking, and course the food and wine. By the time Kelly was ten, we had vacationed in Europe nine times.
In June 2004 I left my corporate career to pursue our dream of an extended stay in Europe. We spent 14 months in Europe, including 6-1/2 months living in Provence where Kelly attended a village school. Our trip followed the "Slow Travel" formula and included 20 vacation rentals. We traveled extensively in France, Great Britain and Italy and also visited Belgium, Spain, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, staying in major cities, small villages and rural settings. I couldn't have planned our trip without the resources available on the Slow Travel website and the support of so many Slow Travelers. Our family has really enjoyed meeting other Slow Travelers at get-togethers in Europe and in America, and many of my closest friends are people I've met through Slow Travel.
After 27 years as a Human Resources executive, I now have a new career as a college professor. I teach in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee and also do some management consulting. This gives our family the flexibility to continue to travel, especially during the summer months. Although we enjoy many areas of Europe, we especially love France. The Luberon area of Provence has become almost a second home to us, and Charley and I lead small group trips there several times a year.
Kathy and Charley run The Luberon Experience, small group tours to Provence. See Kaydee's Slow Travel Member page. Read Kaydee's blogs: The Trail's Our Thing and Our Grand Tour of Europe. Kaydee's SlowTalk profile.
Maureen from Boston
I am a pudgy middle-aged clinical social worker, living and working in Boston. Of course, I have a cat. The career combination of social work and academia doesn't result in the big bucks, but does provide a nice bit of vacation time, so I am always searching for a travel deal. I go to Italy 2 or 3 times a year, always spending the Christmas holidays there with family and friends. I love London and have recently been able to go yearly.
I watch too much TV, enjoy cooking, reading, skiing, and am fascinated by all things Finnish. Another hobby is caring for my always ailing VW Golf, Little Fritz.
I studied languages rather than the recommended math or sciences, and try to keep up with them.
Photo shows Maureen in Rome on Via Giulia on a rainy winter day.
Maureen joined Slow Travel as a moderator in the summer of 2001 and "retired" in August 2008. Maureen's SlowTalk profile
Pauline from New Mexico
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband Steve. We travel regularly to Europe and in North America. We love to walk, hike and hang out in cafes. We like good food, but we are not "foodies" - we are vegetarians (well I am and Steve is mostly). This limits the places we can go to and is the main reason we love vacation rentals where we can do some simple cooking. Luckily many of the other moderators are foodies, so you can get good restaurant advice from them.
I consider myself a "housie"; I am as serious about the quality of a vacation rental as others are about the quality of a meal and I will eagerly spend my extra dollars on accommodations and skimp on meals. Don't tell me you are just looking for "a place to lay your head"!! (But if that is the case, I can recommend some good budget accommodations.)
Pauline is the founder and first moderator of the Slow Travel website (started in April 2000) and Slow Talk message board (started in January 2001). She "retired" as a moderator on January 2008, but you can still see her on the boards! See the Pauline & Steve section for more information. Read more about their travels and see photos. Read Pauline's blog: Views from the Slow Lane. Pauline's SlowTalk profile.
Shannon from California
I'm a born and raised California girl currently living in the paradise of Ocean Beach, a vibrant and colorful neighborhood in San Diego.
I started traveling to Europe in 1998 and since then, have made many trips, including a year-long one.
My other interests include music and wine, both of which I experience daily. I've been working in the wine business, for the same family-owned company, since 1986.
I have two dreams – the first is to travel all over Europe with no plan and blog about it and the other is to write a guidebook on the paradores of Spain.
When I'm not traveling, you can usually find me at the OB Vine Wine Bar, which thankfully, is only three blocks from my house.
Shannon co-wrote the guidebook Chow Venice!, a restaurant guide. Shannon joined Slow Travel as a moderator in June 2007 to run the Spain and Portugal forum. In 2009, along with Kim, Shannon started GrapeHops, conducting small group tours to Europe, focusing on food, wine and beer. See Shannon's Slow Travel Member page. Read Shannon's blogs: Poptarticus and GrapeHops blog. Shannon's SlowTalk profile.
We started out in June 2001 with a small group: Pauline and Steve from NM, David from NY, Liz from Vancouver, Amy from MA. During that first year we added Maureen from Boston, Colleen from CA, and Chris from CA.
In June 2003, we lost some of our original moderators (David from NY, Liz from Vancouver), and added a few more: Dean from MD, Kim from NJ, Cristina from Italy, and Marta from WA.
In July 2004, Cristina left to run her own forums on www.expatsinitaly.com.
In September 2004, Jonathan from Stroud, UK joined our group.
In September 2006, Amy "retired" and Doru from Toronto joined our group.
In January 2006, Amy "un-retired" and joined our group again.
In June 2007, because of the growth of the message board, we assigned moderators to forums, instead of continuing to run the board as a group. David came back as a moderator to run the Language Forums. Shannon joined as a new moderator to run the Spain & Portugal forum. Roz joined as a new moderator to help run the Italy forum. Kaydee joined as a new moderator to help Chris run the France forum.
In December 2008, TourMama (aka Judy) and Teaberry (aka Terry) joined our moderators, replacing formerly "retired" moderators Chris and Maureen, who left us in September 2008.
In February 2010, moderator Colleen retired.
In May 2010, Panda (aka Susan) became a moderator.
In spring 2011, Shannon retired and we brought Ian and Andrew on board to round out our moderator coverage.
How Moderators are Selected
Moderators are selected because they are travelers; they love to travel and they understand Slow Travel. They are not necessarily experts on the different countries, but can guide people on the forums to help them find the information they need.
The moderators run the forums - they make sure posts are in the correct forum, delete spam posts, edit posts to correct URLs or quotes or to remove offensive comments. They read the forums daily and keep up on travel information so they can step in to help answer travel questions when needed. Moreover, one of the goals of Slow Travel is to publish useful content for its community. Mods are encouraged, but not required, to submit content through blogs, trip reports, travel notes and postcards. They should also actively encourage community members by contacting active users, who seem knowledgeable about a topic or who might be interested in aggregating information, to submit and contribute.
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