Hello, fellow aficionados of the vicarious journey! Travel Tuesdays returns, bringing you the second installment of our interview with Rona Gindin, from whose pen (er, keyboard) flowed the indispensable Little Black Book of Walt Disney World. Rona is a writer, editor, and TV personality based in Orlando. To learn more and check out her excellent articles on food, travel, and a multiplicity of other subjects, visit www.ronagindin.com. Without further ado:
What’s your writing process like?
Ugh. I think, I ponder, I go on the treadmills, I check Facebook, I jot a few notes, I run out for groceries, I tweet … and then when I’m close to deadline I find that the entire outline has formed in my mind and sit down, focus and hack out the basics. Then I go back and rework everything so it reads more smoothly.
What do you love or hate about travel writing?
I love having behind-the-scenes access to information and to places. As a travel writer, a location’s owner, manager or publicist may give me a behind-the-scenes tour, tell me details I wouldn’t know, introduce me to employees who share their areas of expertise. I just wrote a feature on area eco-parks and discovered that a safari-themed place is run by a guy who has given 30+ safari tours in Africa, and that a zipline destination serves hamburgers made from on-site cattle that are direct descendants from animals brought to the U.S. by Ponce de Leon. It’s not all fun though. As a travel writer, I’ve spent painful hours touring hotel after hotel, or site after site, whether I’m interested or not, taking copious notes and thinking about how I’ll turn the information into written words. Recently some old dude spent a full 90 minutes giving me ridiculous details about Americans in wartime when all I wanted was a quick tour of his museum’s exhibits. There was no speeding him up no matter how many ways I tried to encourage him to tell me something I could actually use for my article. Sometimes I specifically don’t look for assignments when I vacation because I want to simply enjoy my visit without the pressure of a notebook.
I like some of Central Florida’s leafy residential neighborhoods with retail strips such as Winter Park, Winter Garden, Thornton Park and College Park. We have some nifty museums, including one with a world-class collection of Tiffany art. And some parks offer canoeing, swimming and more in pretty shaded wooded areas.
What’s at the top of your travel wishlist?
Right now I’m thinking Peru and Scandinavia, and I always want to return to Italy.
What’s your favorite mode of transport, and why?
Walking. I like to take in loads of details along my journey.
What do you think is an ideal mindset for a traveler?
Easy does it. Begin with a basic idea of the highlights you want to see, then meander. If you run from landmark to landmark, or in the case of Disney World attraction to attraction, you miss out talking to an interesting waiter, sorting through treasures at a small flea market, tasting exotic foods in a local grocery store, happening upon an offbeat museum. I’m all for leisurely exploring with no detailed itinerary.
Thus concludes our conversation with Rona Gindin! We'll be back each week with author interviews; spotlights on not-to-be-missed sights in cities across the world; striking photos; and other items to entertain readers with wanderlust.
Drop us a line! Questions, topical remarks, and subject matter requests for future blog posts enthusiastically welcomed in the comments section.