People travel for different reasons. Personally, I feel travel is is more than a geographical exploration, it is an opportunity to uncover more about who you are as an individual, and a chance to grow. With every journey I discover a new interest, or reach a place in my mind that was previously untapped. My thoughts go to how travel can create a personal transformation, because over the last year, we’ve seen Luxe Beat Magazine contributor, Jenna Intersimone, blossom as a writer. She has been open to editorial changes and committed to listening to advice. As you move from one article to the next, the transformation is quite impressive. We recently sat down with this wayward wanderer, to find out how travel has impacted her life as a writer, and more.
Jenna graduated from Monmouth University in 2013 following studies in Journalism and Graphic Design. She went through a brief stint in advertising before she became the travel columnist, social media editor and web producer for MyCentralJersey.com and DailyRecord.com, Gannett New Jersey news organizations.
When asked where her appetite for travel stems from, she said, “As a child and teenager, my family moved often and I became comfortable with the idea of creating a home within myself in order to experience fun and excitement rather than anxiety in the process of relocation. I quickly found that travel created an instant change in lifestyle that invigorated me and made me eager to explore further.”
Interestingly, it turns out that photography is more of a passion for her than writing and she said, “Although I enjoy writing very much, I am more passionate about photography because it puts me in the moment of my work, while I obviously write at home after my travel experience has passed. Photography excites me because on location, I know that I have one shot to capture a particular moment and I feel a greater sense of attachment to my subjects.”
Sherrie Wilkolaski: What is your writing process?
Jenna Intersimone: My writing process is to write. I learned from a very wise professor that you could have all the ideas in the world, but unless you actually write them you’re “not a writer, you’re an idea-er.” Instead of overthinking my work and creating tedious outlines, I put the pen to paper following the end of my trip. I try to let the thoughts and sensations I experienced in my travel lead the way and then I prepare to create draft after draft, a necessary component when you choose to jump in with both feet rather than outline.
SW: When you get the chance to pick your travel destination, where do you go?
JI: One of the principal reasons that I enjoy travel is that I love anything that’s new and different – fresh destinations, people and food. Even though there are many places that I relish in visiting time after time, when given the choice, I will always visit a place I have never been before to extend my travel palette, a necessity for anyone who wants to write travel. The world is a big place, and I don’t see a lot of reason to seek out experiencing the same places twice.
SW: What motivates you to be write in the luxury space?
JI: I think that the job in itself is self-explanatory – I visit enthralling cities, luxurious hotels and I have the privilege of being able to meet very successful people. And I get paid for it. If that’s not living the dream, then I don’t know what is.
SW: What is one of your favorite travel experiences?
JI: One of my favorite experiences in travel is visiting a new place and feeling so enthralled and pleasantly surprised by it that I could imagine a life there. I love to be enveloped in the food, culture and people so much that I can dream of what it would be like to wake up in my own place in the city, hang out with locals and walk down the streets every single day.
SW: Do you have a favorite dish?
LI: My favorite dish is the filetto al mirtillo, or hand-carved filet mignon topped with blueberry sauce, from Acqua Al 2 in Florence, Italy. It is a tender, luscious steak soaked in a thick blueberry sauce that has a deep taste and texture emboldened by the flavor of the meat. It’s perfect with the restaurant’s assagio di primi piatti, or chef’s choice tasting of five homemade pastas, including butternut squash pasta, pasta with tomato and eggplant sauce and pasta with sautéed porcini mushrooms.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
LI: I am a competitive runner and one of my far-off dreams is to run a race in every country. As a journalist, I also love reading novels and other fictitious creative work, which is what pulled me into journalism in the first place. I also enjoy graphic design, drawing and art. When your job is to travel, your hobbies tend to become activities that can be done anywhere or, preferably, on an airplane.
SW: What are your thoughts on the luxury market?
LI: The constant change of the business of luxury is exactly what I enjoy about it – the ability of the business to constantly evolve and reinvent itself. Luxury doesn’t necessarily need to be timeless. It can be modern, cutting-edge, or simply something different. I see the industry breaking away from the minimalism we have been seeing in design and changing into something more eye-catching and overstated. For example, I recently wrote a piece on Tessa Packard, a luxury jewelry designer. Her pieces don’t involve the simplicity of pearls or silver – they are inspired by ancient civilizations and animal pieces. That kind of innovation is tomorrow’s luxury.
SW: If you were stranded on an island, name one person and three items you would bring. Why?
LI: I would bring my boyfriend Ed, who as someone not accustomed to travel always finds new destinations captivating. He is always willing to try any dish, climb any peak and sleep on a train to ensure that we get the most out of our waking hours. The items I would bring would be an arsenal of novels to relax with on the beach, a map to get my bearings of the area, and coffee beans to somehow makeshift a daily cup of coffee.
SW: What do you recommend to an out-of-towner, when they come to visit your hometown of Long Valley, New Jersey?
JI: Part of the reason I am drawn to travel is because my hometown is dreadfully boring. Long Valley, New Jersey has one traffic light and a general store – not an ideal travel destination. However, growing up, attractions became places that my friends made into interesting locations, like a friend’s enchanting backyard or a field where you could get a great view of the stars.
SW: If you could be anyone else, who would it be?
JI: I would be Nicholas Kristof, an opinion columnist for the New York Times who spotlights human rights and issues in social injustice. Although I love traveling to beautiful, luxurious places, I find Kristof very admirable in visiting some of the deepest pits of the world to show Americans issues that they often miss within their world.
SW: What are three necessities you won’t travel without?
LI: I could never travel without my journal, where I have the freedom to write about aspects of travel that aren’t article-worthy, my Mizuno running shoes, which break me away from the monotony of sitting on airplanes or trains and allow me to get a workout in any corner of the world, and my Water Bobble, a self-filtering water bottle that is ideal for travelers on-the-go.
SW: What does Luxe Beat Magazine mean to you?
LI: Luxe Beat Magazine is my outlet to show readers luxury in the corners of the world that they may not have heard of or visited before, showing them that luxury doesn’t need to be obvious or over-hyped to be worthy.
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